Five-Day Celebration to Feature Special Bridge Lighting, Film Series, Concerts, Lectures, Bike Tour, Children’s Readings and Other Family-Friendly Cultural Events

New York City (May 12, 2008) Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz today announced plans for a five-day celebration in honor of the 125th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge. The celebration, taking place from May 22 through May 26, will feature an array of fun and family-friendly cultural events in Brooklyn and Manhattan, commemorating the historic structure and highlighting the cultural diversity of the boroughs it unites. The Brooklyn Bridge 125th Birthday Celebration will feature a special Bridge lighting, concerts, a film series, lectures, children’s readings, dance performances and a bike tour, as well as several other weekend events.

"The Brooklyn Bridge is not only one of the great engineering marvels of all time, it is also a beautiful symbol of New York that is recognized around the world," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The wonderfully diverse events are representative of the iconic Bridge that has connected the people of Brooklyn and Manhattan for generations. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this legendary icon that has done so much for our City."

"The Brooklyn Bridge made a big, bold statement right from the start," said Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz. "In 1883, it was opened with the goal of joining the two largest municipalities in the nation at the time, New York City and the City of Brooklyn—and its glittering span of steel, stone, wood and light continues to symbolize the bond that links our fortunes forever. Today, hundreds of thousands of tourists cross the Brooklyn Bridge each year to get a taste of the 'Brooklyn Renaissance.' We wish the Brooklyn Bridge a happy birthday—in every one of Brooklyn's 136 languages. At 125 years young, she is as vital and majestic as ever!"

In the spirit of "The People's Day" celebration held on the occasion of the Bridge's opening in 1883, this fest will kick off with a public birthday party on Thursday, May 22 at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, featuring live music by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The evening will feature a Grucci Fireworks presentation and an unprecedented light installation featuring a colorful array spanning the length of the Brooklyn Bridge, illuminating the New York City skyline each evening from 9pm to 11pm from May 22 through Memorial Day.

"As one of the most iconic landmarks in this great City, the Brooklyn Bridge connects present-day New York with the beginning days of its modernization," said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. "This month's celebrations will pay tribute to the role the Bridge has played in New York City's history and the timeless appeal that it continues to hold among New Yorkers and visitors alike."

A weekend of cultural programs in honor of the Brooklyn Bridge 125th Birthday Celebration continues with a Brooklyn Bridge Film Series, a bicycle Tour de Brooklyn, enlightening lectures, guided tours and more. Some of the featured events include:

  • The Brooklyn Bridge film series: The series will take place at several venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan and will kick off at 6pm on Friday, May 23 at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park with Enchanted and It Happened in Brooklyn, with the support of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Both feature films will be preceded by Panorama from the Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan, two historical shorts with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton. Across the Bridge on Friday night at 7pm, Tribeca Cinemas will feature Mo’ Better Blues, while the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will host a viewing of the 1980 Ken Burns documentary Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday, May 24 at 4:30pm.
  • Lectures and readings: The Brooklyn Historical Society and Manhattan’s Surrogate’s Court will host a series of lectures and children’s readings throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday starting at 1pm. Sponsored by several New York City cultural institutions—including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Brooklyn Book Festival, the Roebling Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archaeology (RCSIA) and the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—the lectures will explore the history of the Brooklyn Bridge and the genius behind its design.
  • New pedestrian entrance: To prepare for its birthday bash, the Brooklyn pedestrian entrance will get a makeover from the DUMBO Business Improvement District, including newly designed signage and energy-efficient lighting.
  • Telectroscope connection: The Telectroscope will be on the Fulton Ferry Pier allowing people in London—3,500 miles away—to help fete the Bridge, thanks to Tiscali UK and the Garfield Weston Foundation.
  • Tours: Volunteers with the American Society of Civil Engineers and RCSIA will provide information about the Bridge. They will be located on the Bridge from 10am to 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Several guided tours will also be given.
  • Bike “Tour de Brooklyn”: On the morning of Sunday, May 25, the Tour de Brooklyn bike ride will lead hundreds of bicyclists around several of Brooklyn’s diverse neighborhoods.
  • Various special events: Dozens of participating cultural institutions and attractions throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan will also offer special rates, programs and packages to commemorate this milestone anniversary.

Major sponsors of the Brooklyn Bridge 125th Birthday Celebration include General Contractors Association of New York, Inc., National Grid, Forest City Ratner, Target, as well as Empire Blue Cross, Verizon, Astoria Bank, Citi, Warner Bros. and Sovereign Bank. For more information, visit or call 311.

About NYC & Company
NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide.


Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine
tel 212 788 2958

Mark Zustovich (Brooklyn BP)
tel 718 802 3830

Tiffany Townsend
NYC & Company
tel 212 484 1270