by Kevin Walsh

Grand Street and its eastern extension, Grand Avenue, is a major thoroughfare in Brooklyn and Queens, running from the East River in Williamsburg northeast to Queens Boulevard and Broadway in Elmhurst. It runs over two major bridges: a bridge over English Kills, which also serves Metropolitan Avenue traffic, built in 1931 but improved since to the extent that it looks rather generic from the road surface. (That is the bridge where I stumbled and fell on a railing, necessitating stitches, in April 2011; I suffer for my art). The other one is the Grand Street Bridge proper, which runs over Newtown Creek, shown here.

This is a 69-meter-long swing bridge (NYC Department of Transportation perversely offers only metric measurements) with an approximate width of 12 meters, which is wider than Grand Street/Avenue by three meters. It was opened on February 5, 1903 (the 3rd bridge on this site), and except for differences in street lighting, paint color, etc. looks essentially the same as when it opened — which, naturally, makes it my favorite of the several Newtown Creek bridges. I have many more photos of the bridge in the kitty which will go in a comprehensive multi-page study of Grand Street that should appear sometime in 2013.

Until that page appears, the Newtown Pentacle has everything you want to know, and some things you don’t, about the Grand Street Bridge.

The bridge seems rickety and though truck traffic has used it for years without mishap, rumour has it that the Department of Transportation has plans to replace with a properly more generic and anodyne structure.



Paul Ruoso December 20, 2012 - 7:48 am

If this bridge could talk, if would cry in pain. The propensity of heavy truck traffic this bridge is subjected to
substantial. And with its limited width, they come rolling right down the middle.

steven December 25, 2012 - 9:41 pm

Two trucks cant go over the bridge at the same time. Ive seen plenty of near accidents over the years on this bridge.


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