While there is no formal event planned to commemorate the occasion, today marks the 60th Anniversary of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel—which links Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and sees around 44,000 vehicles on a daily basis. These photos come from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive, and the MTA gave us a little history lesson on the project:
Designed by renowned engineer Ole Singstad, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in North America, measuring 1.7 miles long between portals. The tunnels’ two tubes running under the East River connect Lower Manhattan to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.
The idea to build a tunnel from south Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan first surfaced in the late 1920s, but if Robert Moses had his way there wouldn’t have been a tunnel at all. Moses originally wanted to build a bridge in the area but the idea was dismissed after First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt objected, saying a bridge would ruin views and destroy parkland.
The New York City Tunnel Authority finally began construction on the tunnel in October 1940 but the federal government ordered the project halted in October 1942 because of the need for steel, iron and other construction materials during World War II. Work resumed in 1945, when the Triborough Bridge Authority took over the project under Robert Moses, who dismissed designer Ole Singstad and put engineer Ralph Smillie in charge for the duration of the job.
13 million hours of labor later (seriously) the job was done, and drivers were paying the original toll of 35 cents to pass through (it's now $5.50!).