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The Manhattan Bridge’s two lost lovely ladies

Look closely: in this 1920s postcard depicting the grand Manhattan Bridge approach from Brooklyn, you can make out two statues inside the granite pylons flanking the roadway.



These heroic sculptures—created during the City Beautiful era, when art was meant to inspire and uplift—were known as “Manhattan” and “Brooklyn.”

Installed seven years after the bridge opened in 1909 and designed by Daniel Chester French, these 12-foot lovely ladies represented the attributes of each borough.



Impressive, right? But by the 1960s, they were gone—victims of bridge reconstruction in the age of Robert Moses and the automobile.

Luckily, Manhattan and Brooklyn didn’t end up in pieces in a Meadowlands dump, the sad fate of parts of the original Penn Station.

Instead, they were brought to the Brooklyn Museum, where they’ve guarded the entrance since 1963.

Interestingly, the attributes of each statue represent the way we view the boroughs today.

For Manhattan, that means hubris. “The pose of the figure of Manhattan typifies splendor and pride, of which the peacock at her side is the emblem,” says a 1915 article.

“The right foot of the statue rests upon a treasure-box and a winged ball in the statue’s hand suggests the City’s domination in world affairs.”



Meanwhile, Brooklyn has a softer, more artistic and educational vibe.

“Beside the figure of Brooklyn stands a church and the arm of the statue rests upon a lyre, symbolizing music.”

“A Roman tablet which the figure holds on its knee indicates study, and a child at its feet reading from a book typifies the Borough’s well-filled schools.”



[Statue photos: Brooklyn Museum]

Source: Ephemeral New York
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New York Transit Museum said:
The #NYTransitMuseum’s Lundin Collection contains approximately 30,000 photographic prints and negatives documenting historical omnibuses, trolleys, and elevated railways, and facets of subway construction including power supply, tunnel excavation, and cut-and-cover digging operations. The collection includes two types of photographic prints, those which Wigorot Lundin printed between 1940 and 1966 from earlier negatives made under the auspices of the New York Transit Authority by a variety of photographers, and photographs made from Lundin’s own negatives, most of which documented trolley accidents and claimant information.

These are just a few of the photos from the Lundin Collection. #MuseumFromHome


Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Collection.

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New York Transit Museum said:
Did you know over 10,000 photographs, posters, maps, and artifacts from the #NYTMcollection can be viewed online? Materials are searchable by keyword and custom database fields; or you may choose to view random images by simply browsing the catalog.

Start exploring our digital collection at nytm.pastperfectonline.com/.

Photo: Brooklyn Bridge Line: Trolleys 689 and 816, 1898; Harvey Mordetsky Collection, 2008.16.6.37; New York Transit Museum


Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Collection.

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New York Transit Museum said:
#TodayinHistory: #OnThisDay in 1957, the Queensborough Bridge Railway discontinued service. It was the last trolley line in the city, traversing about a mile and a half from 2nd Ave to Queensboro Plaza. The trolley line included a station in the middle of the bridge at Welfare Island, known today as Roosevelt Island. Until a bridge was built in 1957, it was the only way to access the island.

After the Queensborough Bridge Railway discontinued service, the former trolley lanes were converted to automobile lanes and the terminal was converted to garage space for city vehicles. Do you remember taking the Queensborough Bridge Railway?


Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Collection.

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New York Transit Museum said:
When the Interborough Rapid Transit Company wanted to extend #NYCsubway service to the Bronx, a two-level swing bridge was built to replace the Kings Bridge, which could only accommodate highway and pedestrian traffic. Now known as the Broadway Bridge, the Harlem River Bridge allowed the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line (today’s 1 train) to cross from Manhattan to the Bronx. Taken by Pierre P. Pullis, these #NYTMCollection photographs show construction of the bridge underway on July 7th, 1902.

In December 1960, the old bridge was removed, beginning on December 23rd. Over the next two days, it was replaced by a vertical lift bridge, and it reopened to subway service on December 26th.

Do you remember the old bridge?








Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Collection.

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New York Transit Museum said:
#TodayinHistory: #OnThisDay in 1972, the first R-44 cars entered service in the #NYCsubway system. While the majority of the R-44 cars operating in the subway system were retired due to structural issues, the remaining R-44s were overhauled between 2007 and 2010 to operate on the Staten Island Railway, where they are still in service today.

When's the last time you took a ride on an R-44 car?
Image may contain: sky, ocean, train, bridge, outdoor and water


Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Collection.

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New York Transit Museum said:
#TodayinHistory: #OnThisDay in 1939, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opened to traffic. Prior to the opening of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, the RFK Bridge, five miles to the west, provided the only connection for vehicles traveling between Queens and the Bronx. The bridge opened to traffic just 23 months after the first construction contract was awarded so that motorists could use the bridge on April 30th, the opening day of the 1939 World’s Fair. Today, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge looks just as beautiful as when it served as the gateway to the fair’s “World of Tomorrow.”
Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, 1939; Courtesy of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Archives

Image may contain: sky, bridge, outdoor and water



Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, 2004; Photo by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

Image may contain: sky, ocean, bridge, cloud, outdoor, water and nature


Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Collection.

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