Ailanthus- YN-57 - History

Ailanthus- YN-57 - History

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Any of several small Asiatic trees characterized by bitter bark pinnate leaves, and clusters of ill-scented greenish flowers.

(YN-57: dp. 1,190 (f.), 1. 194'6 1/2"; b. 34'7"; dr. 11'8 1/2"; s. 17 k.;cl. Ailanthus)

Ailanthus (YN-57) was Iaid down on 17 November 1942 at Everett, Wash., by the Everett Pacific Co., launched on 20 May 1943; sponsored by Miss Billie Jean McNatt and placed in commission at Seattle, Wash., on 2 December 1943, Lt. Donald B. Howard, USNR, in command.

The net tender completed fitting out and, during the second half of December, conducted shakedown training. On the last day of 1943, she reported for duty in the 13th Naval District. On 20 January 1944, she was reclassified a net laving ship and redesignated AN-38. Early in February, Ailanthus moved north to Pleasant Island, Alaska, where she arrived on 4 February. Reassigned that same day to Service Squadron 6, Pacific Fleet, she began to carry out net laying duties. However, her career proved very brief. On 26 February 1944, she ran hard aground and suffered extensive damage. While still stranded, Ailanthus was reassigned to the newly constituted 17th Naval District (the Alaskan portion of the old 13th Naval District to which she had originally been assigned). Finally, she was declared a total loss, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 9 June 1944.

Sunday Ship History: Net Tenders

Why does that ship have horns on its bow?

How do you defend ports, harbors and the ships that are contained therein from submarines and torpedoes? Once answer was the development of anti-torpedo nets:

Efforts to block the entrances to harbors against surface vessels date back to the earliest times. The appearance of the high-powered, steel-hulled surface vessel, the submarine, and the torpedo have made the present-day problem of protecting ships at anchor increasingly difficult. The problem has evolved into one of defense against torpedoes. This defense is accomplished in two ways: by preventing the vessel carrying the torpedo from approaching within firing range, or by stopping the torpedo itself.
To protect ships at anchor in a harbor either (1) the harbor must be blocked off or (2) each ship must be protected individually. During World War II merely blocking off the harbor did not, in itself, give sufficient protection, because of the torpedo-carrying aircraft. Therefore, valuable ships and floating dry docks may be surrounded by a variation of the Type T net called an ISP (Individual Ship Protection) net.

The above quote is from an interesting site Gene Slovers' US Navy Pages at which Mr. Slovers seems to have copied old Naval Academy texts. The illustrations to the left are from one of these texts, NAVAL ORDNANCE AND GUNNERY VOLUME 1, NAVAL ORDNANCE, CHAPTER 14

Well, all well and good, but how do you get the nets out there to do their job to begin with? The answer lies in a group of ships devoted to net laying, transportation and maintaining- net tenders (there were also Net Cargo Ships, but today we focus on the net tenders). A little background:

Net Laying was usually done by:
1. Net Tender Ships only.
2. Net Tenders assisted by other ships such as Net Cargo Ships, Tugs, Landing Craft (LCM's) or barges.

This was usually done when the following 3 circumstances were combined.
(a) Appreciable distance from Net Depot to point of Installation.
(b) Cold, foul weather where it was especially undesirable to work in small boats with Net Tender.
(c) A situation calling for the installation of a short piece of net in an out of the way place.

Where were nets used? Among other places, San Francisco Bay, where the nets came from the Naval
Net Station, Tiburon, California:

Local people still often call it "The Net Depot" much to the discomfort of the current owners. San Francisco Bay was one big Navy base as World War II loomed closer. It would have been wide open to Japanese submarines except for an anti-submarine net constructed at the Tiburon base and stretched across the Golden Gate. This seven mile long net was in place on December 7, 1941. The personnel of the Net Depot not only constructed over 100,000 tons of anti-submarine netting during the war but trained the sailors in the installation and handling of these nets which protected the harbors up and down the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and across the Pacific as well. The huge gantries left over from the coaling station were perfect for handling the giant nets.

After the war the nets were recovered and returned to Tiburon for storage in case of future need. Eventually, they were salvaged, the nets went to scrap dealers, the massive concrete anchors became bulkheads for shoreline protection at the depot and what is now Paradise Park, and many of the huge floats became beehives around California. The gantries were removed, leaving only the tracks on which they ran and a concrete trestle down the center of the base.

The ship departed Seattle on 17 May for a brief visit to San Francisco until 1 June when she got underway for the southwestern Pacific. After escorting SS Eldridge Gerry across the ocean, Butternut arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia, on 27 June. For 18 months, she tended nets in the southwestern Pacific, first at New Caledonia, later in the New Hebrides, and then in the Solomons. Her active service was interrupted only by two repair periods--August and September of 1943 at Port Chalmers, New Zealand, and November 1943 to February 1944 at Pearl Harbor. During her overhaul at Pearl Harbor, Butternut was reclassified a net laying ship and was redesignated AN-9. In January 1945, the ship steamed from the Solomons via Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, to Leyte in the Philippines. She spent the ensuing two years engaged in net and other district craft operations in the waters adjacent to the islands of Leyte and Samar.

Butternut departed Leyte Gulf in convoy on 24 February 1947 and shaped a course for the Marianas. She arrived at Guam on 9 March and began three years of service in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. Based at Apra Harbor on Guam, she carried passengers and cargo among the islands as well as laying and tending nets at various islands. The ship also performed several assignments off Iwo Jima laying mooring buoys and assisting in the recovery, repair and replacement of submarine lines. Butternut departed Guam on 19 June 1950 for repairs at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. The net laying ship completed repairs and put to sea on 15 September. Steaming via Guam and Iwo Jima, she arrived in Sasebo, Japan, on 28 October. The ship conducted operations at Sasebo and Yokosuka until 7 July 1951 when she set sail for Guam to resume her former duties in the Trust Territories.

"On Woody Island, Northeast of St. Paul's Harbor, are located Magnetic Loop and Harbor detection equipment, net depot, and nets for anti-submarine detection and the C.A.A. (Civil Aeronautic Authority) Range Station for air traffic.

In October, 1942, a heavy indicator net for surface and under surface vessels consisting of 200' panels, was stretched from Woody Island to Shahafka Cove. If a 200' section of this net was carried away, the net vessel, equipped with depth charges, went into action. This net was approximately 1500 yards long with a 600' gate in the ship channel. It was opened and shut by two YP boats, one of which was on duty at all times. Equipped with anti-aircraft guns and radio these YP boats signaled the approach of all aircraft to Woody Island signalman, who relayed this information to the aircraft clearance tower on the base.

In November, 1943, anti-torpedo nets, 30' deep, for protection against the torpedo rather than the submarine, were substituted for the heavier nets installed in October, 1942.

In December, 1942, magnetic loop stations were installed at the entrance of the channel leading to Kodiak and at St. Paul's harbor.

Oh, yes, the net tenders were armed- a 3" gun, 3- 20mm guns and depth charge firing Y guns. And those horns? Look at the picture nearby to see how they were used in net work.

In addition to their net tending duties, these hearty little ships were used for salvage, cargo and other useful activities.

In addition to WWII service, many of these ships also served during the Korean War and a few served nearly 40 years.

One ship was lost when it hit a mine and others were damaged in storms. But all served faithfully and well, as did their crews.

And a special note of thanks to all the old net tander sailors who have shared their memories online and to
Robert (Bob) Cooper,Sr.. who maintains the site for USS Mulberry (AN- 27).


Originally ordered on 30 September 1941 as Yard Net Tenders ("YN"), the first twenty ships (YN 57-76) were to be constructed for the British under Lend-Lease, while a further twenty (YN 77-96) were for the United States. However, after a major redistribution of small combatant contracts, this order was canceled. Finally in May 1942 contracts for twenty vessels were awarded, with orders for YN 57-66 going to the Everett-Pacific Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company of Everett, Washington, and for YN 67-76 to the Pollock-Stockton Shipbuilding Company of Stockton, California.

In July, 14 more ships were ordered from four shipyards four (YN 77-80) from the Barbour Boat Works in New Bern, North Carolina, five (YN 81-84 and 86) from Snow Shipyards Inc. in Rockland, Maine, one (YN-85) from the Canuelette Shipbuilding Company of Slidell, Louisiana, and four (YN 87-90) from the American Car and Foundry Company of St. Charles, Missouri.

Finally, in September, the final batch of six ships (YN 91-96) was ordered from the Canuelette Company. On 19 February 1943, after a review of requirements, the first twenty ships were reallocated to the United States. In January 1944 the ships were reclassified as Auxiliary Net Layers, redesignated "AN" and renumbered. Ultimately the British allocation was reduced to five vessels (AN 73-77), and in British service, they were called Boom Defence Vessels. On 9 August 1944 five of the ships that were still at their yards were ordered to be converted to Auxiliary Fleet Tugs, and AN-64, 65, and 70-72 were reclassified as ATA 214-218 on 12 August 1944. [1]

In the original design, in addition to the 3-inch gun mounted forward of the bridge, there were two single 20 mm guns mounted on top of the bridge. In September 1944, as a trial, a third 20 mm gun was installed on a small elevated platform mounted on a pedestal between the bridge and the smokestack on Terebinth (AN-59), but it was found that the arc of fire was restricted, that the platform was too hot to permit the storage of ready ammunition, and that the gun crew became ill from engine fumes. Instead, two additional single 20 mm guns were installed at the after end of the deckhouse on AN 39-63 and 66-69. In April 1945 the four single mounts were ordered to be replaced with four twin mounts, but this change does not seem to have been made. [1]

Two ships of the class were lost during the war

  • USS Ailanthus (AN-38), was wrecked barely a month after commissioning, running aground in the Aleutians on 26 February 1944, and was declared a total loss on 14 March 1944. [2]
  • USS Snowbell (AN-52), was driven hard aground when Typhoon Louise hit Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 9 October 1945 and was declared beyond repair. The wreck was blown up in January 1946. [3]

In early 1946 six of the ships, Cliffrose (AN-42), Cinnamon (AN-50), Silverbell (AN-51), Torchwood (AN-55), Catclaw (AN-60), and Shellbark (AN-67), were transferred to the Republic of China's Maritime Customs Service at Shanghai, while the remainder were disposed of in 1947 in a Maritime Commission sales program for small vessels. [1]


Bank of New York Edit

The first bank in the U.S. was the Bank of North America in Philadelphia, which was chartered by the Continental Congress in 1781 Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were among its founding shareholders. [7] In February 1784, The Massachusetts Bank in Boston was chartered. [7]

The shipping industry in New York City chafed under the lack of a bank, and investors envied the 14% dividends that Bank of North America paid, and months of local discussion culminated in a June 1784 meeting at a coffee house on St. George's Square which led to the formation of the Bank of New York company it operated without a charter for seven years. The initial plan was to capitalize the company with $750,000, a third in cash and the rest in mortgages, but after this was disputed the first offering was to capitalize it with $500,000 in gold or silver. When the bank opened on June 9, 1784, the full $500,000 had not been raised 723 shares had been sold, held by 192 people. Aaron Burr had three of them, and Hamilton had one and a half shares. The first president was Alexander McDougall and the Cashier was William Seton. [8] [9] [10] [11]

Its first offices were in the old Walton Mansion in New York City. [2] [8] [9] In 1787, it moved to a site on Hanover Square that the New York Cotton Exchange later moved into. [8]

The bank provided the United States government its first loan in 1789. The loan was orchestrated by Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury, and it paid the salaries of United States Congress members and President George Washington. [12]

The Bank of New York was the first company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange when it first opened in 1792. [13] In 1796, the bank moved to a location at the corner of Wall Street and William Street, which would later become 48 Wall Street. [8] [14]

The bank had a monopoly on banking services in the city until the Bank of the Manhattan Company was founded by Aaron Burr in 1799 the Bank of New York and Hamilton vigorously opposed its founding. [8]

During the 1800s, the bank was known for its conservative lending practices that allowed it to weather financial crises. It was involved in the funding of the Morris and Erie canals, and steamboat companies. [15] [16] The bank helped finance both the War of 1812 and the Union Army during the American Civil War. [17] [18] Following the Civil War, the bank loaned money to many major infrastructure projects, including utilities, railroads, and the New York City Subway. [15]

Through the early 1900s, the Bank of New York continued to expand and prosper. [16] [18] In July 1922, the bank merged with the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company. [19] The bank continued to profit and pay dividends throughout the Great Depression, and its total deposits increased during the decade. [16] [18] In 1948, the Bank again merged, this time with the Fifth Avenue Bank, which was followed by a merger in 1966 with the Empire Trust Company. [15] [18] The bank's holding company was created in 1969. [15]

In 1988, the Bank of New York merged with Irving Bank Corporation after a year-long hostile take over bid by Bank of New York. [20] Irving had been headquartered at 1 Wall Street and after the merger, this became the headquarters of the Bank of New York. [21] In 1922, Irving Trust opened an account with Vnesheconombank, now known as VEB, and beginning on October 7, 1988, when the merger was approved, the Bank of New York was able to conduct transactions with the Soviet Union and later in 1991 Russia. [22] Natasha Kagalovsky (née Gurfinkel) with the pseudonym Gurova, who had been an employee at Irving Trust since 1986 and was in charge of the banking with the Soviet Union, became a senior vice president at the Bank of New York heading the Eastern European operations from 1992 until October 13, 1999, when she resigned. [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [a]

