Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge

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Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge
The bridge, with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge visible in the background
Coordinates40°34′24.4″N 73°53′5.8″W / 40.573444°N 73.884944°W / 40.573444; -73.884944Coordinates: 40°34′24.4″N 73°53′5.8″W / 40.573444°N 73.884944°W / 40.573444; -73.884944
Carries4 lanes of Flatbush Avenue
CrossesJamaica Bay
LocaleBrooklyn and Queens, New York
Maintained byMTA Bridges and Tunnels
DesignVertical lift
Total length4,022 feet (1,225.9 m)[1]
Longest span540 feet (164.6 m)[1]
Clearance above13 ft (4.0 m)
Clearance below55 ft (17 m) at mean high water; 150 ft (46 m) in raised position
OpenedJuly 3, 1937; 81 years ago (July 3, 1937)[1]
Daily traffic21,990 (2016)[2]
TollAs of March 19, 2017, $4.25 (Tolls by Mail) ; $2.16 (New York E-ZPass)
Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge is located in New York City
Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge
Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge
Location in New York City

The Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge (originally and often referred to as the Marine Parkway Bridge) is a vertical-lift bridge in New York City, New York, that crosses Rockaway Inlet. The bridge, which opened on July 3, 1937, connects the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, with Flatbush Avenue to Floyd Bennett Field, Belt Parkway, and the Marine Park neighborhood in Brooklyn. The bridge is designated as New York State Route 901B, an unsigned reference route.[3]

The center span is 540 feet (160 m) long and is normally 55 feet (17 m) above the water but can be lifted to a height of 150 feet (46 m) above water level. With its distinctive twin towers (which house the vertical-lift machinery), the bridge has become an iconic landmark and symbol of the Rockaways.[4]

The bridge is owned by the City of New York and operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The operation of this bridge includes the maintenance of the Marine Parkway from the toll plaza to Jacob Riis Park. Though a city-owned and operated bridge, it connects Floyd Bennett Field and Jacob Riis Park, two parts of Gateway National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park System.[5]


View of the roadway

Construction and opening[edit]

In February 1934, the New York State Assembly introduced a bill to build a $10 million bridge connecting Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses wanted the bridge to connect Marine Park in Brooklyn and Jacob Riis Park in Queens, two of the parks that he was developing.[6] The assembly authorized the creation of the Marine Parkway Authority, which was tasked with developing the bridge, in March.[7] Moses was named as the only member of the authority.[6] The next month, New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman approved the Assembly bill.[8]

The Marine Parkway Bridge was to be constructed using Public Works Administration funds.[6] The United States Department of War approved the Marine Parkway Authority's request to construct a bridge over Rockaway Inlet in December 1935, although some members of the War Department preferred a tunnel under the inlet so as to not impede marine traffic.[9] In order to fund the bridge's construction the Marine Parkway Authority authorized the issuance of $6 million worth of bonds that would mature in 25 years. The bridge would also collect tolls from drivers to fund part of the rest of the costs.[10] The Marine Parkway Bridge was developed in conjunction with other road infrastructure projects in New York City, such as the Triborough Bridge, Henry Hudson Parkway, Belt Parkway, and Grand Central Parkway.[11] It would also be a part of a new greenbelt of parks that included Jacob Riis Park.[12]

The bridge was to be built near Barren Island, an island on the Brooklyn side that housed 90 people from the former Barren Island community. In April 1936. The community was evicted so that the Marine Parkway Authority could place 2,000,000 cubic feet (57,000 m3) of landfill to build a landing for the bridge,[13] The Marine Parkway Authority opened a bidding competition for the construction of the Marine Parkway Bridge in June 1936.[14] Eight bids had been submitted by the time the bidding process was completed in October 1936.[15] The crossing's principal designer was David B. Steinman,[16][17]:84 with Richard S. M. Lee[18] and Shortridge Hardesty as assistant designers,[19] and Emil Praeger as Chief Engineer.[20][21] The American Bridge Company ultimately ended up constructing the bridge[21] since it had submitted the lowest bid, at just over $2.1 million.[22]

