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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Brooklyn in Kings County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

1883 New York Harbor

Panorama of Manhattan South of Brooklyn Bridge

 
 
1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
1. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
Inscription.  Brooklyn was a vigorous and independent city, the third largest in the United States, when construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began. The cultural and social center of Brooklyn was the Heights, just south of the bridge. Lining the shore below the Heights and to the south were warehouses and factories serving the active port. The ferry lines carried over 50 million passengers per year, mostly commuters, to New York by 1870 and the numbers grew rapidly in the next decade.

Governors Island
Just 500 yards off the Manhattan shore, Governors Island was designated by the New York Assembly in 1689 “for the benefit and accommodation of His Majesty’s Governors.” It had been known until then as Nutten Island. A series of fortifications, dating from 1794, have made it a major administrative center for the U.S. Army. During the War of 1812 its strong defenses may have deterred the British attack of New York. The Coast Guard now occupies the site.

Liberty Island
Liberty Island, formerly called Bedloe’s Island, was the ideal site for the great statue France presented to the United States in 1884 to commemorate

1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
2. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
Captions: Brooklyn; Fulton Ferry; Home of Washington and Emily Roebling; Brooklyn Heights; Brooklyn Piers.
the long alliance of the two nations. Called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the stature was placed at the entrance to New York harbor by the sculptor, Frederic Bartholdt, where it could be seen by millions of immigrants arriving by boat. Gustav Eiffel designed the internal support of the 151 foot statue.

Panorama of Manhattan South of Brooklyn Bridge
With no skyscrapers to block the view, a person on the bridge in 1883 could see from Brooklyn to Staten Island and over Manhattan clear to the Hudson and the New Jersey shore. The bustle of the city’s great port, one of the world’s busiest, could be seen below. An unbroken necklace of piers lined the eastern shore of lower Manhattan to 11th Street. From this harbor, steam and sailing ships left for New England, California, South America and Europe. The narrow, densely built streets of the port were crowded with warehouses, shipyards and small factories as well as with residences. Soaring above the low buildings of the city were the spire of Trinity Church, 280 feet high, and the tower of the Tribune Building.

Ellis Island
Ellis Island takes its name from its owner in the 18th century, Samuel Ellis. Acquired by the federal government in 1808, it became an active arsenal for the U.S. Navy. In 1890, Congress approved the location of the New York Immigration Center at Ellis Island; in

1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
3. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
Captions: Buttermilk Channel; South Brooklyn; Governors Island in 1883; Castle Williams; Staten Island.
the peak year of immigration, 1907, over 1.2 million people entered the United States there.

Designer: Keith Godard of Works
Text: Deborah Nevins. Graphics: Marnie Krooss
Sculpture: Domenico Pacci
Fabrication: Excalibur
Bronze Sculpture Foundry
Edward I. Koch, Mayor of the City of New York
Howard Golden, Borough President of Brooklyn
Andrew J. Stein, Borough President of Manhattan The 1983 Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Commission
The New York City Department of Transportation
 
Erected 1983 by The 1983 Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 40° 42.251′ N, 73° 59.672′ W. Marker is in Brooklyn, New York, in Kings County. Marker can be reached from Brooklyn Bridge Promenade. This marker is located on the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade at the south-east tower observation platform, facing Manhattan. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brooklyn NY 11201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Brooklyn Bridge (a few steps from this marker); The Builders of the Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Manhattan North of the Bridge to Canal Street (a few steps from

1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
4. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
Captions: Base of Statue under construction; Head of Liberty; Internal Structure of Statue.
this marker); Brookland Ferry Landing (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Brooklyn City Railroad Company Building (about 500 feet away); Eagle Warehouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Walt Whitman (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Battle of Brooklyn (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brooklyn.
 
More about this marker. This marker is too large for a readable version to be presented in a single photograph, hence it is show in a series of images from left to right.
 
1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
5. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
Caption: Excursion steamboats such as the “Thos. P. Way” (shown below) carried pleasure seekers to ocean beaches and Hudson River recreation spots for a day of leisure.
1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
6. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
Captions: Ellis Island; South Ferry; Wall Street Ferry slip; 55 Water Street; Chemical Bank; 120 Water Street; Custom House; 180 Maiden Lane; Fulton Ferry slip; 50 Wall Tower; Trinity Church; Fulton Market at South Street; Chase Manhattan; World Trade Center; Pier 27 and 28 at Dover and Roosevelt Streets; Western Union; St. Paul’s Church; Park Row Building; Shot Tower; 225 Broadway; Woolworth Building; Post Office; Tribune Building.
1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
7. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
1883 New York Harbor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 20, 2012
8. 1883 New York Harbor Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 1, 2019. It was originally submitted on February 5, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 440 times since then and 45 times this year. Last updated on March 1, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on February 5, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Dec. 2, 2020