Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge

Today is the Sliver Anniversary of the bridge formerly know as the The Triborough Bridge.

The New York State Assembly voted to rename the bridge two days prior to the 40th anniversary of the tragic assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the bridge was officially renamed on November 19, 2008, one day prior to what should have been his eighty-third birthday. Amongst Robert F. Kennedy's many contributions to progress and civil rights, on the day he was recognized by the The New York State Assembly he was given credit for the oldest community development corporation in the nation, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

Here's a photo of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge that I took on Saturday.

The Bridge is also a symbol of progress. The construction of the Triborough Bridge began on Black Friday in 1929 and was almost ended by that day in history. The project was resurrected in the early 1930s by Robert Moses and the bridge was opened to traffic on July 11, 1936. As one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression the R.F.K. Bridge created over two thousand jobs when jobs were needed most.

"The bridge symbolizes the best of what our city and our nation can do. Remember in the 1930s, this was a very, very difficult time. This was a time where they built the Triborough Bridge, the Hoover Dam and Empire State Building. To this day they are monuments to a wonderful dream," said Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society. "We consider it to be a planner's dream and engineer's triumph and a legacy to our city."

Today the toll revenues on the bridge that honors the name Robert F. Kennedy pays for a portion of the public transit subsidy for the New York City Transit Authority and the commuter railroads. To celebrate this significant step in bringing the five boroughs together, the MTA is promoting the 75th anniversary of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge by putting together a photo exhibit and is hosting a roundtable discussion tonight.

In a city where renamings seldom stick, it was very fitting to name the bridge that connects Manhattan and the Bronx to Queens and another renaming that stuck, John F. Kennedy Airport. I hope New Yorkers will think twice before calling that span the Triborough Bridge and take time to remember all of the bridges in American society that were created by Robert F. Kennedy.

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