M.A. Rockland
Rutgers University Press | 0813543754 | 2008 | PDF | 208 pages | 3 Mb

Download From FileFactory!


Since opening in 1931, the George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey, has become the busiest bridge in the world, with 108 million vehicles crossing it in 2007. Many people also consider it the most beautiful bridge in the world, yet remarkably little has been written about this majestic structure.

Intimate and engaging, Michael Rockland’s rich narrative presents perspectives on the GWB, as it is often called, that span history, architecture, engineering, transportation, design, the arts, politics, and even post-9/11 mentality. Stunning archival photos, from the late 1920s when the bridge was built through the present, are a powerful complement to the bridge’s history. Rockland covers the competition between the GWB and the Brooklyn Bridge that parallels the rivalry between New Jersey and New York City. Readers will learn about the Swiss immigrant Othmar Ammann, an unsung hero who designed and built the GWB, and how a lack of funding during the Depression dictated the iconic, uncovered steel beams of its towers, which we admire today. There are chapters discussing accidents on the bridge, such as an airplane crash landing in the westbound lanes and the sad story of suicides off its span; the appearance of the bridge in media and the arts; and Rockland’s personal adventures on the bridge, including scaling its massive towers on a cable.

Movies, television shows, songs, novels, countless images, and even PlayStation 2 games have aided the GWB in becoming a part of the global popular culture. This tribute will captivate residents living in the shadow of the GWB, the millions who walk, jog, bike, skate, or drive across it, as well as tourists and those who will visit it some day.

About the Author:

Michael Aaron Rockland is a professor of American studies at Rutgers, New Brunswick. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (Rutgers University Press), listed by the State Library as one of the ten best books ever written about New Jersey, and the novel A Bliss Case, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Rockland is also a regular contributor to New Jersey Monthly magazine


1 A Day on the G.W.B. 13
2 The George and the Brooklyn: New Jersey and New York 27
3 Othmar Ammann 39
4 Building the Bridge 55
5 The Accidental Icon 69
6 “The Martha” and the Bus Station 81
7 Dramas, Dangers, and Disasters 93
8 The George Washington Bridge in Literature 107
9 The George Washington Bridge in the Other Arts 123
10 Life Along the Walkways 135
11 The G.W.B. and Me 147


“The subtitle of “The George Washington Bridge” is “Poetry in Steel, which belies the utilitarian nature of the world’s busiest bridge…a poetic tribute …of one of the world’s most majestic spans.”—New York Times

"Like the magnificent bridge it honors, this book is graceful, intelligently composed, elegant, durable, and solid as steel"—Phillip Lopate, author of Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan

"The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel is a well-rounded tribute to a national landmark. The author weaves together history, popular culture, behind-the-scene tours, and personal insight in his living portrait of a modern marvel."—Darl Rastorfer, author of Six Bridges: The Legacy of Othmar H. Ammann

"This is a comprehensive look at the planning for the only bridge across the Hudson connecting New Jersey and New York, a span traversed by millions."
—Patricia C. Turner, The Star-Ledger

"Michael Aaron Rockland, the author of the stunning and encyclopedic The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel has created a book of almost poetic beauty. His writing is fluid and easy to read, gripping the reader so that it's hard to quit reading. He has gathered an astounding collection of facts about this bridge."
—Bernardsville News

"Part history book, part aesthetic appreciation, the book resembles its subject with its spare and elegant prose."—Manhattan Times

Blog Archive

Recent Post