Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Once upon a time, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge) provided the only way for automobiles to travel between Queens and the Bronx. As the sole “vehicular connection,” the suspension bridge naturally became flooded with bumper–to–bumper traffic. To address the problem, master city planner Robert Moses proposed a bridge that would help ferry road-raging New Yorkers to their destinations. Many congested lanes later, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (known simply as the Whitestone Bridge) was born in 1939.
10. The Whitestone Bridge Was Built in Just 23 Months
When New York was selected to host the 1939 World’s Fair, Robert Moses convinced the city to choose the Corona Ash Dump as the site for the event. Described by F. Scott Fitzgerald as the “valley of ashes,” it was filled with garbage, horse manure and ashes from coal-burning furnaces. Still, Moses saw an opportunity to clear the land and transform it into Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.
On April 30th, the opening day of the 1939 New York World’s Fair, drivers made their way to the park using the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which officially opened to traffic on April 29, 1939 – just 23 months after construction first began in June of 1937. The project was completed six months ahead of schedule so that drivers could specifically use it as a “gateway” to the fair on its opening day, which was timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of George Washington‘s inauguration.