051208brooklynbridge.jpgBrooklyn Bridge circa 1896.

The 125th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge will be observed this month with a five day celebration from May 22nd through May 26th, Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz announced earlier this week. Completed in 1883, the bridge opened with a “People’s Day” celebration; for a penny toll the general public was permitted to traverse its span. (A few days later, on Memorial Day, 12 pedestrians were trampled to death when the crowd believed the bridge was collapsing and panicked.)

The 2008 celebration will begin with a public birthday party on Thursday, May 22nd at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park DUMBO, featuring live music by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Grucci fireworks, and the unveiling of special bridge lighting that will illuminate the bridge from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Memorial Day. It doesn't look like the Brooklyn Bridge waterfall will be ready in time for the festivities.

A new pedestrian entrance in DUMBO, with better signage and energy efficient lighting, will be opened to coincide with the anniversary. On Fulton Ferry Pier, the Telectroscope will let Londoners join the party, and on Sunday the 25th the Tour de Brooklyn bike ride will lead hundreds of bicyclists through Brooklyn and over the bridge. More details, including information about guided tours and lectures, here.