From 1993 to 1998, the bank made 33 acquisitions, including acquiring JP Morgan's Global Custody Business in 1995. [18] Ivy Asset Management was acquired in 2000, and the bank acquired Pershing LLC, the United States' second-largest trade clearinghouse, in 2003. [18] [29]

In the 1990s, Vladimir Kirillovich Golitsyn or "Mickey" Galitzine (Russian: Владимир Кириллович Голицын 1942-2018, born Belgrade) with the pseudonym Vladimirov, whose father was a director of the Tolstoy Foundation, established and headed the Eastern European Department at the Bank of New York until 1992 and hired many Russians. He mentored many new bankers in Hungary, the former East Germany, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria and travelled extensively to capital cities in the former Soviet Union or the CIS to assist new bankers especially in Russia to where he travelled for his first time in 1990, Ukraine, Latvia, Georgia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. In 1960, he joined the Bank of New York and worked as an accountant in its International Department but later headed the Russia team as a vice president of the bank. His wife Tatiana Vladimirovna Kazimirova (Russian: Татьяна Владимировна Казимирова b. 1943, Berlin), an employee at the Bank of New York whom he married in 1963, worked very closely with him. He traveled for his first time to Russia in 1990. He worked closely with banks in Greece, Malta, and Italy and was an expert in cotton, gold, silver, and other raw materials financing. [23] [27] [30] [31] [32]

Bank of New York had correspondent accounts for several Russian banks including Inkombank (Russian: Инкомбанк ), Menatep (Russian: «Менатеп» ), Tokobank (Russian: Токобанк ), Tveruniversalbank (Russian: Тверьуниверсалбанк ), Alfa-Bank (Russian: Альфа-банк ), Sobinbank (Russian: Собинбанк ), Moscow International Bank (Russian: Московский международный банк ) and others. [33] [34]

In 2005, the bank settled a US federal investigation that began in 1996 concerning money laundering related to post-Soviet privatization in Russia. The illegal operation involved two Russian emigres, Peter Berlin and his wife Lyudmila "Lucy" (née Pritzker) Edwards who was a Vice President of the bank and worked at its London office, moving over US$7 billion via hundreds of wires. [25] [27] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] Through accounts created by Peter Berlin for Alexei Volkov's Torfinex Corportion, Bees Lowland, which was an offshore shell company created by Peter Berlin, and Benex International Company Inc, numerous irregular wire transfers occurred at the Bank of New York. [27] In October 1997 at Bologna, Joseph Roisis, also spelled Yosif Aronovizh Roizis and nicknamed Cannibal as a member of Russian mafia's Solntsevskaya Bratva with businesses in Czechoslovakia, explained to Italian prosecutors that 90% of the money flowing through Benex accounts at the Bank of New York is Russian mafia money. [25] [28] [b] Alexei Volkov was charged in the United States but fled to Russia which has no extradition treaty with the United States and later the charges were dropped. [24] Svetlana Kudryavtsev, a Bank of New York employee that was responsible for the proper operation of the Benex accounts in New York which had ties to Semion Mogilevich and through which passed $4.2 billion from October 1998 to March 1999, refused to cooperate and resigned during an internal audit of the matter but was later indicted by the FBI for her role in which she received $500 a month from Edwards for her services. [41] [42] [43] [c] Alexander Mamut's Sobinbank, which since August 2010 is a subsidiary of Rossiya Bank, was raided on October 10, 1999, in support of United States investigations into money laundering at the Bank of New York. [47] Edmond Safra of the bank Republic New York, which is a longtime rival of the Bank of New York, alerted the FBI to the money laundering scheme which also involved Russian banks including Sobinbank and the Depozitarno-Kliringovy Bank or the Russian Deposit Clearinghouse Bank (Russian: российский «Депозитарно-клиринговый банк» («ДКБ») ) which was created by Peter Berlin and had the same address as the Bees Lowland offshore shell company. [25] [26] [48] $3 billion went from both Russian DKB and Sobinbank accounts through the Igor and Oleg Berezovsky owned Italian firm Prima based in Rimini and, through Andrei Marisov at the Grigory Luchansky associated French firm Kama Trade which had accounts with the Société bancaire arabe (SBA) to accounts at the Peter Berlin created Sinex Bank in Nauru. [25] [26] [49] [d] [e]

In 2006, the Bank of New York traded its retail banking and regional middle-market businesses for J.P. Morgan Chase's corporate trust assets. The deal signaled the bank's exit from retail banking. [56]

Mellon Financial Edit

Mellon Financial was founded as T. Mellon & Sons' Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1869 by retired judge Thomas Mellon and his sons Andrew W. Mellon and Richard B. Mellon. [57] The bank invested in and helped found numerous industrial firms in the late 1800s and early 1900s including Alcoa, Westinghouse, Gulf Oil, General Motors and Bethlehem Steel. [58] [59] Both Gulf Oil and Alcoa are, according to the financial media, considered to be T. Mellon & Sons' most successful financial investments. [58] [59]

In 1902, T. Mellon & Sons' name was changed to the Mellon National Bank. [58] The firm merged with the Union Trust Company, a business founded by Andrew Mellon, in 1946. The newly formed organization resulting from the merger was named the Mellon National Bank and Trust Company, and was Pittsburgh's first US$1 billion bank. [60]

The bank formed the first dedicated family office in the United States in 1971. [61] A reorganization in 1972 led to the bank's name changing to Mellon Bank, N.A. and the formation of a holding company, Mellon National Corporation. [57] [58]

Mellon Bank acquired multiple banks and financial institutions in Pennsylvania during the 1980s and 1990s. [62] In 1992, Mellon acquired 54 branch offices of Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, the first savings bank in the United States, founded in 1819. [63]

In 1993, Mellon acquired The Boston Company from American Express and AFCO Credit Corporation from The Continental Corporation. The following year, Mellon merged with the Dreyfus Corporation, bringing its mutual funds under its umbrella. [58] In 1999, Mellon Bank Corporation became Mellon Financial Corporation. Two years later, it exited the retail banking business by selling its assets and retail bank branches to Citizens Financial Group. [58]

Merger Edit

On December 4, 2006, the Bank of New York and Mellon Financial Corporation announced they would merge. [64] The merger created the world's largest securities servicing company and one of the largest asset management firms by combining Mellon's wealth-management business and the Bank of New York's asset-servicing and short-term-lending specialties. [2] [64] The companies anticipated saving about $700 million in costs and cutting around 3,900 jobs, mostly by attrition. [2]

The deal was valued at $16.5 billion and under its terms, the Bank of New York's shareholders received 0.9434 shares in the new company for each share of the Bank of New York that they owned, while Mellon Financial shareholders received 1 share in the new company for each Mellon share they owned. [17] The Bank of New York and Mellon Financial entered into mutual stock option agreements for 19.9 percent of the issuer's outstanding common stock. [64] The merger was finalized on July 1, 2007. [4] The company's principal office of business at the One Wall Street office previously held by the Bank of New York. [3] The full name of the company became The Bank of New York Mellon Corp., with the BNY Mellon brand name being used for most lines of business. [3] [4]

Post-merger history Edit

In October 2008, the U.S. Treasury named BNY Mellon the master custodian of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout fund during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2010. BNY Mellon won the assignment, which included handling accounting and record-keeping for the program, through a bidding process. [65] In November 2008, the company announced that it would lay-off 1,800 employees, or 4 percent of its global workforce, due to the financial crisis. [66] According to the results of a February 2009 stress test conducted by federal regulators, BNY Mellon was one of only three banks that could withstand a worsening economic situation. [67] The company received $3 billion from TARP, which it paid back in full in June 2009, along with US$136 million to buy back warrants from the Treasury in August 2009. [68] [69]

In August 2009, BNY Mellon purchased Insight Investment, a management business for external funds, from Lloyds Banking Group. [70] [71] The company acquired PNC Financial Services' Global Investment Servicing Inc. in July 2010 and Talon Asset Management's wealth management business in 2011. [72] [73]

By 2013, the company's capital had steadily risen from the financial crisis. In the results of the Federal Reserve's Dodd-Frank stress test in 2013, the bank was least affected by hypothetical extreme economic scenarios among banks tested. [74] It was also a top performer on the same test in 2014. [75]

BNY Mellon began a marketing campaign in 2013 to increase awareness of the company that included a new slogan and logo. [76] [77]

In 2013, the bank started building a new IT system called NEXEN. [78] [79] NEXEN uses open source technology and includes components such as an API store, data analytics, and a cloud computing environment. [80] [81]

In May 2014, BNY Mellon sold its 1 Wall Street headquarters, [82] and in 2015, moved into leased space at Brookfield Place. [83] In June 2014, the company combined its global markets, global collateral services and prime services to create the new Markets Group, [84] also known as BNY Markets Mellon. [85] The company expanded its Hong Kong office in October 2014 as part of the company's plans to grow its wealth management business. [86]

Between 2014 and 2016, BNY Mellon opened innovation centers focused on emerging technologies, big data, digital and cloud-based projects, with the first opening in Silicon Valley. [87] [88] [89]

In September 2017, BNY Mellon announced that it agreed to sell CenterSquare Investment Management to its management team and the private equity firm Lovell Minnick Partners. The transaction is subject to standard regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. [90]

In January 2018, BNY Mellon announced that it was again moving its headquarters location, less than four years after its prior move. The headquarters location was announced as 240 Greenwich Street, a renaming of the already BNY Mellon-owned 101 Barclay Street office building in Tribeca, New York City. [91] [92] BNY Mellon had owned the office building for over 30 years, with control of the location obtained via 99-year ground lease. The same year, the company purchased the location from the city for $352 million. [93]

The following graphs represent the net income and assets and liabilities for the years 2000 to 2016 for the Bank of New York Mellon, the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation's New York state-chartered bank and an FDIC-insured depository institution.

Assets and Liabilities 2000–2016 [94] [95]

Assets/Liabilities Ratio (%) 2000–2016 [94] [95]

Net Income 2000–2016 (in millions) [94] [95]

BNY Mellon operates in 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific. [96] [97] The company employed 51,300 people as of December 2018. [1] In October 2015, the group's American and global headquarters relocated to 225 Liberty Street, as the former 1 Wall Street building was sold in 2014. [83] In July 2018, the company changed its headquarters again, this time to its existing 240 Greenwich Street location in New York (previously addressed 101 Barclay St). [98] The group's EMEA headquarters are located in London and its Asia-Pacific headquarters are located in Hong Kong. [99] [100]

Business Edit

The bank's primary functions are managing and servicing the investments of institutions and high-net-worth individuals. [13] Its two primary businesses are Investment Services and Investment Management, [101] which offer services for each stage of investment, from creation through to trading, holding, management, distribution and restructuring. [102] [103] The bank's clients include 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. [104] The company also serves 77 percent of the top 100 endowments, 87 percent of the top 1,000 pension and employee benefit funds, 51 percent of the top 200 life and health insurance companies and 50 percent of the top 50 universities. [105]

Investment Services Edit

The bank's Investment Services business represents approximately 72 percent of the company's revenue [106] and it has $31.1 trillion under its custody or administration as of September 2016. [107] The financial services offered by the business include asset servicing, alternative investment services, broker-dealer services, corporate trust services and treasury services. [97] [101] Other offerings include global collateral services, foreign exchange, securities lending, middle and back office outsourcing, and depository receipts. [97] [101]

The company's subsidiary Pershing LLC handles securities services, including execution, settlement, and clearing. It also provides back office support to financial advisors. [108] [109]

In 2014, the company formed a new Markets Group, which offers collateral management, securities finance, foreign exchange and capital markets. [84] The group is now known as BNY Mellon Markets. [85]

Investment Management Edit

BNY Mellon's Investment Management business generates 28 percent of the company's revenue [106] and had US$1.7 trillion (Q4 2016) in assets under management. [110] [71] [111] It operates several asset management boutiques and as of 2014 was the largest multi-boutique investment manager in the world. [103] [112]

BNY Mellon's Wealth Management unit handles the private banking, estate planning, family office services, and investment servicing and management of high-net-worth individuals and families. [97] [113] As of 2014, it ranks 7th among wealth management businesses in the United States. Starting in 2013, the unit began expansion efforts, including opening eight new banking offices, increasing salespeople, bankers, and portfolio managers on staff, and launching an awareness campaign for wealth management services through television ads. [113]

Leadership Edit

Charles W. Scharf was appointed CEO in July 2017 and became Chairman after former CEO and Chairman Gerald Hassell retired at the end of 2017. [114] [115] Hassell had been Chairman and CEO since 2011, after serving as BNY Mellon's president from 2007 to 2012 [115] and as the president of the Bank of New York from 1998 until its merger. Scharf stepped down in 2019 to become the new CEO of Wells Fargo. Thomas "Todd" Gibbons took over as the new CEO in 2020. [116]

Karen Peetz served as president (the bank's first female president) from 2013 to 2016, when she retired the company did not appoint a new president when she retired. [117] [118] Thomas Gibbons served as CFO between 2008 and 2017, when he also serves as vice chairman. [119] In 2017, Gibbons was replaced as CFO by Michael P. Santomassimo. [120] [121] BNY Mellon's Investment Management business is run by CEO Mitchell Harris, [122] and the company's Investment Services business was led by Brian Shea [123] until his retirement in December 2017. [124]

