The East River Bridge
November 5, 2010 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Brooklyn to New York via the Brooklyn Bridge as shot by the Edison Manufacturing Co. in 1899. (SLYT)

From the video description:

Sept. 22, 1899. Edison Manufacturing Co.

The B.M.T. train ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan. In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then an independent city), Manhattan and outlying areas. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 did for the city what railroad expansion and the Erie Canal did for the nation. The population was expanding due to immigration and commerce was booming. In less than five years the need for several more bridges would be apparent as Williamsburgh and the rest of Brooklyn also grew in population. On Manhattan "uptown" was moving quickly past 14th Street. Soon, people would be calling it "downtown." The subway system was already on its way.

July 29, 1898
At six o'clock in the evening a traffic jam near the Brooklyn end of the Bridge ties up wagons and trolleys all the way back to the Manhattan entrance. Suddenly the Bridge sags a few inches at two points, approximately 250 feet on both sides of the Manhattan tower. On examination, engineers find that several trusses buckled under the roadbed, but they conclude that the damage is harmless, and make no attempt to straighten the kinks. For a few days after the incident the ferries running across the river (eleven now compared with the fourteen that had existed during the building of the Bridge) do a brisk business.*

New York City in 1899:
The newly formed 'City of Greater New York' splits Queens County, Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay from Nassau County / Sept. 9th, Henry H. Bliss steps off of a streetcar at 74th St. & Central Park West and gets struck by a vehicle becoming New York City's first automobile fatality / Dec. 2nd, trolleys begin running between Jamaica and Flushing in Queens
posted by gman (11 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This I like. There was a documentary on pbs a few months ago about the construction of the bridge. Apparently all of the cables, if they were placed end to end, would go on for X* miles.

* where X is a huge number that I can't recall.
posted by Think_Long at 8:58 AM on November 5, 2010

I don't remember if I found this movie through MetaFilter, but since I've been watching a lot of them lately, the Library of Congress has a huge archive of public domain Edison films, and I think this is in there.
posted by klangklangston at 9:02 AM on November 5, 2010

This film is great but it needs some old-timey piano music playing in the background.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:03 AM on November 5, 2010

Funny, I was just watching the almost-contemporaneous Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and just minutes ago saw the montage of Butch, Sundance and Etta arriving in NYC. Funny to think that that happens years after the footage in the link was shot.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2010

You know, it's easy to get jaded about this sort of thing, but I can't really express how awesome it is that I can, with one click, watch something filmed in 1899.
posted by mhoye at 9:13 AM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Recently 60 Minutes did a piece on a restored 1906 pre-earthquake film of San Francisco: A Trip Down Market Street.
posted by starman at 9:33 AM on November 5, 2010

Oh shit! Zombie Thomas Edison is suing us for copyright infringement!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2010

The bridge had only been open for 16 years, as of that film. I am sure that it was still considered a wonder of the modern world.
posted by Danf at 11:45 AM on November 5, 2010

In 2010, it is still a wonder of the modern world.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 4:47 PM on November 5, 2010

1903 Boston trolley ride, also filmed by Edison's company.
posted by adamg at 7:32 PM on November 5, 2010

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