9. The Whitestone Bridge was built in just 23 months
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge was built in just 23 months, six months ahead of schedule. Construction on the bridge was rushed to coincide with the opening of the 1939 World’s Fair. Robert Moses, who was instrumental in bringing the fair to New York, convinced the city to have it at the Corona Ash Dump, which was filled with garbage and ashes from furnaces. The site was inaccessible from the rest of the city and Long Island, but Moses proposed converting the dump site into Flushing Meadows-Corona Park there.
After planning since June 1937, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opened on April 29, 1939. One day later, the World’s Fair opened, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. Thousands of cars used the bridge as a “gateway” to the fair. Perhaps to the surprise of the bridge’s designers, Robert Moses actually praised its design, even though it was structurally flawed. The bridge, which used to have pedestrian walkways (removed in 1943), was first proposed over three decades earlier in 1905 but was heavily delayed since Queens residents feared it would disrupt the area’s “rural” character.