As of July 2017, the company's board members were Linda Z. Cook, Nicholas M. Donofrio, Joseph J. Echevarria, Edward P. Garden, Jeffrey A. Goldstein, Gerald L. Hassell, John M. Hinshaw, Edmund F. (Ted) Kelly, John A. Luke Jr., Jennifer Morgan, Mark A. Nordenberg, Elizabeth E. Robinson, Charles W. Scharf and Samuel C. Scott III. [125]

Company culture Edit

In 2008, BNY Mellon formed a Board of Directors corporate social responsibility committee to set sustainability goals. [126] [127] The company's corporate social responsibility activities include philanthropy, social finance in the communities the bank is located in, and protecting financial markets globally. [128]

The bank's philanthropic activities include financial donations and volunteerism. [129] The company matches employee volunteer hours and donations with financial contributions through its Community Partnership program. [130] Between 2010 and 2012, the company and its employees donated approximately $100 million to charity. [129] In 2014, the company worked with the Forbes Fund to create a platform that connects nonprofit organizations with private businesses to solve social challenges. [131]

The company received a 100 A rating in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by the CDP, which measures corporate greenhouse gas emissions and disclosures. [127] [132] [133] BNY Mellon was named on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index in 2013, [134] 2014 and 2015, and the World Index in 2014, [135] 2015 [136] and 2016. [137] Another one of the company's focuses has been building efficiency. As of 2014, the company has saved $48 million due to building efficiency. Five of its buildings have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED-EB) certification and 23 have interiors that are LEED certified. [127]

The company has business resource groups for employees that are focused on diversity and inclusion. [128] [138] In 2009, Karen Peetz co-founded the BNY Mellon Women's Initiative Network (WIN), a resource group for female employees' professional development. [139] As of 2013, WIN had 50 chapters. [140] Other groups include PRISM for LGBT employees, IMPACT, which serves multicultural employees and HEART for employees with disabilities. [138] The bank has services for returning military, including a tool to help veterans align military skills and training with jobs at the company. [141] In 2014, it was recognized for its diversity practices by the National Business Inclusion Consortium, which named it Financial Services Diversity Corporation of the Year. [142]

In 2009, the company began an innovation program for employees to suggest ideas for large-scale projects and company improvement. Ideas from the initial pilot program generated approximately $165 million in pretax profit. The program results in an annual contest called "ACE" in which teams pitch their ideas. [143]

Foreign currency exchange issues Edit

In October 2011, the U.S. Justice Department and New York's attorney general filed civil lawsuits against the Bank of New York, alleging foreign currency fraud. The suits held that the bank deceived pension-fund clients by manipulating the prices assigned to them for foreign currency transactions. Allegedly, the bank selected the day's lowest rates for currency sales and highest rates for purchases, appropriating the difference as corporate profit. The scheme was said to have generated $2 billion for the bank, at the expense of millions of Americans' retirement funds, and to have transpired over more than a decade. Purportedly, the bank would offer secret pricing deals to clients who raised concerns, in order to avoid discovery. Bank of New York defended itself vigorously, maintaining the fraud accusations were "flat out wrong" and warning that as the bank employed 8,700 employees in New York, any damage to the bank would have negative repercussions for the state of New York. [144] [145]

Finally, in March 2015, the company admitted to facts concerning the misrepresentation of foreign exchange pricing and execution. BNY Mellon's alleged misconduct in this area includes representing pricing as best rates to its clients, when in fact they were providing clients with bad prices while retaining larger margins. In addition to dismissing key executives, the company agreed to pay a total of US$714 million to settle related lawsuits. [146]

In May 2015, BNY Mellon agreed to pay $180 million to settle a foreign exchange-related lawsuit. [147]

In May 2016, multiple plaintiffs filed suit against the bank, alleging that the company had breached its fiduciary duty to ERISA plans that held American Depositary Receipts by overcharging retirement plans that invested in foreign securities. [148] In March 2017, the presiding judge declined to dismiss the suit. In December 2017, another lawsuit alleged that BNY Mellon manipulated foreign exchange rates was filed by Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund. [149] BNY Mellon agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle the 2016 lawsuit in December 2018. [150]

Personal data breach Edit

In February 2008, BNY Mellon suffered a security breach resulting in the loss of personal information when backup tapes containing the personal records of 4.5 million individuals went missing. Social security numbers and bank account information were included in the records. The breach was not reported to the authorities until May 2008, and letters were sent to those affects on May 22, 2008. [151] [152]

In August 2008, the number of affected individuals was raised to 12.5 million, 8 million more than originally thought. [153] [154]

IT system outages Edit

On Saturday, August 22, 2015, BNY Mellon's SunGard accounting system broke down during a software change. This led to the bank being unable to calculate net asset value (NAV) for 1,200 mutual funds via automated computer system. [155] Between the breakdown and the eventual fix, the bank calculated the values using alternative means, such as manual operation staff. By Wednesday, August 26, the system was still not fully operational. [156] The system was finally operational to regular capacity the following week. As a result of a Massachusetts Securities Division investigation into the company's failure and lack of a backup plan, the company paid $3 million. [157]

In December 2016, another major technology issue caused BNY Mellon to be unable to process payments related to the SWIFT network. As of the time of the issue, the bank processed about 160,000 global payments daily totally an average of $1.6 trillion. [158] The company was unable to process payments for a 19 hours, which led to a backlog of payments and an extension of Fedwire payment services. [158]

Privately owned public space agreement violation Edit

According to a New York City Comptroller audit in April 2017, BNY Mellon was in violation of a privately owned public space (POPS) agreement for at least 15 years. In constructing the 101 Barclay Street building in Lower Manhattan, BNY Mellon had received a permit allowing modification of height and setback regulations in exchange for providing a lobby accessible to the general public 24 hours a day. Auditors and members of the public had been unable to access or assess the lobby for many years, and were actively prevented from doing so by BNY Mellon security. [159] [160]

In September 2018, the company began to permit public access to a portion of the lobby. [161] However, BNY Mellon remains in violation of its agreement, as the lobby must be accessible to the public 24 hours a day. [162]

Employment legal issues Edit

BNY Mellon settled foreign bribery charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August 2015 regarding its practice of providing internships to relatives of officials at a Middle Eastern investment fund. [163] The U.S. SEC found the firm in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. [164] The case was settled for $14.8 million. [165]

In March 2019, BNY Mellon staff considered legal options after the company banned employees from working from home. [166] In particular, staff cited concerns regarding the impact on childcare, mental health, and diversity. [167] The company reverted the ban as a result of employee outcry. [168]

Other legal issues Edit

In September 2009, BNY Mellon settled a lawsuit that had been filed against the Bank of New York by the Russian government in May 2007 for money laundering the original suit claimed $22.5 billion in damages and was settled for $14 million. [169] [170]

In 2011, South Carolina sued BNY Mellon for allegedly failing to adhere to the investment guidelines relating to the state's pension fund. The company settled with the state in June 2013 for $34 million. [171] [172]

In July 2012, BNY Mellon settled a class action lawsuit relating to the collapse of Sigma Finance Corp. The suit alleged that the bank invested and lost cash collateral in medium-term notes. The company settled the lawsuit for $280 million. [173]

In December 2018, BNY Mellon agreed to pay nearly $54 million to settle charges of improper handling of "pre-released" American depositary receipts (ADRs) under investigation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). BNY Mellon did not admit or deny the investigation findings but agreed to pay disgorgement of more than $29.3 million, $4.2 million in prejudgment interest and a penalty of $20.5 million. [174] [175]

As of 2015, BNY Mellon was the world's largest custody bank, [106] [176] the sixth-largest investment management firm in the world, [177] and the seventh-largest wealth management firm in the United States. [86] In 2018, BNY Mellon ranked 175 on the Fortune 500 [178] and 250 on the Financial Times Global 500. [179] It was named one of world's 50 Safest Banks by Global Finance in 2013 and 2014, [180] [181] and one of the 20 Most Valuable Banking Brands in 2014 by The Banker. [182]

The bank says it is the longest running bank in the United States, [183] a distinction sometimes disputed by its rivals and some historians. [7] The Bank of North America was chartered in 1781, and was absorbed by a series of other entities until it was acquired by Wells Fargo. Similarly, The Massachusetts Bank went through a series of acquisitions and ended up as part of Bank of America. The Bank of New York remained independent, absorbing other companies, until its merger with Mellon. BNY Mellon is at least the third-oldest bank in the US. [7]

Since 2012, BNY Mellon has expanded its number of sponsorships. [184] BNY Mellon was the title sponsor of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race from 2012 to 2015. [184] [185] [186] The company also sponsors the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. [184] In 2013, the company became a 10-year sponsor of the San Francisco 49ers and a founding partner of Levi's Stadium. [187] The company is a regular sponsor of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. [188]


The Brooklyn Bridge, an early example of a steel-wire suspension bridge, [14] [b] uses a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge design, with both horizontal and diagonal suspender cables. [15] Its stone towers are neo-Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches. The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), which maintains the bridge, says that its original paint scheme was "Brooklyn Bridge Tan" and "Silver", although a writer for The New York Post states that it was originally entirely "Rawlins Red". [16]

Deck Edit

To provide sufficient clearance for shipping in the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge incorporates long approach viaducts on either end to raise it from low ground on both shores. [7] Including approaches, the Brooklyn Bridge is a total of 6,016 feet (1,834 m) long [2] [3] [4] when measured between the curbs at Park Row in Manhattan and Sands Street in Brooklyn. [4] A separate measurement of 5,989 feet (1,825 m) is sometimes given this is the distance from the curb at Centre Street in Manhattan. [5] [6] [7]

Suspension span Edit

The main span between the two suspension towers is 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m) long and 85 feet (26 m) wide. [5] [6] [8] The bridge "elongates and contracts between the extremes of temperature from 14 to 16 inches". [17] Navigational clearance is 127 ft (38.7 m) above mean high water (MHW). [9] A 1909 Engineering Magazine article said that, at the center of the span, the height above MHW could fluctuate by more than 9 feet (2.7 m) due to temperature and traffic loads, while more rigid spans had a lower maximum deflection. [18]

The side spans, between each suspension tower and each side's suspension anchorages, are 930 feet (280 m) long. [5] [6] At the time of construction, engineers had not yet discovered the aerodynamics of bridge construction, and bridge designs were not tested in wind tunnels. It was coincidental that the open truss structure supporting the deck is, by its nature, subject to fewer aerodynamic problems. This is because John Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge's truss system to be six to eight times as strong as he thought it needed to be. [19] [20] However, due to a supplier's fraudulent substitution of inferior-quality cable in the initial construction, the bridge was reappraised at the time as being only four times as strong as necessary. [19] [21]

The main span and side spans are supported by a structure containing six trusses running parallel to the roadway, [22] each of which is 33 feet (10 m) deep. [23] [24] The trusses allow the Brooklyn Bridge to hold a total load of 18,700 short tons (16,700 long tons), a design consideration from when it originally carried heavier elevated trains. [7] [25] These trusses are held up by suspender ropes, which hang downward from each of the four main cables. Crossbeams run between the trusses at the top, and diagonal and vertical stiffening beams run on the outside and inside of each roadway. [23] [24]

An elevated pedestrian and cycling promenade runs in between the two roadways and 18 feet (5.5 m) above them. [26] It typically runs 4 feet (1.2 m) below the level of the crossbeams, [27] except at the areas surrounding each tower. Here, the promenade rises to just above the level of the crossbeams, connecting to a balcony that slightly overhangs the two roadways. [28] The path is generally 10 to 17 feet (3.0 to 5.2 m) wide. [29] [27]

Approaches Edit

Each of the side spans is reached by an approach ramp. The 971-foot (296 m) approach ramp from the Brooklyn side is shorter than the 1,567-foot (478 m) approach ramp from the Manhattan side. [6] The approaches are supported by Renaissance-style arches made of masonry the arch openings themselves were filled with brick walls, with small windows within. [2] [30] The approach ramp contains nine arch or iron-girder bridges across side streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn. [31]

Underneath the Manhattan approach, a series of brick slopes or "banks" was developed into a skate park, the Brooklyn Banks, in the late 1980s. [32] The park uses the approach's support pillars as obstacles. [33] In the mid-2010s, the Brooklyn Banks were closed to the public because the area was being used as a storage site during the bridge's renovation. [32] The skateboarding community has attempted to save the banks on multiple occasions after the city destroyed the smaller banks in the 2000s, the city government agreed to keep the larger banks for skateboarding. [33] When the NYCDOT removed the bricks from the banks in 2020, skateboarders started an online petition. [34]

Cables Edit

The Brooklyn Bridge contains four main cables, which descend from the tops of the suspension towers and help support the deck. Two are located to the outside of the bridge's roadways, while two are in the median of the roadways. [7] Each main cable measures 15.75 inches (40.0 cm) in diameter and contains 5,282 parallel, galvanized steel wires wrapped closely together in a cylindrical shape. [6] [35] [36] These wires are bundled in 19 individual strands, with 278 wires to a strand. [35] This was the first use of bundling in a suspension bridge and took several months for workers to tie together. [37] Since the 2000s, the main cables have also supported a series of 24-watt LED lighting fixtures, referred to as "necklace lights" due to their shape. [38]

In addition, 1,520 galvanized steel wire suspender cables hang downward from the main cables, and another 400 cable stays extend diagonally from the towers. These wires hold up the truss structure around the bridge deck. [19]

