Interested in learning about the most famous bridges in New York City? Believe it or not, there are over 2000 bridges in NYC. In this post I will take you through the top 10 most famous bridges in NYC, and tell you about the history and facts behind each one.

As a British travel blogger, New York City is my favourite city outside of London. My most recent visit to NYC was in summer 2022, and I saw every bridge on this list!

collage of the most famous bridges in New York City
Famous bridges in New York City

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The 10 most famous bridges in New York City.

This list is presented in order of popularity. You will also find a list of frequently asked questions about famous bridges in New York City, and a map showing the location of each bridge at the bottom of the page.

Let’s begin the list of the most famous bridges in New York City:

1. Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge, connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City, spanning the East River. Topping the list of the most famous bridges in New York City, The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic symbol of the big apple, and also a symbol of modern engineering prowess.

a large bridge spanning over a large body of water.
Brooklyn Bridge

Opening on May 24, 1883, it marked the first fixed crossing of the East River and held the title of the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, boasting a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m) and a deck elevated 127 ft (38.7 m) above mean high water.

Considered a marvel of modern engineering upon completion, the bridge still stands as one of America’s oldest today and its two neo-Gothic granite towers reach up to 85 metres high. The Brooklyn Bridge also used to carry rail traffic, until 1944.

There is an elevated pedestrian walkway where you can stroll across and admire stunning views of both sides below you. For cyclists, a bike route runs alongside the vehicle lanes so you can cruise safely without worrying about traffic. Try booking a cycle tour here, or a walking tour here.

Fun fact: The Brooklyn Bridge was originally known as the “New York and Brooklyn Bridge”, or the “East River Bridge”. It was officially renamed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1915.

Also not to be missed is DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) which is a trendy neighbourhood in Brooklyn, located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. You can book a tour of DUMBO here.

Here are some more of my posts on NYC:

2. Manhattan Bridge

Connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, the iconic Manhattan Bridge is a popular tourist attraction due to its impressive architecture and views of New York City’s skyline. Spanning 2,089 m, it was designed by Leon Moisseiff and opened to traffic in 1909.

Manhattan bridge spanning over the East River. one of the most famous bridges in New York City.
Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Statue of Liberty

The bridge’s two main spans are supported by four steel towers which rise up above the East River. Its distinctive design makes it easily recognisable from afar, with its intricate trusswork forming a lattice pattern against the skyline. The suspension cables also add visual interest, creating an interesting contrast between modern engineering and classic artistry.

The bridge is one of four toll-free vehicular bridges linking Manhattan Island to Long Island. The Brooklyn Bridge is slightly further west, with the Queensboro and Williamsburg bridges situated to the north. The Manhattan Bridge underwent significant reconstruction between 1982 and 2004 due to tilting caused by the uneven weight of subway trains crossing it.

It’s also a great bridge to observe from the water. You can book a ticket on the iconic NYC circle line here (a boat trip which goes under the Manhattan Bridge, amongst others).

Fun fact: The Manhattan Bridge was originally called “Bridge No. 3” before being renamed the Manhattan Bridge in 1902.

3. Williamsburg Bridge

Spanning 2,227 metres across the East River, this bridge is one of the most famous bridges in New York City. It connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, making it an important part of daily life for many commuters.

View of a suspension bridge over a river with city skyline in the background on a clear day. Famous bridges in New York.
Williamsburg Bridge

The bridge was designed by Leffert L. Buck and Henry Hornbostel in 1903 and opened five years later on December 19th 1908. Its unique design features two levels with a total length of 6881 feet (2099m).

The upper level carries six lanes of vehicular traffic while the lower level contains four subway tracks used by multiple lines including the J/M/Z trains as well as other commuter rail services such as Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service from Boston to Washington D.C.

There are also two walkway and bike paths that merge in Manhattan. When crossing over the bridge into Manhattan you’ll be treated to some amazing views that can’t be found anywhere else in New York City – especially at night when all its lights are lit up.

After its opening, the bridge facilitated easier travel to northern Brooklyn from Manhattan, prompting significant migration of Jewish and Italian immigrants to Williamsburg. This influx led to the growth of Williamsburg’s Jewish community, earning the bridge the nickname “Jews’ Highway”.

Additionally, the bridge’s completion spurred development in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, increasing property values and leading to the construction of new apartment buildings. Furthermore, the bridge replaced five ferry routes between Williamsburg and Manhattan, which ceased operations by 1908.

