August 2017
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Sheepshead Bay Footbridge, A Place that Matters

sheepshead bay bridgeOpulent hotels, horse racing, auto racing, and gambling, lots of gambling — Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach had it all. But betting was banned in 1910, and the twin neighborhoods became year-round residential neighborhoods with an emphasis on the sea. One structure that links the past to the present in Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach — and, for that matter, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach themselves — is the Sheepshead Bay Footbridge, which runs over the bay from Emmons Avenue and East 19th Street. The current version of the bridge dates from the 1930s and gives walkers and fishers a view of a Brooklyn that, while not quite the wild Riviera it once was, is still a waterfront destination. The first bridge was built in 1880 by a railroad tycoon seeking to provide access to his Manhattan Beach resort. Finding that it provided too much access, he quickly tore it down, only to have the local government and others put it back up and force him to leave it up. Read more about the strange early history of the bridge and locals’ more recent memories of this pedestrian-only link. Browse the rest of the Census — or add a Place That Matters — here.