Anchorages Edit

Each side of the bridge contains an anchorage for the main cables. The anchorages are trapezoidal limestone structures located slightly inland of the shore, measuring 129 by 119 feet (39 by 36 m) at the base and 117 by 104 feet (36 by 32 m) at the top. [5] [6] Each anchorage weighs 60,000 short tons (54,000 long tons 54,000 t). [5] The Manhattan anchorage rests on a foundation of bedrock while the Brooklyn anchorage rests on clay. [36]

The anchorages both have four anchor plates, one for each of the main cables, which are located near ground level and parallel to the ground. The anchor plates measure 16 by 17.5 inches (410 by 440 mm), with a thickness of 2.5 inches (64 mm) and weigh 46,000 pounds (21,000 kg) each. Each anchor plate is connected to the respective main cable by two sets of nine eyebars, each of which is about 12.5 feet (3.8 m) long and up to 9 by 3 inches (229 by 76 mm) thick. [39] [40] The chains of eyebars curve downward from the cables toward the anchor plates, and the eyebars vary in size depending on their position. [c] [31]

The anchorages also contain numerous passageways and compartments. [41] Starting in 1876, [42] in order to fund the bridge's maintenance, the New York City government made the large vaults under the bridge's Manhattan anchorage available for rent, and they were in constant use during the early 20th century. [41] [43] The vaults were used to store wine, as they were kept at a consistent 60 °F (16 °C) temperature due to a lack of air circulation. [41] The Manhattan vault was called the "Blue Grotto" because of a shrine to the Virgin Mary next to an opening at the entrance. [43] The vaults were closed for public use in the late 1910s and 1920s during World War I and Prohibition but were reopened thereafter. [42] [43] When New York magazine visited one of the cellars in 1978, it discovered a "fading inscription" on a wall reading: "Who loveth not wine, women and song, he remaineth a fool his whole life long." [44] [42] Leaks found within the vault's spaces necessitated repairs during the late 1980s and early 1990s. [45] By the late 1990s, the chambers were being used to store maintenance equipment. [41]

Towers Edit

The bridge's two suspension towers are 278 feet (85 m) tall with a footprint of 140 by 59 feet (43 by 18 m) at the high water line. [6] [3] [7] They are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. The limestone was quarried at the Clark Quarry in Essex County, New York. [46] The granite blocks were quarried and shaped on Vinalhaven Island, Maine, under a contract with the Bodwell Granite Company, and delivered from Maine to New York by schooner. [47] The Manhattan tower contains 46,945 cubic yards (35,892 m 3 ) of masonry, while the Brooklyn tower has 38,214 cubic yards (29,217 m 3 ) of masonry. [5] [6]

Each tower contains a pair of Gothic Revival pointed arches, through which the roadways run. The arch openings are 117 feet (36 m) tall and 33.75 feet (10.29 m) wide. [40] [48] The tops of the towers are located 159 feet (48 m) above the floor of each arch opening, while the floors of the openings are 119.25 feet (36.35 m) above mean water level, giving the towers a total height of 278.25 feet (84.81 m) above mean high water. [6] [48]

Caissons Edit

The towers rest on underwater caissons made of southern yellow pine. Both caissons contain interior spaces that were used by construction workers. The Manhattan side's caisson is slightly larger, measuring 172 by 102 feet (52 by 31 m) and located 78.5 feet (23.9 m) below high water, while the Brooklyn side's caisson measures 168 by 102 feet (51 by 31 m) and is located 44.5 feet (13.6 m) below high water. The caissons were designed to hold at least the weight of the towers which would exert a pressure of 5 short tons per square foot (49 t/m 2 ) when fully built, but the caissons were over-engineered for safety. During an accident on the Brooklyn side, when air pressure was lost and the partially-built towers dropped full-force down, the caisson sustained an estimated pressure of 23 short tons per square foot (220 t/m 2 ) with only minor damage. [6] [49] Most of the timber used in the bridge's construction, including in the caissons, came from mills at Gascoigne Bluff on St. Simons Island, Georgia. [50]

The Brooklyn side's caisson, which was built first, originally had a height of 9.5 feet (2.9 m) and a ceiling composed of five layers of timber, each layer 1 foot (0.30 m) tall. Ten more layers of timber were later added atop the ceiling, and the entire caisson was wrapped in tin and wood for further protection against flooding. The thickness of the caisson's sides was 8 feet (2.4 m) at both the bottom and the top. The caisson had six chambers: two each for dredging, supply shafts, and airlocks. [51] [5]

The caisson on the Manhattan side was slightly different because it had to be installed at a greater depth. To protect against the increased air pressure at that depth, the Manhattan caisson had 22 layers of timber on its roof, seven more than its Brooklyn counterpart had. The Manhattan caisson also had fifty 4-inch (10 cm)-diameter pipes for sand removal, a fireproof iron-boilerplate interior, and different airlocks and communication systems. [40] [51] [52] [53]

Planning Edit

Proposals for a bridge between the then-separate cities of Brooklyn and New York had been suggested as early as 1800. [54] [37] At the time, the only travel between the two cities was by a number of ferry lines. [54] [55] Engineers presented various designs, such as chain or link bridges, though these were never built because of the difficulties of constructing a high enough fixed-span bridge across the extremely busy East River. [54] [37] There were also proposals for tunnels under the East River, but these were considered prohibitively expensive. [56] The current Brooklyn Bridge was conceived by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling in 1852. He had previously designed and constructed shorter suspension bridges, such as Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky. [57]

In February 1867, the New York State Senate passed a bill that allowed the construction of a suspension bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. [58] Two months later, the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Company was incorporated with a board of directors (later converted to a board of trustees). [54] [59] [60] There were twenty trustees in total: eight each appointed by the mayors of New York and Brooklyn, as well as the mayors of each city and the auditor and comptroller of Brooklyn. [36] The company was tasked with constructing what was then known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. [54] [59] [60] Alternatively, the span was just referred to as the "Brooklyn Bridge", a name originating in a January 25, 1867, letter to the editor sent to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. [61] The act of incorporation, which became law on April 16, 1867, authorized the cities of New York (now Manhattan) and Brooklyn to subscribe to $5 million in capital stock, which would fund the bridge's construction. [56]

Roebling was subsequently named the main engineer of the work, and by September 1867, had presented a master plan. [54] [62] [63] According to it, the bridge would be longer and taller than any suspension bridge previously built. [7] It would incorporate roadways and elevated rail tracks, whose tolls and fares would provide the means to pay for the bridge's construction. It would also include a raised promenade that served as a leisurely pathway. [64] The proposal received much acclaim in both cities, and residents predicted that the New York and Brooklyn Bridge's opening would have as much of an impact as the Suez Canal, the first transatlantic telegraph cable or the first transcontinental railroad. By early 1869, however, some individuals started to criticize the project, saying either that the bridge was too expensive, or that the construction process was too difficult. [65]

To allay concerns about the design of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, Roebling set up a "Bridge Party" in March 1869, where he invited engineers and members of U.S. Congress to see his other spans. [66] Following the bridge party in April, Roebling and several engineers conducted final surveys. During the process, it was determined that the main span would have to be raised from 130 to 135 feet (40 to 41 m) above MHW, requiring several changes to the overall design. [67] In June 1869, while conducting these surveys, Roebling sustained a crush injury to his foot when a ferry pinned it against a piling. [68] [69] After amputation of his crushed toes, he developed a tetanus infection that left him incapacitated and resulted in his death the following month. Washington Roebling, John Roebling's 32-year-old son, was then hired to fill his father's role. [70] [71] When the younger Roebling was hired, Tammany Hall leader William M. Tweed also became involved in the bridge's construction because, as a major landowner in New York City, he had an interest in the project's completion. [72] The New York and Brooklyn Bridge Company—later known simply as the New York Bridge Company [73] —was actually overseen by Tammany Hall, and it approved Roebling's plans and designated him as chief engineer of the project. [74] [75]

Construction Edit

Caissons Edit

Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began on January 2, 1870. [36] The first work entailed the construction of two caissons, upon which the suspension towers would be built. [51] [5] The Brooklyn side's caisson was built at the Webb & Bell shipyard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and was launched into the river on March 19, 1870. [51] [5] Compressed air was pumped into the caisson, and workers entered the space to dig the sediment until it sank to the bedrock. As one sixteen-year-old from Ireland, Frank Harris, described the fearful experience: [76]

The six of us were working naked to the waist in the small iron chamber with the temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit: In five minutes the sweat was pouring from us, and all the while we were standing in icy water that was only kept from rising by the terrific pressure. No wonder the headaches were blinding. [76]

Once the caisson had reached the desired depth, it was to be filled in with vertical brick piers and concrete. [77] [78] However, due to the unexpectedly high concentration of large boulders atop the riverbed, the Brooklyn caisson took several months to sink to the desired depth. [78] [5] Furthermore, in December 1870, its timber roof caught fire, delaying construction further. [79] [80] The "Great Blowout", as the fire was called, delayed construction for several months, since the holes in the caisson had to be repaired. [81] On March 6, 1871, the repairs were finished, and the caisson had reached its final depth of 44.5 feet (13.6 m) it was filled with concrete five days later. [81] [5] Overall, about 264 individuals were estimated to have worked in the caisson every day, but because of high worker turnover, the final total was thought to be about 2,500 men in total. [82] In spite of this, only a few workers were paralyzed. At its final depth, the caisson's air pressure was 21 pounds per square inch (140 kPa). [83]

The Manhattan side's caisson was the next structure to be built. To ensure that it would not catch fire like its counterpart had, the Manhattan caisson was lined with fireproof plate iron. [53] It was launched from Webb & Bell's shipyard on May 11, 1871, [84] [40] and maneuvered into place that September. [85] [51] Due to the extreme underwater air pressure inside the much deeper Manhattan caisson, many workers became sick with "the bends"—decompression sickness—during this work, [76] despite the incorporation of airlocks (which were believed to help with decompression sickness at the time). [86] [87] This condition was unknown at the time and was first called "caisson disease" by the project physician, Andrew Smith. [88] [89] Between January 25 and May 31, 1872, Smith treated 110 cases of decompression sickness, while three workers died from the disease. [40] When iron probes underneath the Manhattan caisson found the bedrock to be even deeper than expected, Washington Roebling halted construction due to the increased risk of decompression sickness. [40] [90] After the Manhattan caisson reached a depth of 78.5 feet (23.9 m) with an air pressure of 35 pounds per square inch (240 kPa), [83] Washington deemed the sandy subsoil overlying the bedrock 30 feet (9.1 m) beneath to be sufficiently firm, and subsequently infilled the caisson with concrete in July 1872. [40] [91]

Washington Roebling himself suffered a paralyzing injury as a result of caisson disease shortly after ground was broken for the Brooklyn tower foundation. [37] [92] His debilitating condition left him unable to supervise the construction in person, so he designed the caissons and other equipment from his apartment, directing "the completion of the bridge through a telescope from his bedroom." [76] His wife Emily Warren Roebling not only provided written communications between her husband and the engineers on site, [93] but also understood mathematics, calculations of catenary curves, strengths of materials, bridge specifications, and the intricacies of cable construction. She spent the next 11 years helping supervise the bridge's construction, [83] [94] taking over much of the chief engineer's duties, including day-to-day supervision and project management. [95]

Towers Edit

After the caissons were completed, piers were constructed on top of each of them upon which masonry towers would be built. The towers' construction was a complex process that took four years. Since the masonry blocks were heavy, the builders transported them to the base of the towers using a pulley system with a continuous 1.5-inch (3.8 cm)-diameter steel wire rope, operated by steam engines at ground level. The blocks were then carried up on a timber track alongside each tower and maneuvered into the proper position using a derrick atop the towers. [40] [96] The blocks sometimes vibrated the ropes because of their weight, but only once did a block fall. [96]

Construction on the suspension towers started in mid-1872, and by the time work was halted for the winter in late 1872, parts of each tower had already been built. [93] By mid-1873, there was substantial progress on the towers' construction. The Brooklyn side's tower had reached a height of 164 feet (50 m) above mean high water, while the tower on the Manhattan side had reached 88 feet (27 m) above MHW. [97] [98] The arches of the Brooklyn tower were completed by August 1874. [99] The tower was substantially finished by December 1874 with the erection of saddle plates for the main cables at the top of the tower. However, the ornamentation on the Brooklyn tower could not be completed until the Manhattan tower was finished. [100] The last stone on the Brooklyn tower was raised in June 1875 and the Manhattan tower was completed in July 1876. [101] The saddle plates atop both towers were also raised in July 1876. [102] The work was dangerous: by 1876, three workers had died having fallen from the towers, while nine other workers were killed in other accidents. [103]

In 1875, while the towers were being constructed, the project had depleted its original $5 million budget. Two bridge commissioners, one each from Brooklyn and Manhattan, petitioned New York state lawmakers to allot another $8 million for construction. Ultimately, the legislators passed a law authorizing the allotment with the condition that the cities would buy the stock of Brooklyn Bridge's private stockholders. [104]

Work proceeded concurrently on the anchorages on each side. [105] The Brooklyn anchorage broke ground in January 1873 [106] [31] and was subsequently substantially completed in August 1875. [107] [31] The Manhattan anchorage was built in less time, having started in May 1875, it was mostly completed in July 1876. [108] [109] The anchorages could not be fully completed until the main cables were spun, at which point another 6 feet (1.8 m) would be added to the height of each 80-foot (24 m) anchorage. [110]