Fun fact: The bridge is among the four toll-free vehicular bridges connecting Manhattan Island and Long Island, overseen by the New York City Department of Transportation. The other free bridges are the Queensboro Bridge to the north, and the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges to the south.

4. George Washington Bridge

The George Washington Bridge is an engineering marvel – a steel and zinc-coated suspension bridge spanning 1,451 metres across the Hudson River. Connecting New York City and northern New Jersey, it is often referred to as “GWB” or simply “the GW.”

Autumn foliage along a calm river with a suspension bridge and a city skyline in the distance during sunset. one of the most famous bridges in New York City.
George Washington Bridge

Construction of the bridge started in 1927, and was completed in 1931. In 1946, the upper deck underwent expansion from six to eight lanes. Subsequently, in response to growing traffic demands, the construction of the six-lane lower deck beneath the existing span occurred between 1959 and 1962. There are also lanes for walking and cycling on each side.

The George Washington Bridge has two steel towers rising above the river and is connected by four suspension cables made from steel wires coated with zinc for corrosion protection. At night time, when illuminated by floodlights, they create a breathtaking sight.

The George Washington Bridge is categorised as a fracture-critical bridge, meaning it could potentially collapse if certain components of its towers were to fail. The towers are situated offshore.

This bridge has seen some significant events throughout its lifetime, such as being part of President Franklin D Roosevelt’s funeral procession in 1945, but it is perhaps more renowned for its daily use as a vital connection between New York City and northern New Jersey. A huge American flag (the world’s largest free-flying American flag) is hung from the New Jersey tower during special occasions and celebration days.

Fun fact: The George Washington Bridge holds the title of the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge, with a staggering traffic volume of over 104 million vehicles in 2019. It also stands as the world’s only suspension bridge with 14 vehicular lanes.

5. Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge crosses the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Its impressive cantilever design was completed in 1909, making it one of the oldest suspension bridges still standing today.

Famous bridges in New York. A panoramic view of a steel suspension bridge with the new york city skyline in the background.
Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

The Queensboro Bridge carries traffic on the New York State Route 25 (NY 25), which concludes at the bridge’s western terminus in Manhattan. Comprising two levels, it features an upper level hosting two two-lane roadways, while the lower level accommodates five vehicular lanes alongside a walkway/bike lane. There used to be trains running on the upper level; this service stopped in 1942.

Also referred to as the 59th Street Bridge, it comprises five steel spans, totaling 3,725 ft (1,135 m) in length. When including approaches, its overall length extends to 7,449 ft (2,270 m).

When crossing the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge on foot, there are several ways to do so: either by taking stairs up from 59th Street or 61st Street on Manhattan’s east side or by taking an elevator down at 36th Avenue in Long Island City.

Fun fact: The bridge approaches on both sides are built with stiffened steel frames. However, only the Manhattan approach is intricately decorated. The Queens approach is made up of a series of elevated concrete-and-steel ramps, which were never decorated.

6. Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is a suspension bridge that links the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York City. With a central span measuring 4,260 feet (1.30 km; 0.81 mi), the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge held the title of the world’s longest suspension bridge until it was eclipsed by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981.

Aerial view of a suspension bridge with intertwining roadways leading into a densely populated area near a body of water. one of the most famous bridges in New York City.
Famous bridges in New York – Verrazzano Narrows Bridge

Fun fact: the bridge was named incorrectly for many decades, with the misspelling “Verrazano-Narrows” Bridge (with one ‘z’). The name wasn’t legally changed until 2018, despite several earlier petitions. The road signs were not changed until 2020.

The bridge features two levels, carrying a total of 13 lanes for Interstate 278: seven lanes on its upper level and six on the lower level. Its namesake, Giovanni da Verrazzano, was the first European explorer to navigate New York Harbor and the Hudson River in 1524.

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge extends over the Narrows, a channel connecting the sheltered New York Harbor to Lower New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Remarkably, it still stands as the sole permanent crossing over the Narrows.

Constructed in 1964, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (VNB) was notably built without pedestrian or bicycle access, despite public demand for it. Consequently, you can only travel across the VNB on foot or bike twice annually – during the New York City Marathon and the TD Five Boro Bike Tour.

