If you’ve ever seen Koch, the movie, you’ll recall the scenes were Ed Koch delightfully waves at drivers crossing “my new bridge!” The scene was filmed shortly after the 59th Street/Queensboro Bridge was renamed the Edward I. Koch Bridge on March 23, 2011.
Mayor Bloomberg had announced the idea at Ed Koch’s 86th birthday party, and the City Council…well we know what the City Council did during the Bloomberg era. What was that rubber stamp quote about the City Council? Not all were happy about the Ed Koch Bridge, with 64% of city voters and 70% of Queens voters opposing.
As for the bridge, it was built in 1909, carries 180,000 vehicles a day, and got its 15 minutes of fame in The Great Gatsby:
The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”
On the other hand, if you’re using it to enter Queens from Manhattan for the first time, you better know what you’re doing, because you will almost certainly get lost, and then fall into a slow shock as you deal with the Queens opposite-of-grid system. The plus side is that you don’t pay a dime for your troubles, as the Queensboro/Ed Koch Bridge remains, for now, one of the city’s major remaining free bridges. If they toll the 59th Street Bridge, they should spend some money on improving signage.
The future of the Ed Koch Bridge, to cite a post from this weekend, is unwritten. Who knows whether the bridge will remain free or become tolled, whether Queens will become the new Brooklyn, whether Koch’s 12 years of ruling New York like a wild zoo will be looked upon dismally or recalled with fond nostalgia? Until flying cars make the whole debate moot.
Read more about this author’s opinion about the renaming of the Ed Koch bridge on janos.nyc. See more photographs of NYC’s bridges under construction.