Sunday, January 9, 2011

Throgs Neck Bridge Celebrates Five Decades as Bronx-Queens Span by Mike Jaccarino - NY Daily News

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Throgs Neck Bridge fans had nothing but praise for the scenic 50-year-old span.

The Throgs Neck Bridge, the graceful span that connects the Bronx with Queens and Long Island, turns 50 this Tuesday.
For five decades, folks have motored across it to visit family, girlfriends and old pals, separated by the Long Island Sound and East River.
"I want to wish it the happiest of birthdays - this venerable public servant, the Throgs Neck Bridge," said Ken Kearns, district manager for Community Board 10 in the Bronx. "The ride across it is scenic and beautiful."
Workers broke ground on the bridge on Oct. 22, 1957. Three years, two months and 20 days later, city officials, including Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Chairman Robert Moses, cut the ribbon on the span.
The bridge consists of an 1,800-foot long center span and two 555-feet side spans.
The Bronx tower of the bridge is also home to a Peregrine falcon family that returns each spring to nest and hatch its new chicks.
"Compared to the Whitestone, the Triborough and the Verrazano bridges this one doesn't really have the looks, although it serves its purpose solidly," said Jeffrey Kroessler, a Queens author and archivist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
"Two cheers for Robert Moses for getting it built," he said. "Can you imagine the amount of traffic on the Whitestone [Bridge] without it?"
The Bayside Historical Society will devote an exhibit on the Throgs Neck's history starting May 1. The display will chronicle the history of its construction, including photos of the 400 Queens homes that were either relocated or destroyed to make way for Moses' project.
"It's such an important structure," said Alison McKay, a historical society archivist. "We overlook the bridge all the time."
Bronxite and borough business owner John Bonizio said the bridge will always remind him of his youth.
"I remember my first car, a '69 Mustang, and when I got the car it was a tradition in the Bronx that friends and family would throw a pocket full of change into the car for good luck," he said.
"The toll was only 75 cents and when I would go over the Throgs Neck bridge, I would just reach down and pick up all those loose quarters and dimes that people had thrown into my car."
Jim McQuade, 64, owner of Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in Throgs Neck, lives in the shadow of the bridge in Locust Point.
"The bridge has always been a source of tranquility and peace in my life through the years," he said. "Just sitting on the back porch, having the beautiful view of the bridge, looking at Fort Schuyler - there's not a more peaceful view in the city."
Moses had pushed to have the bridge open before the 1964 World's Fair, of which he was also the president.
About 20 minutes after the ribbon cutting, the dignitaries sped across the brand new Throgs Neck Bridge for the second ceremony of the day - the dedication of the first World's Fair structure at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park.
Three summers ago, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. took his sons jet-skiing on City Island.
"We worked our way south, and together we went underneath the Throgs Neck Bridge," said Diaz. "I remember looking up, thinking about how great of a scene it was and being happy that I was able to enjoy it with my family."
Diaz added that, now, when he looks upon the bridge, he can't help but think about that afternoon and his pride over being a New Yorker.With Leigh Remizowski