New Yorkers, who seem to be always celebrating something, recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn bridge. Yankee fans boycotted the ceremony because allegedly they thought that building the bridge was what led to the discovery of Brooklyn.
This isn't exactly true. Brooklyn already was in existence. And if Brooklyn hadn't existed someone would have invented it. The main reason the bridge was built was not so people could get into Manhattan; it was built so people could get out.
Mayor Koch has described the bridge as the eighth wonder of the world. Anything that has withstood New York traffic for 100 years should be rated right up there with the pyramids. The feat seems all the greater when one considers that, unlike almost everything else today, it was built with American steel.
American ''public relations'' also rates as one of the wonders of the world. For evidence of this, the mention of the Brooklyn bridge never brings to mind the name of John Roebling, the man who built it, but of Steve Brody, who claimed to have jumped off it. Which he probably didn't. The only thing in those days that rivaled the size of the Brooklyn bridge was Steve Brody's mouth.
The size of the bridge is, and was, impressive. At the time it was built it was the tallest thing in the city, including Brooklyn. It also had the reputation of being sold more than any other piece of real estate to naive immigrants with a few dollars to spend. Even Boss Tweed sold his shares to some artless person because he believed the bridge would never be finished. He thought he was getting rid of some worthless stock.
But after about 14 years the bridge was finished and it began to make money charging a 1-cent toll for people walking across. It was the same price for a pig. Evidently 1-cent was also considered pretty big in those days.