Work to build the bridge commenced on January 2, 1870 with the clearing away of the site for the Brooklyn Tower. Construction of the bridge was completed on 1883, making it the oldest suspension bridge in the United States. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world for 20 years and it was also the first suspension bridge built using steel-wire.
In 1964 its special status as an immediately identifiable part of the New York skyline was canonized with its designation as a National Historic Landmark. The Brooklyn Bridge’s large pedestrian walkway, situated in the center of the bridge above the automobile lanes, has been a blessing to the people of New York in times of crisis, accommodating thousands of people when public transportation became unavailable. In the years 1980 and 2005 strikes by the Transport Workers Union forced people, including Mayors Koch and Bloomberg, forced people to use the Bridge to commute to and from work.
Due to the infamous Blackouts of 1965, 1977 and 2000 subways were incapacitated, once again forcing commuters to take to the road and cross their beloved bridge by foot or bicycle.
Most recently the attack of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center of lower Manhattan caused thousands to flee, once again welcomed by the by well-loved pedestrian walkway of the venerable Brooklyn Bridge.