Squibb Bridge Demolished, RIP Squibb Bridge

What would we do without Mary Frost and her superb local reporting? In this post, we link to her report in the Brooklyn Eagle that Squibb Bridge has gone the way of the Tappan Zee. Demolished.

After years of gestation and labor that cost $5 million, Squibb Bridge was born on March 21, 2013 to the delight of all who visited Brooklyn Bridge Park. Karl Jungersfeld beautifully documented the joyous birth in a video for BHB. Every media outlet in NYC and even Popular Mechanics could not stop fawning on and on about the bridge. The birth announcement in the New York Times described the bridge as “an undeniable frisson of excitement, zigging and zagging some 50 feet above the ground.” At the time, Ted Zoli, the engineer who designed the bridge, chuckled at the overabundant praise of how the bouncy bridge complimented the Brooklyn Bridge nearby. “No bridge engineer would ever compare his work to the Brooklyn Bridge,” Zoli said. “That would be the height of hubris. But at least it doesn’t detract.” Hubris, did he say?

Squibb Bridge spent just over a year soaking in the adulation and spreading joy to all who traversed it. Until August 2013, when it closed the first time due to “warping” and with assurances that it will reopen in a few weeks. A few weeks passed, and years, and finally at a raucous community board meeting on February 26, 2015, the BBP Corp. announced that it will cost $700,000 to resuscitate the bridge. In the end, it cost $2.5 million to bring the bridge back to life 32 months later in April 2017, but with a lot less bounce in its step, as reported by the New York Times.

Alas, hopes of the Squibb Bridge returning to its glory and living a long, productive life were shattered in July 2018, when BBP announced that the bridge was “temporarily” closed due to the discovery of a piece of wood in bad condition. Over the next months, BBP updated the bridge’s prognosis which sounded more and more dire. Then, in December 2018, BBP announced that the bridge would be totally replaced with a new bridge expected in “the Summer of 2020.”

I, for one, will have a hard time calling the new bridge “Squibb Bridge,” as if the first one never existed. Tributes and odes to the bridge are welcome in the comments. I’ll start:

So long, oh, squibb bridge,

zig zag and bounce bounce no more,

7.5 mil gone.

O.G. Squibb Park        (photo courtesy Jim Henderson via wikimedia commons)

O.G. Squibb Bridge (photo courtesy Jim Henderson via wikimedia commons)

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  • North BK Heights Couple

    Does it mean it’ll actually be done by summer 2020? I miss it terribly. I figured it was in a standstill until the whole BQE plan is ironed out.

  • Karl Junkersfeld


    I made this film 6 years ago and must admit I will miss the bridge tremendously. Although the execution was problematic, the initial concept of a trail bridge was brilliant. So long bouncing bridge, you will be missed.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    They may be able to get it done by then. I don’t think the BBP cares about the BQE work and I doubt it would impinge on the bridge anyway.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Well put! … I guess it IS tricky when you try something even slightly new … and you probably have a real or imagined $ cap of “shouldn’t cost more than a conventional bridge.” … I suspect that it COULD have been saved – better anchoring here, maybe one “heavy duty” support at some key spot – but the folks who run BBP are corporate, not visionary. (It’s not even clear that it’s any more “non-profit” than the Langone health monolith.) Somebody figured out that this was a very severe embarrassment – whatever the cause(s) – and “a new broom sweeps clean.” Plus, one can not be quite so easily second-guessed if one turns 180 degrees from a fiasco, esp. if the new way is totally “mainstream.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    I guess you haven’t been playing close attention to the saga of the bridge.

    They did attempt to fix the problem even after the original designer couldn’t figure it out it. They hired a top notch engineering firm, made the recommended changes and the bridge still failed. It is pretty obvious the design is inherently flawed and beyond reasonable repair. Hence the replacement.

  • Neighborhood Realist

    I think people should stop questioning the design as the only reason this failed. What about the contractor using material that was not specified and cutting corners to save a few dollars when it was initially installed?

  • Andrew Porter
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    Citations please. I don’t recall any such allegations? Anyway, even if the contractor did use inferior materials it is still the fault of the engineer/architect for signing off on the work.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    I could never understand the rationale behind building the bridge. Why build another?

  • H Ginsberg

    But why did it bounce? Was this a compromise to the challenge of building such a foot bridge? Why was this such a complex project

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    The design was unusual in that it the walkway was suspended entirely from below, most such bridges are suspended mostly from above (look at the center span of the Brooklyn Bridge for example). In theory, the cables will support the weight either way however, in this design the main support cables crossed each other in the center basically making one “spine” in the middle instead of having support on both sides. The support was thus insufficient to prevent the walkway from twisting.