Cables Edit

The first temporary wire was stretched between the towers on August 15, 1876, [102] [111] [112] using chrome steel provided by the Chrome Steel Company of Brooklyn. [102] [112] The wire was then stretched back across the river, and the two ends were spliced to form a traveler, a lengthy loop of wire connecting the towers, which was driven by a 30 horsepower (22 kW) steam hoisting engine at ground level. [113] The wire was one of two that were used to create a temporary footbridge for workers while cable spinning was ongoing. [114] The next step was to send an engineer across the completed traveler wire in a boatswain's chair slung from the wire, to ensure it was safe enough. The bridge's master mechanic, E.F. Farrington, was selected for this task, and an estimated crowd of 10,000 people on both shores watched him cross. [115] [116] A second traveler wire was then stretched across the span, a task that was completed by August 30. [117] [114] The temporary footbridge, located some 60 feet (18 m) above the elevation of the future deck, was completed in February 1877. [118]

By December 1876, a steel contract for the permanent cables still had not been awarded. [119] There was disagreement over whether the bridge's cables should use the as-yet-untested Bessemer steel or the well-proven crucible steel. [19] [120] Until a permanent contract was awarded, the builders ordered 30 short tons (27 long tons) of wire in the interim, 10 tons each from three companies, including Washington Roebling's own steel mill in Brooklyn. [121] In the end, it was decided to use number 8 Birmingham gauge (approximately 4 mm or 0.165 inches in diameter) crucible steel, and a request for bids was distributed, to which eight companies responded. [119] In January 1877, a contract for crucible steel was awarded to J. Lloyd Haigh, [19] [122] [123] who was associated with bridge trustee Abram Hewitt, whom Roebling distrusted. [21] [124]

The spinning of the wires required the manufacture of large coils of it which were galvanized but not oiled when they left the factory. The coils were delivered to a yard near the Brooklyn anchorage. There they were dipped in linseed oil, hoisted to the top of the anchorage, dried out and spliced into a single wire, and finally coated with red zinc for further galvanizing. [125] [126] There were thirty-two drums at the anchorage yard, eight for each of the four main cables. Each drum had a capacity of 60,000 feet (18,000 m) of wire. [127] The first experimental wire for the main cables was stretched between the towers on May 29, 1877, and spinning began two weeks later. [125] All four main cables were being strung by that July. During that time, the temporary footbridge was unofficially opened to members of the public, who could receive a visitor's pass by August 1877 several thousand visitors from around the world had used the footbridge. [128] The visitor passes ceased that September after a visitor had an epileptic seizure and nearly fell off. [128] [129]

As the wires were being spun, work also commenced on the demolition of buildings on either side of the river for the Brooklyn Bridge's approaches this work was mostly complete by September 1877. [110] The following month, initial contracts were awarded for the suspender wires, which would hang down from the main cables and support the deck. [129] [130] By May 1878, the main cables were more than two-thirds complete. [131] However, the following month, one of the wires slipped, killing two people and injuring three others. [132] [133] [134] In 1877, Hewitt wrote a letter urging against the use of Bessemer steel in the bridge's construction. [135] [136] Bids had been submitted for both crucible steel and Bessemer steel John A. Roebling's Sons submitted the lowest bid for Bessemer steel, [137] but at Hewitt's direction, the contract was awarded to Haigh. [138] [139]

A subsequent investigation discovered that Haigh had substituted inferior quality wire in the cables. Of eighty rings of wire that were tested, only five met standards, and it was estimated that Haigh had earned $300,000 from the deception. [139] [140] At this point, it was too late to replace the cables that had already been constructed. Roebling determined that the poorer wire would leave the bridge only four times as strong as necessary, rather than six to eight times as strong. The inferior-quality wire was allowed to remain and 150 extra wires were added to each cable. [19] [139] [140] To avoid public controversy, Haigh was not fired, but instead was required to personally pay for higher-quality wire. [140] [d] The contract for the remaining wire was awarded to the John A. Roebling's Sons, and by October 5, 1878, the last of the main cables' wires went over the river. [141]

Nearing completion Edit

After the suspender wires had been placed, workers began erecting steel crossbeams to support the roadway as part of the bridge's overall superstructure. [19] Construction started on the superstructure in March 1879, [24] but, as with the cables, the trustees initially disagreed on whether the steel superstructure should be made of Bessemer or crucible steel. [142] That July, the trustees decided to award a contract for 500 short tons (450 long tons) of Bessemer steel [143] to the Edgemoor (or Edge Moor) Iron Works, based in Philadelphia, to be delivered by 1880. [143] [144] [145] The trustees later passed another resolution for another 500 short tons (450 long tons) of Bessemer steel. [143] However, by February 1880 the steel deliveries had not started. [146] That October, the bridge trustees questioned Edgemoor's president about the delay in steel deliveries. [147] Despite Edgemoor's assurances that the contract would be fulfilled, the deliveries still had not been completed by November 1881. [148] Brooklyn mayor Seth Low, who became part of the board of trustees in 1882, became the chairman of a committee tasked to investigate Edgemoor's failure to fulfill the contract. When questioned, Edgemoor's president stated that the delays were the fault of another contractor, the Cambria Iron Company, who was manufacturing the eyebars for the bridge trusses at that point, the contract was supposed to be complete by October 1882. [149] [150]

Further complicating the situation, Washington Roebling had failed to appear at the trustees' meeting in June 1882, since he had gone to Newport, Rhode Island. [149] After the news media discovered this, most of the newspapers called for Roebling to be fired as chief engineer, except for the Daily State Gazette of Trenton, New Jersey, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. [151] Some of the longstanding trustees, including Henry C. Murphy, James S. T. Stranahan, and William C. Kingsley, were willing to vouch for Roebling, since construction progress on the Brooklyn Bridge was still ongoing. However, Roebling's behavior was considered suspect among the younger trustees who had joined the board more recently. [151]

Construction on the bridge itself was noted in formal reports that Murphy presented each month to the mayors of New York and Brooklyn. For example, Murphy's report in August 1882 noted that the month's progress included 114 intermediate cords erected within a week, as well as 72 diagonal stays, 60 posts, and numerous floor beams, bridging trusses, and stay bars. [151] [152] By early 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was considered mostly completed and was projected to open that June. [153] Contracts for bridge lighting were awarded by February 1883, [153] and a toll scheme was approved that March. [154]

Opposition Edit

There was substantial opposition to the bridge's construction from shipbuilders and merchants located to the north, who argued that the bridge would not provide sufficient clearance underneath for ships. [155] In May 1876, these groups, led by Abraham Miller, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the cities of New York and Brooklyn. [155] [156]

In 1879, an Assembly Sub-Committee on Commerce and Navigation began an investigation into the Brooklyn Bridge. A seaman who had been hired to determine the height of the span, testified to the committee about the difficulties that ship masters would experience in bringing their ships under the bridge when it was completed. Another witness, Edward Wellman Serrell, a civil engineer, said that the calculations of the bridge's assumed strength were incorrect. [157] [158] The Supreme Court decided in 1883 that the Brooklyn Bridge was a lawful structure. [159]

Opening Edit

The New York and Brooklyn Bridge was opened for use on May 24, 1883. Thousands of people attended the opening ceremony, and many ships were present in the East River for the occasion. [160] Officially, Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge. [161] The bridge opening was also attended by U.S. president Chester A. Arthur and New York mayor Franklin Edson, who crossed the bridge and shook hands with Brooklyn mayor Seth Low at the Brooklyn end. [162] Abram Hewitt gave the principal address. [163] [164]

It is not the work of any one man or of any one age. It is the result of the study, of the experience, and of the knowledge of many men in many ages. It is not merely a creation it is a growth. It stands before us today as the sum and epitome of human knowledge as the very heir of the ages as the latest glory of centuries of patient observation, profound study and accumulated skill, gained, step by step, in the never-ending struggle of man to subdue the forces of nature to his control and use.

Though Washington Roebling was unable to attend the ceremony (and rarely visited the site again), he held a celebratory banquet at his house on the day of the bridge opening. Further festivity included the performance by a band, gunfire from ships, and a fireworks display. [162] On that first day, a total of 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed the span. [161] Less than a week after the Brooklyn Bridge opened, ferry crews reported a sharp drop in patronage, while the bridge's toll operators were processing over a hundred people a minute. [166] However, cross-river ferries continued to operate until 1942. [167]

The bridge had cost US$15.5 million in 1883 dollars (about US$416,625,000 in 2020 [168] ) to build, of which Brooklyn paid two-thirds. [161] [36] The bonds to fund the construction would not be paid off until 1956. [169] An estimated 27 men died during its construction. [161] [36] Since the New York and Brooklyn Bridge was the only bridge across the East River at that time, it was also called the East River Bridge. [170] Until the construction of the nearby Williamsburg Bridge in 1903, the New York and Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, one and a half times longer than any built previously. [74]

At the time of opening, the Brooklyn Bridge was not yet complete the proposed public transit across the bridge was still being tested, while the Brooklyn approach was being completed. [171] On May 30, 1883, six days after the opening, a woman falling down a stairway at the Brooklyn approach caused a stampede which resulted in at least twelve people being crushed and killed. [172] [167] In subsequent lawsuits, the Brooklyn Bridge Company was acquitted of negligence. [167] However, the company did install emergency phone boxes and additional railings, [173] and the trustees approved a fireproofing plan for the bridge. [174] Public transit service began with the opening of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway, a cable car service, on September 25, 1883. [167] [175] [176] On May 17, 1884, one of the circus master P. T. Barnum's most famous attractions, Jumbo the elephant, led a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge. This helped to lessen doubts about the bridge's stability while also promoting Barnum's circus. [8] [177] [178] [179]

Late 19th through early 20th centuries Edit

Patronage across the Brooklyn Bridge increased in the years after it opened a million people paid to cross in the six first months. The bridge carried 8.5 million people in 1884, its first full year of operation this number doubled to 17 million in 1885 and again to 34 million in 1889. [36] Many of these people were cable car passengers. [180] Additionally, about 4.5 million pedestrians a year were crossing the bridge for free by 1892. [181] Trolley tracks were added in the center lanes of both roadways in 1898, allowing trolleys to use the bridge as well. That year, the formerly separate City of Brooklyn was unified with New York City, and the Brooklyn Bridge fell under city control. [182] [183] Concerns about the Brooklyn Bridge's safety were raised during the turn of the century. In 1898, traffic backups due to a dead horse caused one of the truss cords to buckle. [184] There were more significant worries after twelve suspender cables snapped in 1901, [8] [185] [186] though a thorough investigation found no other defects. [187] After the 1901 incident, five inspectors were hired to examine the bridge each day, a service that cost $250,000 a year. [188] The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, which operated routes across the Brooklyn Bridge, issued a notice in 1905 saying that the bridge had reached its transit capacity. [8]

By 1890, due to the popularity of the Brooklyn Bridge, there were proposals to construct other bridges across the East River between Manhattan and Long Island. [189] Although a second deck for the Brooklyn Bridge was proposed, it was thought to be infeasible because doing so would overload the bridge's structural capacity. [184] The first new bridge across the East River, the Williamsburg Bridge, opened upstream in 1903 and connected Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with the Lower East Side of Manhattan. [190] This was followed by the Queensboro Bridge between Queens and Manhattan in March 1909, [191] and the Manhattan Bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan in December 1909. [192] Several subway, railroad, and road tunnels were also constructed, which helped to accelerate the development of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. [193] [55]

Though tolls had been instituted for carriages and cable-car customers since the bridge's opening, pedestrians were spared from the tolls originally. [154] However, by the first decade of the 20th century, pedestrians were also paying tolls. [194] Tolls on all four bridges across the East River—the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro bridges to the north—were abolished in July 1911 as part of a populist policy initiative headed by New York City mayor William Jay Gaynor. [195] [196] The city government passed a bill to officially name the structure the "Brooklyn Bridge" in January 1915. [197] Ostensibly in an attempt to reduce traffic on nearby city streets, Grover Whalen, the commissioner of Plant and Structures, banned motor vehicles from the Brooklyn Bridge in 1922. [198] The real reason for the ban was an incident the same year where two cables slipped due to high traffic loads. [8] [199] Both Whalen and Roebling called for the renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge and the construction of a parallel bridge, though the parallel bridge was never built. [8] [199] [200]

Mid- to late 20th century Edit

Upgrades Edit

The first major upgrade to the Brooklyn Bridge commenced in 1948, when a contract for redesigning the roadways were awarded to David B. Steinman. [201] [202] The renovation was expected to double the capacity of the bridge's roadways to nearly 6,000 cars per hour, [201] at a projected cost of $7 million. [203] The renovation included the demolition of both the elevated and the trolley tracks on the roadways, the removal of trusses separating the inner elevated tracks from the existing vehicle lanes and the widening of each roadway from two to three lanes, [203] [204] as well as the construction of a new steel-and-concrete floor. [205] In addition, new ramps were added to Adams Street, Cadman Plaza, and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) on the Brooklyn side, and to Park Row on the Manhattan side. [206] The trolley tracks closed in March 1950 to allow for the widening work to occur. [207] [208] During the construction project, one roadway at a time was closed, allowing reduced traffic flows to cross the bridge in one direction only. [209] The widened south roadway was completed in May 1951, [210] followed by the north roadway in October 1953. [211] The restoration was finished in May 1954 with the completion of the reconstructed elevated promenade. [212] [209]

