It was a busy day for the Untapped Cities staff today. While some of us were checking out the new NYC Ferry vessels before they launch at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, others were at the grand opening of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. In addition to fixing the perpetually congested bridge, which was already the third bridge at this crossing between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Maspeth, Queens, it’s the first major new bridge built in New York City in fifty years. Today’s opening was attended by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who crossed the bridge in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 Packard car with license plate, “ILOVENY,” which he brought out of a New York State museum and restored recently. The stunt was intended to “bring the spirit” of Roosevelt to the momentous event.
This first span of the Kosciuszko Bridge will be additionally celebrated this evening with a synchronized LED light show, the first bridge with this technology although many bridges, including the George Washington Bridge are already part of the New York Harbor of Lights program. The new bridge will be open to traffic in both ways late tonight, around 11:30 PM, at which point the existing span will be closed. It will be demolished (or blown up, according to reports), sometime this summer, after which the second plan of the new bridge will be constructed in its place.
The current Kosciuszko Bridge with new span rising beside it:
Also attending today’s event was Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz, Polish Consul General Maciej Golubiewski
Assemblymember Joe Lentol. The Kosciuszko Bridge is named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, an American Revolutionary War general from Poland. He oversaw the construction the fortifications at West Point and was a celebrated military tactician not only in the American Revolution but also in Poland against the Russians. If you’re curious how to pronounce Kosciuszko, WNYC released a tool about “How to Speak New York” in 2014.
Stay tuned tomorrow for our article on the fun facts about the new bridge! For now, check out 12 secrets of the current Kosciuszko Bridge.