5 Historic Bridges You Can See from the Brooklyn Bridge

Views From the Bridge

The views from the Brooklyn Bridge are legendary: skyscrapers, water, the Statue of Liberty and more. One doesn't quite realize, at ground level in Brooklyn or Manhattan, just how vital the waterways are to New York City--or that Manhattan is really an island. From atop the Brooklyn Bridge, you can experience the island-ness of Manhattan, and the importance of the East River bridge crossings.

And, if you stop to look, you can count five bridges from atop the Brooklyn Bridge. Each tells a story about the history of the New York region. All but one were built before World War II. The most recently built is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, visible from a distance, built in 1964 as the world's then-largest suspension bridge. The oldest is the Brooklyn Bridge itself, built in 1883.

A Few Tips 

Edited by Alison Lowenstein

  • 01 of 05

    The Brooklyn Bridge Itself (Across the East River)

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    The Brooklyn Bridge, looking toward Manhattan. Photo by E. Freudenheim

    It may seem obvious to say, but when you are walking on the Brooklyn Bridge, you are also looking at it. It's awesome. The cables. The towers. The massive under-girding. The car traffic below and the tourists above.

    As seen in this photo, the arches of the two towers of this historic suspension bridge are beautiful and frame the sky and Manhattan's skyscrapers in a unique way.

    Read the historical markers on the Brooklyn Bridge to learn more about its construction and history.

    • Type of bridge: Suspension
    • Opened: 1883
    • Cars and pedestrians/cyclists; no subways
    • Toll-free for cars
  • 02 of 05

    The Manhattan Bridge (Across the East River)

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    Manhattan Bridge, to the north of the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by E. Freudenheim

    The Manhattan Bridge is located immediately north of the Brooklyn Bridge. (It seems almost close enough to wave to the passengers on the Q train zooming across the East River!)

    The Manhattan Bridge appears to run parallel to the Brooklyn Bridge, and indeed, from the Brooklyn side, the two bridges entrance ways are just a few blocks apart.

    However, the Manhattan Bridge arrives at a more northerly point in Manhattan than does the Brooklyn Bridge. It opens onto Canal Street near Chinatown, Little Italy and the southernmost point of Soho.

    Unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan also has a train track, so it carries subways as well as cars, cyclists , and pedestrians.

    • Type of bridge: Suspension
    • Opened: 1909
    • Cars, pedestrians/cyclists; subways
    • Toll-free for cars
  • 03 of 05

    Williamsburg Bridge (Across the East River)

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    Further north than the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge  (connecting Delancy Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is picturesque in its own right. However, due to line of sight, you can only see the very tip of the Williamsburg Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge. In the photo shown here, one sees the Manhattan Bridge and then, peeking atop it, one of the towers of the Williamsburg Bridge.

    • Type of bridge: Suspension
    • Cars,  pedestrians/cyclists;  subways
    • Opened: 1903
  • 04 of 05

    Bayonne Bridge (Across the Kill Van Kull)

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    New Jersey's Gothals Bridge as seen from Brooklyn Bridge. One can see the Verrazano and Goethals Bridges in New Jersey from the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Looking out past NY Harbor, beyond the Statue of Liberty, one sees a lovely arched bridge. It's the Bayonne Bridge, connecting Staten Island  to New Jersey. Built in 1928, its arch is famous; for about a half century, the Bayonne Bridge was the world's longest steel-arch bridge and is still amongst the longest. It has an interesting history, including the fact that its designers, Othmar H. Ammann and  Cass Gilbert had to create an arch that would span a shipping channel; the bridge stands 150 feet above water ​level-clearance for the U.S. Navy's tallest ships in the 1930s.

    • Type of bridge: steel arch bridges
    • Opened: 1931
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (Upper NY Bay)

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    Verrazano Bridge, seen from the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by E. Freudenheim

    Named after Giovanni da Verrazano --who was the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor --the elegant span of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, joins two boroughs of New York (Brooklyn and Staten Island). It is located, on the Brooklyn side, in Fort Hamilton, near Bay Ridge. It connects with Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island. Both forts guarded New York Harbor at the Narrows for over a century. 

    When it opened in 1964, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the world's longest suspension span.

    It is visible from a distance from the Brooklyn Bridge; the view is better with binoculars. This bridge is the starting point for the ING NYC Marathon.

    • Type of bridge: Suspension
    • Toll; cars only
    • Opened: 1964