December 22nd, 2008
One of New York City’s most unusual landmarks is the Carroll Street Bridge, which spans Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. Built in 1888-89 (Robert Van Buren, chief engineer; George Ingram, engineer in charge), it is one of the oldest remaining bridges in New York City, and one of only four known “retractile” bridges in the United States. We were lucky enough to be in the neighborhood when the bridge was opening, offering a special opportunity to see how this rare bridge operates. As you can see in the photographs, the bridge rolls horizontally on a track in order to open to allow barges to pass.
As an official New York City landmark, the bridge is protected from inappropriate changes or demolition. However, MAS is concerned that plans for a major residential development, by Toll Brothers, adjacent to the bridge could bring increased auto traffic challenging the limits of the bridge’s structural capacity.