Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bridge of the Week #15: Pulaski Bridge

My apologies for the two-week hiatus on the bridge of the week. We return to the Pulaski Bridge, which crosses over Newtown Creek and connects the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. Its ramp entrances, for both cars and pedestrians/bikes, are at 49th Ave. and Jackson Ave. in Queens and in Brooklyn at McGuinness Blvd. and Eagle St. The sidewalk, on the west side of the bridge, also has stairway access at McGuinness Blvd. and Ash St. in Brooklyn and at 11th St. and 53rd Ave. in Queens.

The Pulaski Bridge opened on September 10, 1954, and replaced the nearby Vernon Ave. Bridge. It is a double-leaf bascule drawbridge, with a main span of 177 feet, and a total length of 2,810 feet, and when closed has a clearance of 39 feet above the water. It carries three lanes of traffic in each direction and the sidewalk. It was named after Kazimierz (Casimir) Pulaski, a Polish military commander who fought in the American Revolution. It honors the large Polish population in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

The bridge is probably best known as being the second bridge crossing in the New York Marathon, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start, and in fact the halfway point of the marathon, 13.1 miles, is located on the ascent of the bridge.

Besides the Newtown Creek, the bridge also crosses over the entrance to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. It provides a nice view of the Manhattan skyline as well. The sidwalk, however, is not very wide, only about nine feet. So pedestrians, runners and bikers must be sure to use courtesy for fellow travelers. The nearest subway stations are the Vernon Ave./Jackson Blvd. stop on the 7 train in Queens, and teh Greenpoint Ave. stop on the G train in Brooklyn. The Greenpoint neighborhood is interesting and still retains its Polish culture, but from a running standpoint, the streets on both sides of the bridge can be tricky to deal with, and not the most pleasant. Long Island City, in particular, doesn't have a lot to look at, although the Queensboro Bridge is only about a mile to the north-northeast.
Pics: 1. Brooklyn entrance; 2. View of Manhattan skyline

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