What Is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed in New York City in 1964. It connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, and was the first bridge to connect the borough of Staten Island to the rest of New York City. It takes its name from Giovanni da Verrazano, considered the first European discoverer of New York Harbor in 1524. The bridge's towers are 693 feet (211.2 meters) tall and the bridge is about 4,260 feet (1.3 kilometers) long. The installation of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge is believed responsible for the rapid development that occurred in the previously isolated community of Staten Island in the 1960s.

Construction on this bridge began in 1959. About 7,000 Brooklyn residents were displaced from the Bay Ridge neighborhood so that their homes could be demolished to make room for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge ramp. The bridge is generally classified as a double-deck suspension bridge. It is open to motorized traffic only, despite the fact that it is generally considered wide enough to allow for pedestrian traffic as well.

For a time, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge enjoyed the distinction of being the world's longest suspension bridge. It is so long that its towers are 1.625 inches (4.13 centimeters) further apart at their summits than at their bases, because the engineers were obliged to take the curvature of the Earth into account when designing this long bridge.


Prior to the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the only means of travel to Staten Island from New York City was by ferry. Though three bridges connected Staten Island to New Jersey on the mainland, the community's relative isolation from New York City led it to remain more rural than the other four burroughs. Ferry services from Brooklyn to Staten Island ceased in 1964, almost immediately after the bridge was opened to motorized traffic. The community of Staten Island is believed to have profited from a boom period following the opening of the bridge.

In Brooklyn, this bridge connects to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Belt Parkway. On Staten Island, it connects to the Staten Island Expressway. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge therefore forms part of a crucial network of highways that allows travelers faster passage across the mid-Atlantic region.


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