Bronx-Whitestone Bridge celebrates 70th

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge was a time for cake and bright balloons at the bridge’s office. The party took place on April 28 with leaders from the Ferry Point community in attendance. (L-r) General manager of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Ray Webb, Dotti Poggi of the Ferry Point Community Advocates, Ferry Point Civic Association, Inc. president JoAnne Sohmers, and Vincent Montanti, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge facility engineer. Photos courtesy of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels

Bridge managers and community leaders joined together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. The consensus was clear that the bridge has never been more useful to motorists.

Both JoAnn Sohmers of the Ferry Point Civic Association, Inc. and Dotti Poggi of the Friends of Ferry Point Park were on hand during a “birthday party” held at the MTA’s offices at the Bronx toll plaza on April 28.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels president Susan Kupferman spoke of the increasing utility of the bridge as more and more cars travel over the crossing that links the Bronx and Queens.

“Our bridge occupies an especially noteworthy piece of New York City history,” Kupferman said. “Our customers are an important part of that story – past, present and future. In the first year of operation, six million vehicles used the bridge. In 2008 there were 43 million crossings.”

Both Sohmers and Poggi said that they were excited to be part of the celebration.

“I thought it was a little surprising that they had paid so much attention to the three community groups that they invited,” Poggi said. “We posed for pictures and they presented us with a very nice photo of the Bronx side of the bridge.”

The bridge was completed in a remarkably quick 22 months. The 2,300-foot long, 74-foot wide suspension span was the fourth largest in the world when it was completed.

At a ceremony held on the Bronx plaza in 1939 Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia pointed to the sleek towers of the bridge and proclaimed it as a symbol of democracy. The bridge was open in time for the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.

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