The Marine Parkway Bridge was supposed to be completed in two years,[23] but the construction process was accelerated because the city wanted the bridge to be completed in time to accommodate ferry traffic in summer 1937.[24] By January 1937, there was significant progress on the Marine Parkway Bridge's construction, as the main span had been floated into place on January 13.[25] The last section of the bridge was installed on May 26, 1937,[26] and the toll bridge opened on July 3, 1937.[27] A ceremonial opening had been scheduled for 10:30 AM that day, but the bridge was opened 15 minutes early in order to allow fire trucks to combat a five-alarm fire near the Rockaways' Playland amusement park in Rockaway Beach.[28] At the time, the 540-foot (160 m) span was the longest vertical-lift vehicular span in the world.[17]:41[29] Green Bus Lines extended its Rockaway route (the current Q35 bus) across the bridge to Flatbush on the day of the bridge's opening.[30] The bridge's opening spurred a wave of real-estate sales in Flatbush.[31] However, it also increased the amount of vehicular traffic to the Rockaways, which already had a severe traffic congestion problem.[32]

Later years[edit]

The bridge saw 1.7 million vehicles in 1938, its first full year of operation.[27] By 1940, the Marine Parkway Bridge had recorded 4 million crossings.[33] Following the 1940 merger of the Marine Parkway Authority and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the operation of the bridge fell to the latter.[17]:66[34] On the bridge's 20th anniversary, The Wave of Long Island noted that 80 million vehicles had crossed the bridge since opening.[23]

American Airlines Flight 587, circled in white, can briefly be seen in this video still moving downward with a white streak behind the aircraft. This video, released by the NTSB, was recorded by a toll-booth camera located on the bridge.

On April 4, 1978,[35] the bridge was renamed for Gil Hodges, the former first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers.[34] It was believed to be the first bridge to be named for a major sports figure.[36]

From 1999 to 2001, the bridge received a renovation. The two-lane roadway was expanded to four lanes, two in each direction. The existing steel-grated roadway deck on the lift span was replaced with a new steel grating. A Jersey barrier was also installed to separate opposing traffic flows.[37] In addition, the elevators and electrical systems in the two towers were replaced, and new variable message signs and traffic control devices were installed on the bridge, approach roadways, and toll plaza.[38] The walkway on the bridge was closed temporarily so the roadway could be widened.[39]

Part of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in 2001 was filmed from a tollbooth camera on this bridge.[40]


From Riis Landing

The Marine Parkway Bridge carries four motor traffic lanes, bicycle paths on the west side of the bridge, and a footpath on the western edge. Originally, the bridge only had two lanes, or one in each direction.[37] The entirety of the bridge, including approaches, is 4,022 feet (1,226 m) long.[17]:65 The main part of the Marine Parkway Bridge consists of three spans with an aggregate length of 1,500 feet (460 m).[29] The center span is 540 feet long,[29] weighs 3,600 tons,[25] and is located 55 feet (17 m) above water level in the bridge's "closed" position. When the Marine Parkway Bridge is "open", the center span can be raised to a height of 140 feet (43 m) to allow vessels to pass beneath the roadway.[23] The bridge was raised 157 times in 2006.[27] The curled tops of the towers were designed to give the bridge a whimsical aspect.[34]


As of March 19, 2017, drivers pay $4.25 per car and $3.50 per motorcycle for tolls by mail. E-ZPass users with transponders issued by the New York E‑ZPass pay $2.16 per car and $1.80 per motorcycle. All other E-ZPass users with transponders issued outside of the NY Customer Service Center pay Toll-by-mail rates.[41]

Starting on March 31, 2019, drivers pay $4.75 per car or $4.00 per motorcycle for tolls by mail. E‑ZPass users with transponders issued by the New York E‑ZPass Customer Service Center pay $2.29 per car or $1.91 per motorcycle. All E-ZPass users with transponders not issued by the New York E-ZPass CSC will be required to pay Toll-by-mail rates.[42]

The bridge originally charged a toll of 10 cents.[21] Since 1993, residents of the Rockaways have received discounts on tolls for the Marine Parkway Bridge and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.[43] The tollbooths for the Marine Parkway Bridge were configured to collect tolls electronically from E-ZPass transponders in 1996.[44]

Open-road cashless tolling began on April 30, 2017. The tollbooths were dismantled, and drivers are no longer able to pay cash at the bridge. Instead, there are cameras mounted onto new overhead gantries near where the booths were located.[45][46] Drivers without E-ZPass will have a picture of their license plate taken, and the toll will be mailed to them. For E-ZPass users, sensors will detect their transponders wirelessly. Residents with leftover bridge tokens will be eligible to redeem their tokens for a refund.[45][46]


