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Old mooring posts near Brooklyn Bridge, New York

Brooklyn, a borough founded by the Dutch in the 17th century, was independent until 1898 when it became a borough in New York. By 1867, more than a third of Brooklyn's working population took a ferry to work in Manhattan everyday. The East River froze solid in that year and for many weeks business suffered. The New York Bridge Company was formed with the intention to build a bridge across what was one of the busiest stretches of water in the world. At the time the best engineer for the job was considered to be John A Roebling who had already pioneered the invention of wire rope. In The construction of a bridge started in 1869 and took 14 years to complete. He was surveying the foundations for one of the towers in June of that year when a ferry rammed into the pier he was standing on and his right foot was crushed. He died three weeks later and most of the responsibility for building the bridge was now held by his son, Washington. During work in watertight caissons whilst supervising work on the foundations, Washington became ill through what would become known as the bends. He continued on with the work by watching through binoculars from his home and sending instructions to the site through his wife Emily Warren Roebling. The official opening day was May 24th 1883 when various dignitaries made speeches and there was a huge firework display. On the first full day 150,000 pedestrians crossed the bridge. One week after the Brooklyn Bridge was opened, on May 31st, 20,000 people were on the walkway when a woman on a staircase tripped and fell. Her screams set off panic in the crowd and as people dashed to get off the bridge 12 people were trampled to death. The Brooklyn Bridge, stretches 5,989 feet across the East River and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in America. On its completion it was the largest suspension bridges in the world and the first one made of steel wire. The bridge's main span over the river is 1595 feet six inches, cost $15 million to build

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