I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is turning 50 on Friday, and there are anniversary parties happening all over the Brooklyn and Staten Island all week.
For many of us in southwest Brooklyn, the bridge is a fixture our lives. It is a landmark, a major commuting artery, a photographer’s dream, and it can often be seen from the roofs of our homes.
Here’s a fun fact: the bridge was named for the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who was the first European to enter the New York Harbor, but the extra Z got dropped off somewhere along the way. The Narrows is the name of the body of water between Brooklyn and Staten Island – hence the name Verrazano-Narrows. The bridge was built over five years and opened for traffic on November 21, 1964.
Turning 50 is kind of a big deal, so we’ve rounded up three of the best events happening this week to help you celebrate the Verrazano’s big day:
1. TODAY: Visit a statue of the original Verrazzano at John J. Carty Park
Here’s a chance to talk about the bridge’s namesake, learn a little New York history, and enjoy a brisk walk around the park. Best of all, it’s FREE.
The Parks Department unveiled a replica of a missing relief statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano and spruced up its old display at John J. Carty Park today. The original statue of the explorer, sculpted by italian immigrant Albino Manca, was installed in 1964, but was stolen from the display in the 1980s. The relief was recast by Bedi-Makky Art Foundry, a historic, Brooklyn-based firm.
DATE: Wednesday, November 19, 2014
TIME: 10am – 1pm
LOCATION: Fort Hamilton Parkway and 95th Street
2. TOMORROW: Eat cake at Yellow Hook Grill in Bay Ridge
Raise a glass to the history of the campaign for a Verrazano Bridge bicycle/pedestrian path and learn about the Harbor Ring’s new efforts to make it a reality.
Tickets will run you $25 a piece, but they get you unlimited beer, wine, soda, and hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of birthday cake.
DATE: Thursday, November 20
TIME: 7:30pm – 9:30pm
LOCATION: Yellow Hook Grille, 7003 3rd Ave
3. FRIDAY: Watch the MTA’s ceremonial canons and fire boat display from shore
We saved the best for last.
On Friday, as part of the MTA’s official Verrazano Bridge 50th anniversary ceremony, there will be a 50-shot cannon salute over The Narrows (25 shots from either sides of the bridge), plenty of politicians, and a spectacular fireboat display. Because there is limited room, the actual event is invitation-only, but the public is invited to view the cannon/fireboat show from Von Briesen Park near Fort Wadsworth or Shore Road Park in Brooklyn.
DATE: Friday, November 21
TIME: Cannon and fireboat display expected to begin at 11:45am
LOCATION: Von Briesen Park near Fort Wadsworth and Shore Road Park in Brooklyn.