Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko isn’t the only Polish Revolutionary-era patriot honored with a bridge across Newtown Creek.
Manhattan Avenue formerly connected with Vernon Avenue (now Boulevard) in Long Island City via a now-demolished swing bridge. The Pulaski Bridge, which connects McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint with 11th Street in Hunters Point, is a bascule bridge in which counterweighted deck members pivot upwards to allow shipping to pass underneath. London’s Tower Bridge is another example of a bascule, albeit a much more ornate one. It opened to traffic in September 1954.
General Casimir Pulaski (1747-1779) is regarded as the father of the American cavalry. He was enlisted by Benjamin Franklin in Paris after successfully defending Poland against a Russian invasion and falling out of favor after his implication in a plot to kill the Polish king. He was able to cover George Washington’s retreat at the Battle of Brandywine with expert use of cavalry; he was subsequently awarded command of all US cavalry. In 1779 he helped break the British siege of Charleston. He was mortally wounded at Savannah, GA in 1779 at the young age of 32.
East of the Pulaski Bridge Newtown Creek encounters two tributary waters: Dutch Kills, flowing to the north, and Whale Creek on the south. Whale Creek formerly flowed into a salt marsh, but today dead-ends in a Greenpoint sewage treatment plant. Dutch Kills is bridged by the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which parallels Newtown Creek from Long Island City to Maspeth.