One person was killed in a three-car accident on the bridge on June 3, 1951.[47] Another fatal accident on the bridge on July 14, 1963, killed two and injured seven.[48]

On April 10, 1957, a gate for the Marine Parkway Bridge's drawbridge span was being lowered when it hit a bus, injuring four passengers.[49]

On November 24, 2014, the bridge experienced a power failure while it was raised to let a boat pass. It remained stuck in the raised position for about six hours before technicians were able to lower it.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge at Structurae. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  2. ^ "New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. 2016. p. 11. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Perry, N.W. "NYS Reference Routes, Regions 10 and 11". Empire State Roads. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  4. ^ "The Wave". The Rockaway Wave. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  5. ^ Chan, Sewell. "Marine Parkway Bridge Celebrates Its 70th Birthday". City Room. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  6. ^ a b c "MARINE PARKWAY PROPOSED IN BILL; Albany Measure Seeks New Authority to Build for Kings-Queens Causeway" (PDF). The New York Times. 1934-02-06. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  7. ^ "ROCKAWAY PROJECT PASSES ASSEMBLY; Parkway Authority Bill Goes to Lehman -- Senate Votes Hudson Drive Extension. JOB INSURANCE DELAYED Upper House Orders Hearings on Byrnes Measure -- Primary Date Change Forwarded" (PDF). The New York Times. 1934-03-22. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  8. ^ "GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL FOR MARINE PARKWAY; Creates Authority for $10,000,000 Development Involving Rockaway Area" (PDF). The New York Times. 1934-04-09. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  9. ^ "APPROVE BUILDING ROCKAWAY BRIDGE; War Department Officers Back Revised Plans of Marine Parkway Authority. SOME STILL OPPOSE IT These Interests Favor a Tunnel, Objecting to Any Span Across Inlet to Brooklyn" (PDF). The New York Times. 1935-12-19. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  10. ^ "MARINE PARKWAY OFFERS 4 1/4% ISSUE; $6,000,000 of 25-Year Bonds to Be Put Out Today at 99 1/2 by Syndicate" (PDF). The New York Times. 1935-12-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  11. ^ "MOSES'S MANY PROJECTS ARE ALL TIED TOGETHER; The Commissioner Has Coordinated His Tasks So That Each of Them Helps the Others" (PDF). The New York Times. 1935-02-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  12. ^ Irving, Carter (1936-08-16). "PARKS FOR SEVEN MILLION: A VISION REALIZED; NEW YORK PARKS FOR MILLIONS A Vision Made Reality During Three Years" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  13. ^ "EVICTION DATE EXTENDED; Barren Island Squatters Now Have Until April 15 to Move" (PDF). The New York Times. 1936-03-14. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  14. ^ "OPEN BRIDGE BIDS TODAY; Marine Parkway Authority to Act on Rockaway Inlet Piers". The New York Times. 1936-06-24. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  15. ^ "8 BID ON PARK CONTRACT; Contractors Seek Work in Connection With Marine Parkway Bridge" (PDF). The New York Times. 1936-10-31. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  16. ^ Weingardt, Richard G. (October 2005). "David Steinman: America's Greatest Native Son Bridge Builder of the 20th Century" (PDF). Structure: 49.
  17. ^ a b c d Mead & Hunt; Allee King Rosen & Fleming, Inc (November 1999). "Contextual Study of New York State's Pre-1961 Bridges" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 10, 2017.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "RICHARD S. LEE, BRIDGE ENGINEER; Design Aide in Queensboro and Other Spans Here Dies" (PDF). The New York Times. 1961-07-20. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  19. ^ "Shortridge Hardesty Dies at 72; Engineer Was a Bridge Designer; Partner in Consulting Firm Worked on Goethals, Marine Parkway, Captree Spans". The New York Times. 1956-10-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  20. ^ Adams, Arthur G. (1981-01-01). The Hudson. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791494226.
  21. ^ a b c "Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge Turns 75". Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  22. ^ "Marine Parkway Bridge Opening Set for Next Year". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1936-06-25. p. 5. Retrieved 2017-12-10 – via Brooklyn Public Library;
