L: Brooklyn Bridge opening invitation; R: the bridge in 1954

The Brooklyn Bridge wasn't always so precious to New Yorkers, in fact, Ephemeral NY points out that back when it was called the “East River Bridge Project,”, the public opinion was that the structure would take away from New York Harbor's beauty.

At the time, the New York Mirror stated: ”The mischief that would ensue, according to our view of the subject, from the erection of a bridge, would be little less than infinite. To allow a merchant ship to pass under it without striking her topmasts, it would be necessary to elevate it to not less than one hundred feet above the water ... Who would mount over such a structure, when a passage could be effected in a much shorter time, and that, too, without exertion or trouble, in a safe and well-sheltered steamboat?”

After it was built, the NY Times recalled in an article penned in 1912 that it was at one time viewed as "absurd and ruinous," and turned those sentiments around, calling "the views of some of the New York worthies ... ludicrous." Here's some more history on the opening, including an unfortunate trampling tragedy that occurred around that time.