Every day I look out my window and see a very special lady…she’s pushing 50, but she’s one hot mama…her name is The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Now, bridges have been in the news a lot lately (boy, that’s an understatement!), so I thought I would take some time to wax rhapsodic about this tall, curvy cougar who soars over the Harbor with such grace and dignity. So here are some Remarkable Facts about the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge!
Built between 1959 and 1964 by famed architects Reginald Verrazano and Archibald Narrows (of the firm DeRita, Fine, Verrazano, Besser, and Narrows, who also designed the Nassau Coliseum), until 1981 this amazing bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world!…The central span of the bridge is 4,260 feet long (wow!), the length of 35 rugby pitches!..Actor Dean Cain was actually born on the bridge! (Well, not literally on the macadam itself, but in a taxi cab on the bridge!)… President Gerald Ford once proclaimed the Verrazano-Narrows “a national treasure” and “my favorite bridge,” and actress Esther Rolle, who was present when ol’ Gerry made these statements, heartily agreed! …In 1970, famous aerialist Phillipe Petit Pere, the father of Phillipe Petit, attempted to walk a wire strung between the bridges two towers (each nearly 700 feet tall!); unfortunately, it ended in tragedy, as documented in the Academy Award winning documentary, Oh Mon Dieu Je Glissais (Pour L’amour de Dieu que C’était une Mauvaise Idée) (Oh My God I’m Falling, for the Love of God this was a Bad Idea)…The chief engineer was the legendary Othmar Amman, and that is truly a fantastic name!…Don’t forget the hypen! The hypen between Verazzano and Narrows was officially added by New York governor Hugh Carey in 1976, after heavy persuasion by the powerful grammar lobby of the United Federation of Teachers…and even if the wondrous Verrazano-Narrows is now only the 11th longest suspension bridge in the world, she will always be first in our hearts!!!
And now, THE THREE-DOT ROUNDUP! Wendy Jo Sperber, we hardly knew ye…Our new Mayor, Bill DeBlasio, wants to proclaim Café Bustelo New York City’s “official” coffee, but I’ll always be a Dunkin’ Donuts man myself…The Tristan Tzara finger puppet wears you!…I have a pile of wampum riding on the Saints going all the way, and so should you…Even if you don’t dig drag shows, I highly recommend seeing the lovely and talented Marsha D’Penguins at Cabaret Lah-Dee-Dah in Greenpoint…Pointing out that Dennis Rodman is crazy is like pointing out that Jack Jones is a great singer – I mean, it’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? So save yer breath…What do you prefer: Splenda, Equal, or Sweet’n’Low? According to a riveting new book by pop psychologist Joyce Brothers Jr., your answer says a lot about you!…If you haven’t made a pilgrimage to 328 Chauncey Street (where Ralph, Alice, Trixie, and Norton lived, and the real-life boyhood home of Jackie Gleason!), I’m not sure you can call yourself a ‘real’ Brooklynite…and when you’re there, say hi to Mrs. Manicotti for me!…AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN!
(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)
Tim Sommer has been employed as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive. He is currently working on a play which dramatizes a fictional meeting between Newark’s two most famous sons, Jerry Lewis and Moe Berg, and he continues his efforts to get Ron Blomberg into the Baseball Hall of Fame.