Toll fact: Tolls are collected in both directions on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, but from 1986 to 2020, only westbound drivers paid tolls as part of an effort to alleviate traffic congestion.

7. Hell Gate Bridge

The Hell Gate Bridge (originally known as the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge) is a vital railroad link in New York City, New York, USA. The bridge was designed by renowned engineer Gustav Lindenthal and opened in 1916 after four years of construction.

A steel arch bridge spanning over a river with adjacent park and sports field on a sunny day with clouds. Famous bridges in New York.
Hell Gate Bridge

The Hell Gate Bridge facilitates the passage of two tracks of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and one freight track, spanning from Astoria, Queens, to Port Morris, Bronx, via Randalls and Wards Islands.

Its primary section consists of a 1,017-foot (310 m) steel through arch, spanning Hell Gate, an East River strait separating Wards Island from Queens. Additionally, the bridge incorporates several approach viaducts and two spans across smaller waterways. With its approaches considered, the bridge extends over a length of 17,000 feet (5,200 m). Notably, it serves as one of the few rail connections from Long Island, including Queens, to the broader United States.

Fun fact: The Hell Gate Bridge in NYC inspired the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia!

8. Robert F. Kennedy Bridge

The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge is a complex of bridges and elevated expressway viaducts, connecting Manhattan to Queens across the East River. Opened in 1936, the bridge was formerly known as the Triborough Bridge, but was renamed after Robert F. Kennedy in 2008 to honour his legacy and commitment to civil rights.

city of new york at night
Photo by Venera Varbanova on

The RFK Bridge complex comprises three main bridges:

  1. A vertical-lift bridge spanning the Harlem River, recognized as the world’s largest, linking Manhattan Island to Randall’s Island (both within Manhattan).
  2. A truss bridge crossing Bronx Kill, connecting Randalls Island to the Bronx.
  3. A suspension bridge traversing Hell Gate, a strait of the East River, linking Wards Island to Astoria in Queens.

The viaducts traverse Randalls and Wards Islands, which were formerly separate entities but have since been connected through landfill.

Fun fact: the bridge has sidewalks on all three spans, but cyclists are not allowed to ride their bikes. Instead they must walk their bikes across, due to safety concerns. There are signs to this effect, although the signs are mostly ignored by the cyclists.

9. The High Bridge

Built in 1848, the High Bridge is the oldest bridge in New York City. Originally serving as a part of the Croton Aqueduct system, the High Bridge is now a pedestrian bridge connecting Manhattan and The Bronx. The bridge was closed for 45 years and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2015.

View of a stone arch bridge spanning the Harlem river in NYC, with lush greenery on the banks and a cityscape in the background.
The High Bridge over the Harlem River

The High Bridge is a steel arch bridge standing at 140 feet tall. As you walk across this bridge on the Harlem river you can get great views: on one side you can see Yankee Stadium and on the other side you’ll have breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline.

This bridge is one of the most famous bridges in New York City due to its historical significance.

If history is your thing, then don’t miss out on exploring what’s left behind by previous generations. You can see remnants from when The High Bridge served as part of a major aqueduct system supplying drinking water to millions living in 19th century New York City. There is also a water tower on top of the ridge on the Manhattan side, which is open to the public.

Fun fact: High Bridge initially featured 16 separate stone arches. However, 5 of these arches were replaced in 1928 by a single 450-foot (140 m) steel arch, to help traffic on the Harlem River.

10. Throgs Neck Bridge

The Throgs Neck Bridge, a suspension bridge situated in New York City, supports six lanes of Interstate 295 (I-295) traffic as it traverses the East River where it converges with the Long Island Sound. This crucial link connects the Throggs Neck neighbuorhood of the Bronx to the Bay Terrace area of Queens.

Aerial view of a large suspension bridge spanning a wide river during sunset, with calm waters and clear skies.
Aerial view of the Throgs Neck Bridge connecting the Bronx with Queens in New York City at sunset.

Fun fact: The name ‘Throgs Neck’ is named after John Throckmorton, the initial settler of the Throggs Neck neighbourhood. Traditionally, the spelling contains two G’s. However, Robert Moses, chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), likely opted for the variant with one G for its simpler spelling.

Completed in 1961, the Throgs Neck Bridge carries six lanes of traffic, divided into three lanes in each direction. This iconic structure was designed by the renowned structural engineer Othmar Ammann, known for his contributions to several other prominent New York City bridges, including the George Washington, Bronx–Whitestone, Verrazzano-Narrows, and Triborough Bridges.

