Hell Gate Bridge. Photo by Dave Frieder
Happy birthday to the Hell Gate Bridge! This year, the iconic span is celebrating its 101st birthday, an occasion which infrastructure aficionados marked last year with cake and events. The bridge is named for the once-dangerous channel it bridges, derived from the Dutch word hellegat, which means “hell channel.”
Hell Gate also happens to be a favorite of Dave Frieder, “the Bridge Man” who has been documenting sights from atop the city’s bridges for over two decades. With his help, we’re sharing ten fun facts and secrets about the Hell Gate Bridge in this auspicious year.
10. The Hell Gate Bridge is Actually Comprised of Three Bridges
The Hell Gate Bridge is actually comprised of a complex of three bridges: the well-known Steel Arch, an inverted bow string arch that spans a former water-filled channel (Little Hell Gate) between Wards and Randall’s Islands, and a small truss bridge, which would have been a double bascule-type bridge that goes over a small “Kill” between the Bronx and Randall’s Island.