While the rebuilding of the span was ongoing, a fallout shelter was constructed beneath the Manhattan approach in anticipation of the Cold War. The abandoned space in one of the masonry arches was stocked with emergency survival supplies for a potential nuclear attack by the Soviet Union these supplies remained in place half a century later. [213] In addition, defensive barriers were added to the bridge as a safeguard against sabotage. [214]

Simultaneous with the rebuilding of the Brooklyn Bridge, a double-decked viaduct for the BQE was being built through an existing steel overpass of the bridge's Brooklyn approach ramp. [215] The segment of the BQE from Brooklyn Bridge south to Atlantic Avenue opened in June 1954, [216] but the direct ramp from the northbound BQE to the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Bridge did not open until 1959. [217] The city also widened the Adams Street approach in Brooklyn, between the bridge and Fulton Street, from 60 to 160 feet (18 to 49 m) between 1954 and 1955. [218] [219] Subsequently, Boerum Place from Fulton Street south to Atlantic Avenue was also widened. [220] This required the demolition of the old Kings County courthouse. [221] The towers were cleaned in 1958 [222] and the Brooklyn anchorage was repaired the next year. [223]

On the Manhattan side, the city approved a controversial rebuilding of the Manhattan entrance plaza in 1953. The project, which would add a grade-separated junction over Park Row, was hotly contested because it would require the demolition of 21 structures, including the old New York World Building. [224] The reconstruction also necessitated the relocation of 410 families on Park Row. [225] In December 1956, the city started a two-year renovation of the plaza. This required the closure of one roadway at a time, as was done during the rebuilding of the bridge itself. [226] Work on redeveloping the area around the Manhattan approach started in the mid-1960s. [227] At the same time, plans were announced for direct ramps to the FDR Drive elevated highway to alleviate congestion at the approach. [228] The ramp from the FDR Drive to the Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1968, [229] followed by the ramp from the bridge to the FDR Drive the next year. [230] A single ramp from the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Bridge to northbound Park Row was constructed in 1970. [231] A repainting of the bridge was announced two years later in advance of its 90th anniversary. [232]

Deterioration and late-20th century repair Edit

The Brooklyn Bridge gradually deteriorated due to age and neglect. While it had 200 full-time dedicated maintenance workers before World War II, that number dropped to five by the late 20th century, and the city as a whole only had 160 bridge maintenance workers. [233] In 1974, heavy vehicles such as vans and buses were banned from the bridge to prevent further erosion of the concrete roadway. [234] A report in The New York Times four years later noted that the cables were visibly fraying and the pedestrian promenade had holes in it. [235] The city began planning to replace all the Brooklyn Bridge's cables at a cost of $115 million, as part of a larger project to renovate all four toll-free East River spans. [236] By 1980, the Brooklyn Bridge was in such dire condition that it faced imminent closure. In some places, half of the strands in the cables were broken. [237]

In June 1981, two of the diagonal stay cables snapped, seriously injuring a pedestrian [238] [239] who later died. [21] Subsequently, the anchorages were found to have developed rust, [239] and an emergency cable repair was necessitated less than a month later after another cable developed slack. [240] Following the incident, the city accelerated the timetable of its proposed cable replacement, [236] and it commenced a $153 million rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge in advance of the 100th anniversary. As part of the project, the bridge's original suspender cables installed by J. Lloyd Haigh were replaced by Bethlehem Steel in 1986, marking the cables' first replacement since construction. [21] In addition, the staircase at Washington Street in Brooklyn was renovated, [241] the stairs from Tillary and Adams Streets were replaced with a ramp, and the short flights of steps from the promenade to each tower's balcony were removed. [242] In a smaller project, the bridge was floodlit at night starting in 1982 to highlight its architectural features. [243]

Additional problems persisted, and in 1993, high levels of lead were discovered near the bridge's towers. [244] Further emergency repairs were undertaken in mid-1999 after small concrete shards began falling from the bridge into the East River. The concrete deck had been installed during the 1950s renovations and had a lifespan of about 60 years. [245] [246] The Park Row exit from the bridge's westbound lanes was closed as a safety measure after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the nearby World Trade Center. That section of Park Row had been closed off since it ran right underneath 1 Police Plaza, the headquarters of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). [247] In early 2003, to save money on electricity, the NYCDOT turned off the bridge's "necklace lights" at night. [248] They were turned back on later that year after several private entities made donations to fund the lights. [249]

21st century Edit

After the 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, public attention focused on the condition of bridges across the U.S. The New York Times reported that the Brooklyn Bridge approach ramps had received a "poor" rating during an inspection in 2007. [250] However, a NYCDOT spokesman said that the poor rating did not indicate a dangerous state but rather implied it required renovation. [251] In 2010, the NYCDOT began renovating the approaches and deck, as well as repainting the suspension span. [252] [253] Work included widening two approach ramps from one to two lanes by re-striping a new prefabricated ramp raising clearance over the eastbound BQE at York Street seismic retrofitting replacement of rusted railings and safety barriers and road deck resurfacing. [254] The work necessitated detours for four years. [255] At the time, the project was scheduled to be completed in 2014 [252] but completion was later delayed to 2015, [256] then again to 2017. [257] The project's cost also increased from $508 million in 2010 [252] to $811 million in 2016. [257]

In August 2016, after the renovation had been completed, the NYCDOT announced that it would conduct a seven-month, $370,000 study to verify if the bridge could support a heavier upper deck that consisted of an expanded bicycle and pedestrian path. As of 2016 [update] , about 10,000 pedestrians and 3,500 cyclists use the pathway on an average weekday. [258] Work on the pedestrian entrance on the Brooklyn side was underway by 2017. [259]

The NYCDOT also indicated in 2016 that it planned to reinforce the Brooklyn Bridge's foundations to prevent it from sinking, as well as repair the masonry arches on the approach ramps, which had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. [260] In July 2018, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a further renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge's suspension towers and approach ramps. [261] That December, the federal government gave the city $25 million in funding, which would pay for a $337 million rehabilitation of the bridge approaches and the suspension towers. [262] Work started in late 2019 and was scheduled to be completed in 2023. [263] In early 2020, City Council speaker Corey Johnson and the nonprofit Van Alen Institute hosted an international contest to solicit plans for the redesign of the bridge's walkway. [264] [265] Ultimately, in January 2021, the city decided to install a two-way protected bike path on the Manhattan-bound roadway, replacing the leftmost vehicular lane. The bike lane, to be completed by the end of 2021, would allow the existing promenade to be used exclusively by pedestrians. [266] [267]

Vehicular traffic Edit

Horse-drawn carriages have been allowed to use the Brooklyn Bridge's roadways since its opening. Originally, each of the two roadways carried two lanes of a different direction of traffic. [6] The lanes were relatively narrow at only 8 feet (2.4 m) wide. [212] In 1922, motor vehicles were banned from the bridge, while horse-drawn carriages were restricted from the Manhattan Bridge. Thereafter, the only vehicles allowed on the Brooklyn Bridge were horse-drawn. [198]

Since 1950, the main roadway has carried six lanes of automobile traffic. Because of the roadway's height (11 ft (3.4 m) posted) and weight (6,000 lb (2,700 kg) posted) restrictions, commercial vehicles and buses are prohibited from using the Brooklyn Bridge. [268] The weight restrictions prohibit heavy passenger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs to use the bridge, though this is not often enforced in practice. [269]

On the Brooklyn side, vehicles can enter the bridge from Tillary/Adams Streets to the south, Sands/Pearl Streets to the west, and exit 28B of the eastbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. In Manhattan, cars can enter from both the northbound and southbound FDR Drive, as well as Park Row to the west, Chambers/Centre Streets to the north, and Pearl Street to the south. [270] However, the exit from the bridge to northbound Park Row was closed after the September 11 attacks because of increased security concerns: that section of Park Row ran under One Police Plaza, the NYPD headquarters. [247]

Exits and entrances Edit

Vehicular access to the bridge is provided by a complex series of ramps on both sides of the bridge. There are two entrances to the bridge's pedestrian promenade on either side. [270]

BoroughLocationmi [270] kmDestinationsNotes
BrooklynBrooklyn Heights0.00.0Tillary Street / Adams Street southAt-grade intersection no bridge access from eastbound Tillary Street pedestrian and bicycle path
0.30.48Sands StreetNorthbound entrance only pedestrian staircase
0.40.64 I-278 (Brooklyn–Queens Expressway) / Cadman Plaza WestSouthbound exit and northbound entrance I-278 exit 28B
East River0.7–
Suspension span
ManhattanFinancial District1.21.9Park Row northNorthbound exit only closed since September 11, 2001 [247]
1.32.1 FDR Drive / Pearl StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance FDR Drive exit 2
1.42.3Park Row southNorthbound exit and southbound entrance pedestrian staircase
1.52.4 Chambers Street / Centre Street to NY 9A (West Street) / Church StreetPedestrian and bicycle path
1.000 mi = 1.609 km 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Rail traffic Edit

Formerly, rail traffic operated on the Brooklyn Bridge as well. Cable cars and elevated railroads used the bridge until 1944, while trolleys ran until 1950. [207] [208]

Cable cars and elevated railroads Edit

The New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway, a cable car service, began operating on September 25, 1883 it ran on the inner lanes of the bridge, between terminals at the Manhattan and Brooklyn ends. [175] [176] Since Washington Roebling believed that steam locomotives would put excessive loads upon the structure of the Brooklyn Bridge, the cable car line was designed as a steam/cable-hauled hybrid. They were powered from a generating station under the Brooklyn approach. The cable cars could not only regulate their speed on the 3 + 3 ⁄ 4 % upward and downward approaches, but also maintain a constant interval between each other. There were 24 cable cars in total. [271]

Initially, the service ran with single-car trains, but patronage soon grew so much that by October 1883, two-car trains were in use. The line carried three million people in the first six months, nine million in 1884, and nearly 20 million in 1885 following the opening of the Brooklyn Union Elevated Railroad. Accordingly, the track layout was rearranged and more trains were ordered. [167] [272] At the same time, there were highly controversial plans to extend the elevated railroads onto the Brooklyn Bridge, under the pretext of extending the bridge itself. [273] After disputes, the trustees agreed to build two elevated routes to the bridge on the Brooklyn side. [274] Patronage continued to increase, and in 1888, the tracks were lengthened and even more cars were constructed to allow for four-car cable car trains. [180] Electric wires for the trolleys were added by 1895, allowing for the potential future decommissioning of the steam/cable system. [275] The terminals were rebuilt once more in July 1895, and, following the implementation of new electric cars in late 1896, the steam engines were dismantled and sold. [276]

Following the unification of the cities of New York and Brooklyn in 1898, the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway ceased to be a separate entity that June and the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT) assumed control of the line. The BRT started running through-services of elevated trains, which ran from Park Row Terminal in Manhattan to points in Brooklyn via the Sands Street station on the Brooklyn side. Before reaching Sands Street (at Tillary Street for Fulton Street Line trains, and at Bridge Street for Fifth Avenue Line and Myrtle Avenue Line trains), elevated trains bound for Manhattan were uncoupled from their steam locomotives. The elevated trains were then coupled to the cable cars, which would pull the passenger carriages across the bridge. [277]

The BRT did not run any elevated train through services from 1899 to 1901. Due to increased patronage after the opening of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT)'s first subway line, the Park Row station was rebuilt in 1906. [278] In the early 20th century, there were plans for Brooklyn Bridge elevated trains to run underground to the BRT's proposed Chambers Street station in Manhattan, [279] though the connection was never opened. [280] [281] The overpass across William Street was closed in 1913 to make way for the proposed connection. In 1929, the overpass was reopened after it became clear that the connection would not be built. [282]

After the IRT's Joralemon Street Tunnel and the Williamsburg Bridge tracks opened in 1908, the Brooklyn Bridge no longer held a monopoly on rail service between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and cable service ceased. [281] New subway lines from the IRT and from the BRT's successor Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT), built in the 1910s and 1920s, posed significant competition to the Brooklyn Bridge rail services. With the opening of the Independent Subway System in 1932 and the subsequent unification of all three companies into a single entity in 1940, the elevated services started to decline, and the Park Row and Sands Street stations were greatly reduced in size. The Fifth Avenue and Fulton Street services across the Brooklyn Bridge were discontinued in 1940 and 1941 respectively, and the elevated tracks were abandoned permanently with the withdrawal of Myrtle Avenue services in 1944. [207]

Trolleys Edit

A plan for trolley service across the Brooklyn Bridge was presented in 1895. [283] Two years later, the Brooklyn Bridge trustees agreed to a plan where trolleys could run across the bridge under ten-year contracts. [284] Trolley service, which began in 1898, ran on what are now the two middle lanes of each roadway (shared with other traffic). [182] [183] When cable service was withdrawn in 1908, the trolley tracks on the Brooklyn side were rebuilt to alleviate congestion. [281] Trolley service on the middle lanes continued until the elevated lines stopped using the bridge in 1944, when they moved to the protected center tracks. On March 5, 1950, the streetcars also stopped running, and the bridge was redesigned exclusively for automobile traffic. [207] [208]

