For most of New York’s history, all passengers and freight moving between the nation’s first largest city (New York City, on Manhattan Island) and the nation’s third largest city (Brooklyn) travelled by ferry. By the 1880s, though, rapid increases in population and trade demanded a new artery to connect the twin metropolises. Starting in 1869, tens of thousands of workers set to work of a new kind of bridge–a suspension bridge, where the road bed would be support by thick steel wires strung between two massive pillars. Construction took 13 years to complete; 27 workers died during the process. At the time of its completion in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. The new link spurred continued growth in each of its anchor cities, and contributed to an emerging sense of connectivity that would soon see both combined under the larger of umbrella of Greater New York. Source: David McCollough, The Great Bridge (New York, 1972). Written by Dr. Brett Palfreyman