Tuesday, November 1

The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge was a major step towards Robert Moses’s Beltway Park system, which was meant to circumvent the more trafficked areas of Brooklyn and Queens and provide additional congestion relief for the Triborough Bridge.  Its main function, however, was to connect the borough of Queens [and Long Island] to the Bronx; it allowed for motorists to get to Long Island while avoiding Manhattan.

After spending so many hours with The Power Broker, it was easy for me to look past the Whitestone Bridge as one of Moses’s many, but not necessarily outstanding, achievements.  It goes without say that the bridge is of great importance to the city, but as someone who does not own a car, and as someone who spends most of his time within city limits, an easier route to Long Island isn’t of great concern to me.  A structure like the Triborough Bridge, on the other hand, is very relevant for the city dweller.  More commuters undoubtedly use it, and its sheer size and cost draws so much attention to it.

Yet on visiting the site, my previous notions of the Whitestone Bridge disappeared.  Its size is impressive: even from where I stood at Francis Lewis Park – a distance of hundreds of yards – the structure completely dominated the panorama.  The bridge is tall enough and wide enough for ships to pass underneath (of course, this is what is expected nowadays, but when it was built back in 1939, not all bridges had these capabilities).  But I was not only impressed with its size, but also with its practicality.  I toured the bridge with a friend of mine, and asked her how the bridge functioned within the Whitestone community where she lives.

“I don’t know what I would do without it!” said Denise Boneta.  “I have used that thing everyday since I can remember.  It’s the easiest way for me to get back home from almost anywhere.”

Aside from the rising cost over the years of using the bridge, Boneta was content with its function.  Having done a bit of research on the bridge, I know that it has cost a fortune to maintain over the years; however, it is my assumption that the good the bridge has accomplished far outweighs the cons.  A toll of over 5$ per car ensures that whatever future repairs the bridge may need will be covered.  No problem!

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