Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade


With its eight lanes for train, horse-drawn and automobile traffic, it was designed to be a muscle, a working horse, a purely utilitarian structure. However, it caught the attention of the City Beautiful movement, and the Carrère & Hastings architectural firm was engaged to beautify the approaches to the bridge on both sides.Carrère & Hastings introduced its design in the Beaux-Arts style in 1910 and the plan was not only approved, but also lauded as the most artistic treatment of a bridge entrance attempted on this continent. The Manhattan end of the bridge featured a Beaux-Arts plaza with its signature arch and colonnade. The arch was modeled after Porte St. Denis in Paris, and the colonnade after Bernini's famous colonnade that encircles St. Peter`s Square in the Vatican.Arches were very popular in those days. The Manhattan Bridge arch is one of only three remaining in the city now (the other two are the Soldiers` and Sailors` Arch on Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and the Washington Square Arch in Manhattan.)

Constructed, 1910

Related Sites
Spirit of Commerce and Spirit of Industry- The arch’s pylons are decorated with high reliefs by Carl Augustus Heber. Two winged figures, female and male, represent “The Spirit of Commerce” on the left and “The Spirit of Industry” on the right.