The bridge is a toll bridge, and there is no pedestrian or cycling access.

Bizarre fact: In May 1995, a truck with malfunctioning brakes crashed into the toll booths. Astonishingly, the following day, the same truck once again struck the toll booths. Thankfully, only the driver sustained injuries in both incidents. Read the news article here.

Map of the most famous bridges in New York City.

Below is a Google map showing each of the most famous bridges in New York City as listed in this post (in order). You can zoom into the map, click each item to see more information, or click the star to add to your own Google Maps.

FAQs about famous bridges in New York City.

Q: What is the highest bridge in NYC?

A: The highest bridge in New York City is the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which features towers rising 693 feet above the water.

Q: What is the longest bridge in NYC?

A: With a central span measuring 4,260 feet (1.30 km; 0.81 mi), the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge held the title of the world’s longest suspension bridge until it was surpassed by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981. It still boasts the 18th-longest main span globally and the longest in the Americas.

Q: What is the oldest bridge in NYC?

A: The oldest bridge in New York City is the High Bridge, completed in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqueduct system. It now serves as a pedestrian bridge connecting Manhattan and the Bronx.

Q: Which bridge is the most famous bridge in New York City?

A: The Brooklyn Bridge is arguably the most famous bridge in New York City, renowned for its iconic design and historical significance.

Q: How many bridges are there in NYC?

A: There are over 2,000 bridges in New York City, including vehicular, pedestrian, and railroad bridges, spanning various waterways and urban areas.

Q: Which bridge connects Manhattan and Staten Island?

A: The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge serves as the primary link between Manhattan and Staten Island, spanning the Narrows strait.

Q: What makes the Brooklyn Bridge famous?

A: The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States and is renowned for its iconic design, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River.

Q: Why is the George Washington Bridge significant?

A: The George Washington Bridge is notable for its double-decked suspension design, spanning the Hudson River and linking Manhattan to Fort Lee, New Jersey. It’s one of the busiest bridges in the world.

Q: What distinguishes the Manhattan Bridge?

A: The Manhattan Bridge is another suspension bridge crossing the East River, connecting Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn. Its distinctive appearance and role in NYC’s transportation network make it famous.

Q: Why is the Williamsburg Bridge well-known?

A: The Williamsburg Bridge connects Manhattan’s Lower East Side with Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood over the East River, known for its innovative design and historical significance.

Q: What’s special about the Queensboro Bridge?

A: Also known as the 59th Street Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge is a cantilever bridge linking Manhattan and Queens over the East River, famous for its appearance in literature and film.

Q: Why is the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge notable?

A: The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is renowned for its sweeping views and status as the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn over the Narrows.

Q: What makes the Triborough Bridge significant?

A: The Triborough Bridge, officially named the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, is a complex of three bridges connecting Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx, playing a crucial role in NYC’s transportation infrastructure.

Q: What’s unique about the Hell Gate Bridge?

A: The Hell Gate Bridge is a striking steel arch railroad bridge spanning the Hell Gate, connecting Queens with Randalls and Wards Islands in Manhattan. It’s one of the most famous bridges in NYC due to its imposing appearance.

Q: Why is the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) famous?

A: While not a single bridge, the BQE includes several iconic overpasses and spans connecting Brooklyn and Queens, serving as a vital transportation artery in NYC.

Q: What makes the Throgs Neck Bridge notable?

A: The Throgs Neck Bridge connects the Bronx and Queens over the East River, playing a crucial role in connecting Long Island to the mainland and serving as a key transportation link.

Q: What is the historical significance of the High Bridge across the Harlem River?

A: The High Bridge, originally built as part of the Croton Aqueduct system in 1848, served as a vital water supply route. It is the oldest bridge in NYC. Today, it stands as a pedestrian bridge connecting Manhattan and the Bronx, offering spectacular views and serving as a historical landmark.

Q: What is DUMBO?

A: “DUMBO” stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” It’s a neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York City, located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. DUMBO is known for its industrial history, cobblestone streets, and converted warehouse buildings, which have been repurposed into art galleries, trendy shops, restaurants, and residential lofts. The neighbourhood has undergone significant gentrification and is now a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering stunning views of the Manhattan skyline across the East River.


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