6. Verrazano Narrows Bridge (Saturday Night Fever)
As Stephanie and Tony Manero sit by the waterfront looking at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the 1977 blockbuster Saturday Night Fever, Tony recites a series of facts about the bridge, with his last claim about the bridge being, “there’s a guy buried in the cement.” While no one is buried in the structure’s foundation, there is no refuting the other very interesting facts about the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Original discussions to connect Brooklyn and Staten Island began back in 1888—yet that was for a tunnel. Digging even began before the tunnels were abandoned, nicknamed “Hylan’s Holes” after the Mayor of the time, John F. Hylan. Deliberation between a tunnel or a bridge prolonged until 1946, when Robert Moses became serious about building a bridge; it was the last great public works project in New York City to be overseen by him.
Construction of the bridge lasted five years—quite long compared to the Empire State Building, which was completed 33 years before Verrazano in one year and 45 days. Upon completion in 1964, the bridge became the world’s longest suspension bridge in the world. While it currently ranks 17th, Verrazano is still the longest one in the United States. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge contributed tremendously to Staten Island’s development and population growth. The population doubled from about to 221,000 in 1960 to 443,000 in 2000, as many undeveloped areas in the south and southeast area of the island grew.