2. Blame William Randolph Hearst for the 25-Block Detour

Aerial view of islands around Manhattan

To avoid the mental institutions on Randall’s Island, the Triborough Bridge was originally intended to enter Manhattan at East 103rd, which would have been in direct line with Queens. Plans changed after a pause in construction during the Depression, after which the project came under the purview of Robert Moses at the WPA.

Instead, commuters must take a 25-block detour over Wards Island and Randall’s Island to East 125th Street due to the influence of William Randolph Hearst, who had wanted the city to purchase his deteriorating real estate in the area. Rather than hashing it out with Hearst, Moses decided to leave the Manhattan arm at 125th Street. This added 2.5 miles to every trip between midtown Manhattan and Queens.