Hell’s Gate Moon (by rjcaputophotography)
The bridge was conceived in the early 1900s as a way to link New York and thePennsylvania Railroad with New England and the New Haven Railroad.
Construction was overseen by Gustav Lindenthal, whose original design left a gap of 15 feet (4.6 m) between the steel arch and the masonry towers. Fearing that the public assumed that the towers were structurally integral to the bridge, Lindenthal added aesthetic girders between the upper chord of the arch and the towers to make the structure appear more robust. The original plans for the piers on the long approach ramps called for a steel lattice structure. The design was changed to smooth concrete to soothe concerns that asylum inmates on Wards and Randall’s islands would climb the piers to escape.
The engineering was so precise that when the last section of the main span was lifted into place, the final adjustment needed to join everything together was 1⁄2 inches (12.7 mm). The bridge was completed on September 30, 1916.
It was the world’s longest steel arch bridge until the Bayonne Bridge was opened in 1931, and was surpassed again by the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.
In 1996, the bridge received a facelift, including its first comprehensive paint job in 80 years. It was painted “Hell Gate Red,” a dark, natural red. The bridge would be the last New York City bridge to collapse if humans disappeared, taking at least a millennium to do so, according to the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine. Most other bridges would fall in about 300 years.
Hell Gate. Hellegat.
prettiest bridge in all the land.