Walkway Edit

The Brooklyn Bridge has an elevated promenade open to pedestrians and cyclists in the center of the bridge, located 18 feet (5.5 m) above the automobile lanes. [26] The promenade is usually located 4 feet (1.2 m) below the height of the girders, except at the approach ramps leading to each tower's balcony. [27] The path is generally 10 to 17 feet (3.0 to 5.2 m) wide, [29] [27] though this is constrained by obstacles such as protruding cables, benches, and stairways, which create "pinch points" at certain locations. [285] The path narrows to 10 feet (3.0 m) at the locations where the main cables descend to the level of the promenade. Further exacerbating the situation, these "pinch points" are some of the most popular places to take pictures. [286] As a result, in 2016, the NYCDOT announced that it planned to double the promenade's width. [29] [258]

A center line was painted to separate cyclists from pedestrians in 1971, creating one of the city's first dedicated bike lanes. [287] Initially, the northern side of the promenade was used by pedestrians and the southern side by cyclists. In 2000, these were swapped, with cyclists taking the northern side and pedestrians taking the southern side. [288]

Pedestrian and bicycle access to the bridge from the Brooklyn side is from either the median of Adams Street at its intersection with Tillary Street or a staircase near Prospect Street between Cadman Plaza East and West. In Manhattan, the pedestrian walkway is accessible from crosswalks at the intersection of the bridge and Centre Street, or through a staircase leading to Park Row. [270] [289]

Emergency use Edit

While the bridge has always permitted the passage of pedestrians, the promenade facilitates movement when other means of crossing the East River have become unavailable. During transit strikes by the Transport Workers Union in 1980 and 2005, people commuting to work used the bridge they were joined by Mayors Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg, who crossed as a gesture to the affected public. [290] [291] Pedestrians also walked across the bridge as an alternative to suspended subway services following the 1965, [292] 1977, [293] and 2003 blackouts, [294] and after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. [295]

During the 2003 blackouts, many crossing the bridge reported a swaying motion. [296] The higher-than-usual pedestrian load caused this swaying, which was amplified by the tendency of pedestrians to synchronize their footfalls with a sway. [297] Several engineers expressed concern about how this would affect the bridge, although others noted that the bridge did withstand the event and that the redundancies in its design—the inclusion of the three support systems (suspension system, diagonal stay system, and stiffening truss)—make it "probably the best secured bridge against such movements going out of control". [296] In designing the bridge, John Roebling had stated that the bridge would sag but not fall, even if one of these structural systems were to fail altogether. [64]

Stunts Edit

There have been several notable jumpers from the Brooklyn Bridge. The first person was Robert Emmet Odlum, brother of women's rights activist Charlotte Odlum Smith, on May 19, 1885. [298] [299] He struck the water at an angle and died shortly afterwards from internal injuries. [300] Steve Brodie supposedly dropped from underneath the bridge in July 1886 and was briefly arrested for it, though there is some doubt about whether he actually jumped. [301] [179] Larry Donovan made a slightly higher jump from the railing a month afterward. [179] The first person to jump from the bridge with the intention of suicide was Francis McCarey in 1892. [179] A lesser known early jumper was James Duffy of County Cavan, Ireland, who on April 15, 1895, asked several men to watch him jump from the bridge. Duffy jumped and was not seen again. [302] Additionally, the cartoonist Otto Eppers jumped and survived in 1910, and was then tried and acquitted for attempted suicide. [303] The Brooklyn Bridge has since developed a reputation as a suicide bridge due to the number of jumpers who do so intending to kill themselves, though exact statistics are difficult to find. [304]

Other notable feats have taken place on or near the bridge. In 1919, Giorgio Pessi piloted what was then one of the world's largest airplanes, the Caproni Ca.5, under the bridge. [305] In 1993, bridge jumper Thierry Devaux illegally performed eight acrobatic bungee jumps above the East River close to the Brooklyn tower. [306] [307]

Crimes and terrorism Edit

On March 1, 1994, Lebanese-born Rashid Baz opened fire on a van carrying members of the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish Movement, striking 16-year-old student Ari Halberstam and three others traveling on the bridge. [308] Halberstam died five days later from his wounds, and Baz was later convicted of murder. He was apparently acting out of revenge for the Hebron massacre of Palestinian Muslims a few days prior to the incident. [309] After initially classifying the killing as one committed out of road rage, the Justice Department reclassified the case in 2000 as a terrorist attack. [310] The entrance ramp to the bridge on the Manhattan side was subsequently dedicated as the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp. [311] [312]

Several potential attacks or disasters have also been averted. In 1979, police disarmed a stick of dynamite placed under the Brooklyn approach, [313] and an artist in Manhattan was later arrested for the act. [314] In 2003, truck driver Iyman Faris was sentenced to about 20 years in prison for providing material support to Al-Qaeda, after an earlier plot to destroy the bridge by cutting through its support wires with blowtorches was thwarted. [315]

Arrests Edit

At 9:00 a.m. on May 19, 1977, artist Jack Bashkow climbed one of the towers for Bridging, a "media sculpture" by the performance group Art Corporation of America Inc. Seven artists climbed the largest bridges connected to Manhattan "to replace violence and fear in mass media for one day". When each of the artists had reached the tops of the bridges, they ignited bright-yellow flares at the same moment, resulting in rush hour traffic disruption, media attention, and the arrest of the climbers, though the charges were later dropped. Called "the first social-sculpture to use mass-media as art” by conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, [316] the event was on the cover of the New York Post, received international attention, and received ABC Eyewitness News' 1977 Best News of the Year award. [317] John Halpern documented the incident in the film Bridging, 1977. Halpern attempted another "bridging" "social sculpture" in 1979, when he planted a radio receiver, gunpowder and fireworks in a bucket atop one of the towers. [318] The piece was later discovered by police, leading to his arrest for possessing a bomb. [319]

On October 1, 2011, more than 700 protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement were arrested while attempting to march across the bridge on the roadway. [320] Protesters disputed the police account of the events and claimed that the arrests were the result of being trapped on the bridge by the NYPD. [321] The majority of the arrests were subsequently dismissed. [322]

On July 22, 2014, the two American flags on the flagpoles atop each tower were found to have been replaced by bleached-white American flags. [323] [324] Initially, cannabis activism was suspected as a motive, [325] [326] [327] but on August 12, 2014, two Berlin artists claimed responsibility for hoisting the two white flags, having switched out the original flags with their replicas. The artists said that the flags were meant to celebrate "the beauty of public space" and the anniversary of the death of German-born John Roebling, and they denied that it was an "anti-American statement". [328] [329] [330]

Anniversary celebrations Edit

The 50th-anniversary celebrations on May 24, 1933, included a ceremony featuring an airplane show, ships, and fireworks, [331] as well as a banquet. [332] During the centennial celebrations on May 24, 1983, President Ronald Reagan led a cavalcade of cars across the bridge. A flotilla of ships visited the harbor, officials held parades, [333] [334] and Grucci Fireworks held a fireworks display that evening. [335] [334] For the centennial, the Brooklyn Museum exhibited a selection of the original drawings made for the bridge's construction, including those by Washington Roebling. [336] Media coverage of the centennial was declared "the public relations triumph of 1983" by Inc. [337]

The 125th anniversary of the bridge's opening was celebrated by a five-day event on May 22–26, 2008, which included a live performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, a special lighting of the bridge's towers, and a fireworks display. [338] Other events included a film series, historical walking tours, information tents, a series of lectures and readings, a bicycle tour of Brooklyn, a miniature golf course featuring Brooklyn icons, and other musical and dance performances. [339] Just before the anniversary celebrations, artist Paul St George installed the Telectroscope, a video link on the Brooklyn side of the bridge that connected to a matching device on London's Tower Bridge. [340] A renovated pedestrian connection to Dumbo, Brooklyn, was also reopened before the anniversary celebrations. [341]

At the time of construction, contemporaries marveled at what technology was capable of, and the bridge became a symbol of the era's optimism. John Perry Barlow wrote in the late 20th century of the "literal and genuinely religious leap of faith" embodied in the bridge's construction, saying that the "Brooklyn Bridge required of its builders faith in their ability to control technology". [342]

Historical designations and plaques Edit

The Brooklyn Bridge has been listed as a National Historic Landmark since January 29, 1964, [13] [343] [344] and was subsequently added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. [12] The bridge has also been a New York City designated landmark since August 24, 1967, [2] and was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972. [345] In addition, it was placed on UNESCO's list of tentative World Heritage Sites in 2017. [346]

A bronze plaque is attached to the Manhattan anchorage, which was constructed on the site of the Samuel Osgood House at 1 Cherry Street in Manhattan. Named after Samuel Osgood, a Massachusetts politician and lawyer, it was built in 1770 and served as the first U.S. presidential mansion. [347] The Osgood House was demolished in 1856. [348]

Another plaque on the Manhattan side of the pedestrian promenade, installed by the city in 1975, indicates the bridge's status as a city landmark. [349] [350]

Culture Edit

The Brooklyn Bridge has had an impact on idiomatic American English. For example, references to "selling the Brooklyn Bridge" abound in American culture, sometimes as examples of rural gullibility but more often in connection with an idea that strains credulity. George C. Parker and William McCloundy were two early 20th-century con men who had perpetrated this scam successfully on unwitting tourists. [351]

As a tourist attraction, the Brooklyn Bridge is a popular site for clusters of love locks, wherein a couple inscribes a date and their initials onto a lock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the key into the water as a sign of their love. The practice is officially illegal in New York City and the NYPD can give violators a $100 fine. NYCDOT workers periodically remove the love locks from the bridge at a cost of $100,000 per year. [352] [353] [354]

To highlight the Brooklyn Bridge's cultural status, the city proposed building a Brooklyn Bridge museum near the bridge's Brooklyn end in the 1970s. [355] Though the museum was ultimately not constructed, the plans had been established after numerous original planning documents were found in Williamsburg. [356] These documents were given to the New York City Municipal Archives, where they are normally located, [357] though the documents were briefly displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1976. [356]

Media Edit

The bridge is often featured in wide shots of the New York City skyline in television and film, [74] and has been depicted in numerous works of art. [358] Fictional works have used the Brooklyn Bridge as a setting for instance, the dedication of a portion of the bridge, and the bridge itself, were key components in the 2001 film Kate & Leopold. [359] Furthermore, the Brooklyn Bridge has also served as an icon of America, with mentions in numerous songs, books, and poems. [360] Among the most notable of these works is that of American Modernist poet Hart Crane, who used the Brooklyn Bridge as a central metaphor and organizing structure for his second book of poetry, The Bridge (1930). [360] [361]

The Brooklyn Bridge has also been lauded for its architecture. One of the first positive reviews was "The Bridge As A Monument", a Harper's Weekly piece written by architecture critic Montgomery Schuyler and published a week after the bridge's opening. In the piece, Schuyler wrote: "It so happens that the work which is likely to be our most durable monument, and to convey some knowledge of us to the most remote posterity, is a work of bare utility not a shrine, not a fortress, not a palace, but a bridge." [362] Architecture critic Lewis Mumford cited the piece as the impetus for serious architectural criticism in the U.S. [360] He wrote that in the 1920s the bridge was a source of "joy and inspiration" in his childhood, [363] and that it was a profound influence in his adolescence. [364] Later critics would regard the Brooklyn Bridge as a work of art, as opposed to an engineering feat or a means of transport. [363] Not all critics appreciated the bridge, however. Henry James, writing in the early 20th century, cited the bridge as an ominous symbol of the city's transformation into a "steel-souled machine room". [363] [365]

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is detailed in numerous media sources, including David McCullough's 1972 book The Great Bridge [366] and Ken Burns's 1981 documentary Brooklyn Bridge. [367] It is also described in Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, a BBC docudrama series with an accompanying book, [368] as well as Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge, a biography published in 2017. [369]

Ran aground and sunk [ edit | edit source ]

However, her career proved very brief. On 26 February 1944, she ran hard aground and suffered extensive damage. While still stranded, Ailanthus was reassigned to the newly constituted 17th Naval District (the Alaskan portion of the old 13th Naval District to which she had originally been assigned). Finally, she was declared a total loss, and her name was struck from the Navy List on 9 June 1944. Ailanthus specific duty in the Aleutian Islands was to deliver perforated steel plating (Marsden matting) to a Navy Seabee contingent building an airfield on the westernmost island of Attu. After having offloaded her cargo the ship was caught in a violent winter storm, slipped her anchorage and was driven aground.


Originally ordered on 30 September 1941 as Yard Net Tenders ("YN"), the first twenty ships (YN 57-76) were to be constructed for the British under Lend-Lease, while a further twenty (YN 77-96) were for the United States. However, after a major redistribution of small combatant contracts this order was cancelled. Finally in May 1942 contracts for twenty vessels were awarded, with orders for YN 57-66 going to the Everett Pacific Shipbuilding & Drydock Company of Everett, Washington, and for YN 67-76 to the Pollock-Stockton Shipbuilding Company of Stockton, California. In July, 14 more ships were ordered from four shipyards four (YN 77-80) from the Barbour Boat Works in New Bern, North Carolina, five (YN 81-84 and 86) from Snow Shipyards Inc. in Rockland, Maine, one (YN-85) from the Canuelette Shipbuilding Company of Slidell, Louisiana, and four (YN 87-90) from the American Car and Foundry Company of St. Charles, Missouri. Finally, in September, the final batch of six ships (YN 91-96) were ordered from the Canuelette Company. On 19 February 1943, after a review of requirements, the first twenty ships were reallocated to the United States. In January 1944 the ships were reclassified as Auxiliary Net Layers, redesignated "AN" and renumbered. Ultimately the British allocation was reduced to five vessels (AN 73-77), and in British service they were called Boom Defence Vessels. On 9 August 1944 five of the ships that were still at their yards were ordered to be converted to Auxiliary Fleet Tugs, and AN-64, 65, and 70-72 were reclassified as ATA 214-218 on 12 August 1944. Ώ]

Ailanthus- YN-57 - History

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle

Simaroubaceae -- Quassia family

Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima), also called tree-of-heaven, Chinese sumac, paradise-tree, and copal-tree (fig. 1), is an introduced species that has become widely naturalized across the continent. Ailanthus has found an extremely wide variety of places to establish itself, from urban areas to reclaimed surface-mined lands. Its successful reproduction on impoverished soils and in harsh environments results from its ability to sprout from the roots and to seed prolifically. Ailanthus is found as an upper-canopy component, with varying frequency, in the eastern hardwood forests, apparently spreading by sprouting after harvest disturbance.


