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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Queensboro (Blackwell's) Bridge Centennial Celebration On Roosevelt Island - Connecting Islands And Generations

Image Provided By Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy was quoted in recent Daily News article on the Queensboro Bridge Centennial.
..."Without the bridge, you would be doing farm reports," said Judith Berdy, president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. "This bridge made the borough of Queens."...
Also, received the following invitations from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS):

Connecting Islands and Generations:

The Queensboro Bridge at 100

Life in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge has inspired artists of Roosevelt Island, Queens and Manhattan for many years.
An exhibition of contemporary photos, paintings, drawings, constructions and sculptures literally offers new perspectives of the bridge, in a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge.
The exhibition is jointly sponsored by The Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association and The Roosevelt Island Historical Society.
"The possibility of anchorages on what was called Blackwell's Island gave the Queensboro Bridge its cantilevered structure, which is different from the three Brooklyn-based suspension bridges," said Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. "Naturally, Roosevelt Island's residents see the bridge in a unique way."
The exhibition is FREE and will run from Saturday, May 23 to Sunday, June 28. Hours are Wednesdays and Fridays 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Opening Reception on May 31 will be from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. During the week of May 31 to June 7 the extended hours are: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 4:00 pm to 6:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please check the website www.rivaa.com or call 212-308-6630 for more information.
An exhibition of photographs of the Queensboro Bridge trolleys and trolley memorabilia is on display at the nearby Visitor Center kiosk.
More information from the RIHS on the trolley photo exhibit below as well a link to a 1909 report on the safety of Blackwell's (Queensboro Bridge):
You can almost hear the clang of the trolley bell when you look at the photos of the trolley cars on the Queensboro Bridge.
In 1957, in anticipation of the last run of the trolley service, then-19-year old photographer Sid Kaplan took pictures of the Queensboro trolley, its drivers, passengers, entrance kiosks and, of course, the Queensboro Bridge and its environs.
A selection of Kaplan's photographs, which have never been exhibited, will be displayed at the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center Kiosk on Roosevelt Island at the Tram Plaza in a special exhibition that coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge.
Beginning in 1909, five trolley lines connected Queens to Manhattan, transporting residents from Astoria, Steinway, Corona, Flushing, College Point and Queens Boulevard across the Queensboro Bridge to Second Avenue at 59th Street.
The trolley lines quickly registered impressive growth in ridership, eventually leading to the extension of the subway lines to Queens. Over time, competition with the subway later reduced the ridership, and several lines were shut down. The last trolley service in New York City, the Bridge Local service, which traveled from Manhattan to a station over Welfare Island and finally to Queens Plaza, ended in 1957.
In addition to Kaplan's photographs, memorabilia of the trolley days will be displayed, along with videos of trolleys plying their routes.
The exhibition is FREE and will run from Sunday, May 31 to Sunday, July 5. The Visitor Center is the only surviving and functioning kiosk of the five original kiosks. Its usual hours, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., will be extended to 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the week of May 31 to June 7, in connection with other anniversary festivities. The Opening Reception on May 31 will be from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, at 212-688-4836.
An exhibition of artwork inspired by the Queensboro Bridge is on display at the nearby Gallery RIVAA at 527 Main Street, from Saturday, May 23 to Sunday, June 28.
Here is a 1909 report on the safety of Blackwell's (Queensboro Bridge).
...Since the failure^of the Quebec Bridge, public confidence has been somewhat disturbed as regards the safety of bridges of unusual magnitude. This feeling of distrust has been aggravated by the opinion expressed in the report of the Royal Commission, appointed to inquire into and report on the cause of the failure of the Quebec Bridge; this report was publishedand has been extensively quoted by the technical journals in this country as well as abroad. The unwarranted remark contained in this report, that "under extreme conditions, the Quebec Bridge stresses are in general harmony with those permitted in the Black well's Island Bridge," produced the impression in the minds of the New York public that the Blackw^ell's Island Bridge might, sooner or later, share the fate of the Quebec Bridge....
The Commission concluded that Blackwell's Bridge was safe and it has been for the last 100 years. The NY Times Magazine section from March 15, 1908 has a fascinating article on the building of the cantilevered Blackwell's Island Bridge.

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