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July 11: The Triborough Bridge

July 11, 2014
triborough-533New York’s Triborough Bridge opened on this date in 1936, nearly seven years after construction work commenced on Black Friday, the date of the stock market crash in 1929. The bridge, spanning three boroughs of the city, was the brainchild of city designer Robert Moses, who created the Triborough Bridge Authority, headed by Nathan Burkan, to fund, build and operate the bridge. Nearly $60 million in New Deal money was spent, keeping 2,700 construction workers employed for those seven years. In 1935, Mayor FIorello LaGuardia wrote from a sickbed to Nathan Burkan instructing him to cancel an order for 500 tons of German steel and replace it with American product — “The only commodity we can import from Hitlerland now is hatred, and we don’t want any in our country,” wrote LaGuardia. To read the Jewish Telegraphic Agency article from 1935, click here. In 2008, the bridge was officially renamed after the late Robert F. Kennedy. To see documentary footage about the Triborough from 1936, look below. “Those who can, build.” —Robert Moses
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