When it opened in 1964, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the world’s longest suspension span. The ends of the bridge are at historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, both of which guarded New York Harbor at the Narrows for over a century. The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazano, who, in 1524, was the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor.

The Verrazano–Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn. It spans the Narrows, the reach connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger lower bay. It officially opened on Nov. 21, 1964.

The bridge is named for both the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano who, while in the service of Francis I of France, became in 1524 the first European to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River, and for the body of water it spans, called The Narrows. It has a central span of 4,260 feet and was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1964, surpassing the Golden Gate Bridge by 60 feet, until it was in turn surpassed by 366 feet by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981. Currently, it has the 11th longest main span in the world, while retaining its place as the longest bridge span in the Americas. Its massive towers can be seen throughout a good part of the New York metropolitan area, including from spots in all five boroughs of New York City and in New Jersey.

Distinguished bridge engineer Milton Brumer ’23 was chief engineer in charge of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world (4,260 ft.) in 1965.

He also built the Throgs Neck Bridge and the George Washington Bridge in New York, and was chief engineer of the suspension for the Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia.

For over 40 years he held prime responsibility for major engineering projects throughout the world. A leading contributor to the development of high-speed turnpike design and construction, Brumer was engineer and tunnel designer of the seven original tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

While known mostly for his work on bridges and turnpikes, Brumer (a member of the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame) was associated with many outstanding projects, including serving as chief engineer and consultant on a variety of harbor facilities.

Brumer joined the consulting firm of Ammann and Whitney, premier bridge building company, in 1944. He was made partner in 1949, and became president in 1965.

As Rensselaer approaches its 200th year, the Institute is highlighting important milestones of how the world has been transformed by the achievements of Rensselaer people—past and present. Inside Rensselaer is showcasing some of the remarkable achievements and anniversaries throughout the year, including notable milestones and alumni and alumnae accomplishments.