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East River crossing © World History Archive/Alamy
Imagine if you still had to take a boat to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Until the Brooklyn Bridge opened on this day in 1883, the only way to get across the East River was to board a watercraft. At the time of its construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge. It was originally called both the East River Bridge and the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, but the name ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ is the one that stuck.