  23. ^ a b c "Marine Parkway Bridge Has Twentieth Birthday" (PDF). The Wave of Long Island. July 4, 1957. p. 25. Retrieved December 10, 2017 – via
  24. ^ "City Seeks to Speed Work On Marine Parkway Bridge" (PDF). April 5, 1937. p. 3. Retrieved December 10, 2017 – via
  25. ^ a b "HUGE SPAN PLACED AT ROCKAWAY INLET; Work Is Done at Night Under Lights to Take Advantage of Unusually High Tide" (PDF). The New York Times. 1937. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  26. ^ "MARINE BRIDGE IN PLACE; Span Over Jamaica Inlet to Be Open to Public July 3" (PDF). The New York Times. 1937-05-26. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  27. ^ a b c Chan, Sewell. "Marine Parkway Bridge Celebrates Its 70th Birthday". City Room. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  28. ^ "Fire Rages on Rockaway Boardwalk; $500,000 Fire Razes 2 Blocks At Rockaway; Boardwalk Blaze Rages From 90th to 100th St. and 5 Alarms Are Sent". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 3, 1937. p. 1-2. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  29. ^ a b c "NEW RIIS PARK SPAN IS OPENED BY MAYOR; He Pays High Tribute to Moses at Dedication of Bridge Over Rockaway Inlet" (PDF). The New York Times. 1937-07-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  30. ^ "ROCKAWAY BUS LINE EXTENDS SERVICE; Operation to Start Today Over Bridge to Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues" (PDF). The New York Times. 1937-07-03. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  31. ^ "Marine Parkway Bridge Invigorates 'For Sale' Market in Flatbush". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1937-08-08. p. 25. Retrieved 2017-12-10 – via Brooklyn Public Library;
  32. ^ "TRAFFIC JAMS INCREASED BY BRIDGE" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. July 12, 1937. p. 2. Retrieved December 10, 2017 – via
  33. ^ "4,000,000TH CAR ON SPAN; Driver Gets Book of Tickets for Marine Parkway Bridge" (PDF). The New York Times. 1939-07-16. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  34. ^ a b c "Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge". MTA Bridges & Tunnels. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  35. ^ "It's Gil Hodges Bridge Now" (PDF). The Wave of Long Island. April 8, 1978. p. 1. Retrieved December 10, 2017 – via
  36. ^ Abdo, Mike (March 18, 1978). "California City Would Like To Run Joggers Out Of Town" (PDF). Olean Times-Herald. p. 17. Retrieved December 10, 2017 – via
  37. ^ a b Bahrampour, Tara (2002-06-02). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: UPDATE; Getting From Here to There in Brooklyn". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  38. ^ "National Award (Reconstructed): Marine Parkway Bridge, NEW YORK CITY" (PDF). National Steel Bridge Alliance. 2003. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  39. ^ Berger, Alisha (2000-07-02). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: QUEENS UP CLOSE; The Bike-to-the-Bus Falters, And the M.T.A. Tries a Fix". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  40. ^ "Animations and Videos from Board Meeting". NTSB. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011.
  41. ^ "2017 Toll Information". MTA Bridges & Tunnels. Archived from the original on April 26, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  42. ^ "New Fares and Tolls Take Effect" (PDF). MTA. February 27, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  43. ^ Dao, James (1993). "Residents of 3 Areas Given Exemptions From Toll Increases". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  44. ^ Holloway, Lynette (1996-08-21). "With Triborough Bridge Debut, A Test for E-Z Pass Toll System". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  45. ^ a b Siff, Andrew (October 5, 2016). "Automatic Tolls to Replace Gates at 9 NYC Spans: Cuomo". NBC New York. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  46. ^ a b WABC (December 21, 2016). "MTA rolls out cashless toll schedule for bridges, tunnels". ABC7 New York. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  47. ^ "Fatal 3-Car Accident Snags Beach Traffic" (PDF). The New York Times. 1951-06-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  48. ^ "2 Killed, 7 Hurt in Crash On Marine Parkway Bridge" (PDF). The New York Times. 1963-07-14. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  49. ^ "BRIDGE GATE HITS BUS; 4 Persons Are Hint in Accident at Marine Parkway Span" (PDF). The New York Times. 1957-04-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  50. ^ "Marine Parkway Bridge Stuck in 'Up' Position". November 24, 2014. Archived from the original on November 27, 2014.

External links[edit]