Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Roosevelt Island Bridge
Roosevelt Island Bridge, January 27, 2010
Keith Nelson on a 26", Michael Richter on a 24", Rob Hickman on a 26", Kyle Petersen on a 20"
It was a cold morning. Michael Richter was running late. A neighbor snapped a picture of us atop our one wheeled wonders as we headed out on our five and a half mile journey to Roosevelt Island. I am familiar with Roosevelt Island, having been commissioned to build a sculpture there. I refreshed my history of the island the night before the ride. I knew the route like the back of my hand. I was also aware the bridge was in the middle of a renovation project. We rode today with official touring cards, handing them out to pedestrians along the route. After pedaling over the Pulaski bridge into Long Island City, we heard a guy exlaim to his friend, "What the fuck! Hey Joe! Take a look at that shit!". We decided to stop by Silvercup studios to see if they needed any unicycle riding extras today. A teamster working for The Sopranos took our picture in front of the Silvercup cafe. Afterwards we headed north. Kyle Petersen was almost slammed by a car at 40th Avenue at 21st Street. As expected, there was a large construction site set up at the Roosevelt Island bridge. To the right of the entrance was a radar controlled 'your speed is' sign. Time trials soon commenced. Kyle Petersen had the fastest time at 11MPH - pretty impressive on a 20" unicycle. We crossed the bridge and took the circular ramp down onto the island. We pedaled along Main Street to the subway station where my sculpture sits. I asked the attendant if we could take our picture in front of the sculpture, but he wouldn't let us into the station. I wasn't able get a hold of his supervisor, so we took the picture on the outside of the station looking in through the glass. There we met a friendly gentleman who was impressed by Keith's familiarity with The King Charles Troupe. We headed over to the east channel to take some better pictures of the Roosevelt Island bridge and to perform a few death defying stunts for a couple of kids who had cut school. Afterwards we crossed the bridge back into Queens. A guy on Vernon Avenue complained that we were riding in the bike lane. We stopped at an interesting cycle related public sculpture called Urban Garden sponsored by Recycle a Bicycle We pedaled to the Pepsi sign in Long Island City along the East river, and photographed plenty of unicycle porn in front of the Manhattan skyline. We finished the ride back to Brooklyn and had a couple shots of whiskey at Keith's place before we called it a day. 13 miles pedaled. It was our 23rd bridge crossing. Next week we're doing the Bayonne bridge, from Staten Island to Bayonne, New Jersey. For a start time and place contact Rob firstname.lastname@example.org or Keith email@example.com
From New York City Department of Transportation:
The Roosevelt Island Bridge is a tower drive, vertical lift, movable bridge across the East Channel of the East River between the borough of Queens and Roosevelt Island, New York City. The span length is 418 feet. It was known as the Welfare Island Bridge when it was first opened to traffic in 1955. The bridge is the only means of vehicular access to Roosevelt Island. Prior to construction, the bridge carried two 17-foot lanes of vehicular traffic and a 6-foot sidewalk. The bridge is used by both pedestrians and vehicles with increased volume during rush hours. The Queens approach begins at the intersection of Vernon Boulevard and 36th Avenue.
The Roosevelt Island Bridge is a lift bridge that connects Roosevelt Island to Astoria, Queens in Queens, crossing the East Channel of the East River. It is the sole route to the island for vehicular and foot traffic (without using public transportation).
Construction of the bridge began on March 17, 1952, at a cost of $6.5 million. It opened on May 18, 1955, as the Welfare Island Bridge. The name was changed to the Roosevelt Island Bridge in 1973.
When the bridge is open it provides ships with 100 feet (30 m) of vertical clearance. It is 40 feet (12 m) wide, and its total length, including approaches, is 2,877 feet (877 m). The main span is 418 feet (127 m).
Before the bridge was constructed, the only way vehicles vehicles could access Roosevelt Island was via an elevator on the Queensboro Bridge.
The Roosevelt Island Bridge provides direct access to the Motorgate Parking Garage, which was designed to minimize vehicular traffic on the island. The garage was completed in 1974 and later expanded in 1990.
In 2001, the New York City Department of Transportation considered converting the Roosevelt Island Bridge into a fixed bridge to reduce the cost of its maintenance. The bridge is rarely opened because most vessels passing by Roosevelt Island use the West Channel of the East River.