Through the Legs of the Manhattan Bridge: 100 Years of Dumbo’s View


A single tower of the bridge in 1909, three years before the span was completed. The Empire State Building wouldn’t rise until 1931.

Dumbo holds its own in Brooklyn while perfectly framing Manhattan.

Since construction on the Manhattan Bridge began in 1901, the bridge’s Brooklyn-side tower has been beautifully framed by the brick warehouses on Washington Street near the water. The steel structure photogenically rises up out of the East River, the Empire State Building visible in the distance.

Visitors and tourists are ever standing in the middle of Washington Street to snap the same iconic shot — which caught a photographer’s eye even before the bridge’s span was complete.


A 1974 image by Danny Lyon. The cobblestones are paved over, but the street could use a sweeping


A still from Sergio Leone’s 1984 film Once Upon a Time in America



The view down Washington Street in 2015


A 2015 picture from a few blocks over, on Adams and Front Street


Another still from Once Upon a Time In America, of the bridge from the same intersection at Adams and Front

A version of this post originally appeared on Brownstoner

[Photos: Hannah Frishberg unless otherwise noted]

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