Native Range

Ailanthus, a native of China, was first introduced into the United States from England to Philadelphia, PA, in 1784. Extensive plantings in cities during the 1800's has resulted in its naturalization across the United States. An eastern range extends from Massachusetts, west to southern Ontario, southwest to Iowa, south to Texas, and east to northern Florida. It is found in less abundance from New Mexico west to California and north to Washington.


Because of its wide distribution, ailanthus grows under a variety of climatic conditions. Within the naturalized range of the species, the climate can be temperate to subtropical and humid to arid. In arid regions bordering the Great Plains, low precipitation, from 360 to 610 mm (14 to 24 in) annually with 8 dry months, can be tolerated (7), whereas in humid localities in the southern Appalachians rainfall can exceed 2290 mm (90 in) annually (15). Annual maximum and minimum temperatures are -9° and 36° C (15° and 97° F). Extreme cold and prolonged snow cover restricts the elevational range to the lower slopes of the Rocky Mountains and prolonged cold temperatures have reportedly caused dieback, but resprouting occurs (1,7).

Soils and Topography

Ailanthus grows best in loamy, moist soils but tolerates a wide range of textures, stoniness, and pH. On the dry end of the moisture spectrum it is drought hardy, and on the wet end it cannot tolerate flooding. The species is widely recognized by the urban populace since it frequently occupies and covers untended areas in cities. The species' tolerance of harsh sites led to testing for strip mine reclamation a study in eastern Kentucky found ailanthus better adapted to acid spoil than to calcareous spoil and capable of growing on spoils with low to moderate phosphorus (17). Soils on which ailanthus is most commonly found are within the orders Ultisols, Inceptisols, and Entisols.

Associated Forest Cover

Because of ailanthus' scattered and disjunct occurrence over a wide geographical range, a listing of associated species would have little significance. Forest stands around cities are common areas of invasion and establishment, but it may be an occasional or minor component of forests following disturbance anywhere within its naturalized range.

Life History

Reproduction and Early Growth

Flowering and Fruiting- The yellowish-green flowers of ailanthus appear from mid-April to July, south to north, depending on latitude. The flowers are arranged in large panicles at the ends of new shoots. A dioecious species, it bears male and female flowers on different trees, with male trees producing three to four times more flowers than are usually found on female trees (11). Male flowers are more conspicuous than female ones, emitting a disagreeable odor that attracts numerous insects. The foul odor of the male flowers makes the tree less favored for ornamental plantings in cities.

Seed Production and Dissemination- Pollination occurs in the spring and clusters of seed ripen from September to October. The fruit is a samara with the seed in the center of a thin, oblong wing, well adapted for wind dispersal. The ripe samaras are greenish yellow or reddish brown. The seed usually persists on the female tree through the winter, characterizing their appearance, but can be dispersed any time from October to the following spring. The species is a prolific seeder the most abundant seed production is from trees that are 12 to 20 years.

After collection, seeds should be spread to air-dry. Number of seeds per kilogram averages from 27,000 to 33,000 (12,235 to 14,970lb) and germination after cold stratification averages 65 to 85 percent (7,18). Seeds should be stored dry in sealed containers. The recommended cold stratification is 50 C (410 F) in moist sand for 60 days.

Seedling Development- Seeds, can be sown immediately upon ripening or stratified until spring. In nurseries, seeds are usually sown in the spring and seedlings transplanted early the following spring. Germination is epigeal. Vigorous first-year seedling growth of 1 to 2 m (3.3 to 6.6 ft) has been reported (1,11). Average survival on 11 different plantings in Indiana strip mines was 74 percent after the first growing season and then decreased to 58 percent after the first winter (5). This illustrates the winter damage and mortality frequently reported (1,7).

Because ailanthus is intolerant of shade, reproduction in natural stands appears sparse and erratic except by sprouting.

Vegetative Reproduction- The dense thickets of ailanthus reproduction on disturbed soils of road cuts and city building sites develop from root sprouts. Prolific root and stump sprouting has discouraged use of ailanthus as an ornamental species. After death or injury of the main stem the wide-spreading shallow root system can give rise to an abundance of sprouts. Sprouts have shown first-year height growth of 3 to 4 m (10 to 13 ft) (19). Thus, the species can be easily propagated from either root cuttings or from coppicing.

Sapling and Pole Stages to Maturity

Growth and Yield- Information on the growth and yield of ailanthus in the United States at this time is lacking. Maximum heights are often reported as 17 to 27 m (56 to 90 ft) and a maximum d.b.h. as 100 cm (40 in) (10,12). A short-lived species, it lives 30 to 50 years (20). On arid sites, 15 m (50 ft) or more of height growth can be reached in 25 years, with a straight bole for 10 to 12 m (33 to 40 ft) (7). At a New England location, trees reached a 10 to 15 m (33 to 49 ft) height and 9 to 11 cm (3.7 to 4.3 in) d.b.h. in 30 years (11).

Rooting Habit- Ailanthus roots are shallow spreading, often apparent at the soil surface, and roots near the trunk thicken into enlarged storage structures. These large rounded structures are assumed to be for water storage, contributing to the drought hardiness of the species (4). There is a general absence of a taproot with most roots present in the upper 46 cm (18 in) of soil. Within this zone, the deeper roots send numerous small roots to the surface. Adventitious shoots may arise from any of the surface roots.

Reaction to Competition- Ailanthus is a successional pioneer species, intolerant of shade (8). It competes successfully in mixed stands of hardwoods throughout its range, indicating that it was present at the start of stand establishment.

Allelopathic effects on over 35 species of hardwoods and 34 species of conifers have been demonstrated for water extracts of ailanthus leaves (14). Only white ash (Fraxinus americana) was not adversely affected. Germination and growth of slash and Monterey pines (Pinus elliottii and P radiata) were inhibited by scattering leaves of ailanthus collected in June and July on the seed bed surface, while leaves collected in October stimulated germination and growth (22). Such studies point to a strong allelopathic role for ailanthus in forest succession.

Damaging Agents- The species is relatively resistant to insect predation (7). Three insect species are known to feed on ailanthus foliage, however (2). Most noted of the foliage feeders in the eastern range, especially in the South, is the ailanthus web-worm (Atteva punctella). Larvae from this insect feed on leaves enclosed in a frail, silken web. Another larval feeder, imported from Asia, is the cynthia moth (Samia cynthia). Ailanthus is the preferred host for this insect, but wild cherry and plum can also become infested. The Asiatic garden beetle (Maladera castanea) feeds on numerous plants during night flights, including ailanthus.

Although many fungi have been reported on the leaves and twigs of ailanthus, the tree suffers little from disease, and its pathology need rarely be a consideration in its culture (9). If ailanthus can be said to be subject to a major disease it would be Verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum). Many trees were killed by this soil-borne wilt in Philadelphia in 1936. Shoestring root rot (Armillaria mellea) has been reported in trees in New York (16).

While this tree is rated moderately susceptible to Phymatotrichum root rot (Phymatotrichum omnivorum) in Texas, it is considered most satisfactory for planting in the southern parts of Texas root rot belt (20,23).

In Texas, seeds are eaten by a number of birds, including the pine grosbeak and the crossbill (21). Occasional browsing by deer has also been reported.

Wind, snow, and hard freezes are damaging to tops of seedlings, while mature trees are resistant to ice breakage (3). Resprouting usually occurs, although repeated damage leads to a reduction in seedling survival.

Special Uses

Ailanthus's main importance remains in urban forestry, the original purpose of its importation into the United States. The species, tolerance of noxious emissions of gases and various dusts assures its continued use for plantings in industrial environments. Tolerance of poor soils and low soil moisture dictates its selection for city plantings in arid climates as well as shelterbelt plantings and on strip mine reclamation projects, although its unfavorable traits (odor and root sprouting) have decreased city plantings.

Root sprouting into fields is also a problem in shelterbelt plantings.

Pollinating insects are attracted by the male flowers. Honey from ailanthus has been reported as having an initial foul taste that disappears with aging, resulting in an exceptionally good tasting honey (13).


In the two centuries since its introduction into North America, ailanthus has probably become differentiated into genetically different subpopulations based on seed traits. Seed characteristics of ailanthus have been identified as traits that differentiate varieties and geographical strains. Ailanthus with bright red samaras compared to the more common greenish yellow has been named Ailanthus altissima var. erythrocarpa (Carr.) Rehd. A study of 11 seed sources from California and Eastern States found that seed width and weight were correlated with latitude (6). Northern sources have wider, heavier seed than the more southern sources.

Bug motel

Ailanthus is a plague throughout North American forests, pushing out native plants, such as red oak, while damaging infrastructure and farmland by wrecking sewers, pavement, and building foundations.

The tree thrives in fire-damaged or human-disturbed areas, including along highways, and once it takes root, it’s nearly impossible to remove. Ailanthus grow by eight feet in height in its first year, cloning itself through underground roots called “suckers,” or via hundreds of thousands of windblown seeds shed by a single tree. The tree, which can live a century, reaches heights of 70 feet.

The species is also allelopathic, meaning it affects the growth of other plants through the release of chemicals that can prevent other plants from growing near it. (Read how U.S. national parks are overrun by invasive species.)

The only strategies farmers and land managers currently have against Ailanthus are applying powerful herbicides or periodically chopping the trees down.

But “within a year, it just comes back bushier and more aggressive,” says Rachel Brooks, a Ph.D. student formerly at Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Science and co-author on the 2020 study. “It becomes pretty expensive and labor intensive.”

To make matters worse, Ailanthus acts like a motel for other invasive species, such as the brown marmorated stink bug and Asiatic shot-hole borer, two insects that have damaged U.S. forests, particularly those with maple species, not to mention many commercial crops, such as apples and peaches.

But none are attracted to it like the spotted lanternfly, one of the most prolific and detrimental invasive insects in North America. These colorful planthoppers swarm the weed by the thousands and drink its sap before spreading to other agricultural plants.

“They’re both from China, so they're reconnecting with their native species,” explains Kristen Wickert, another of the 2020 study’s coauthors and an entomologist and plant pathologist at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, who also serves as the state’s spotted lanternfly coordinator.

Ailanthus- YN-57 - History

USS Pinon (AN-66) on 20 March 1944
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: AILANTHUS (AN-38)
Design: Navy YN-57/AN-38
Displacement (tons): 1,175 light, 1,460 lim.
Dimensions (feet): 194.5' oa, 169.2' wl x 37.0' e x 13.5 lim.
Original Armament: 1-3"/50 2-20mm
Later armaments: 1-3"/50 3-20mm (from Apr. 1944) 1-3"/50 4-20mm (from Nov. 1944)
Complement: 43 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 12.1
Propulsion (HP): 1,200
Machinery: Diesel electric, 1 screw


AN Name Ord. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
38 AILANTHUS 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 17 Nov 42 20 May 43 2 Dec 43
39 BITTERBUSH 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 30 Nov 42 30 Jun 43 15 Jan 44
40 ANAQUA 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 16 Dec 42 16 Aug 43 21 Feb 44
41 BARETTA 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 19 Dec 42 9 Oct 43 18 Mar 44
42 CLIFFROSE 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 25 May 43 27 Nov 43 30 Apr 44
43 SATINLEAF 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 5 Jul 43 15 Feb 44 8 Apr 44
44 CORKWOOD 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 18 Aug 43 29 Mar 44 16 May 44
45 CORNEL 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 9 Oct 43 21 Apr 44 6 Jun 44
46 MASTIC 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 27 Nov 43 19 May 44 4 Jul 44
47 CANOTIA 12 May 42 Everett Pacific SB 16 Feb 44 4 Jul 44 31 Jul 44
48 LANCEWOOD 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 15 Oct 42 2 May 43 18 Oct 43
49 PAPAYA 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 2 Nov 42 23 May 43 1 Dec 43
50 CINNAMON 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 6 Nov 42 6 Jun 43 10 Jan 44
51 SILVERBELL 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 7 Nov 42 19 Jun 43 16 Feb 44
52 SNOWBELL 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 3 May 43 14 Sep 43 16 Mar 44
53 SPICEWOOD 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 25 May 43 6 Dec 43 7 Apr 44
54 MANCHINEEL 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 8 Jun 43 1 Jan 44 26 Apr 44
55 TORCHWOOD 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 22 Jun 43 19 Feb 44 12 May 44
56 WINTERBERRY 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 17 Sep 43 22 Mar 44 30 May 44
57 VIBURNUM 12 May 42 Pollock-Stockton SB 9 Dec 43 26 Apr 44 27 Jun 44
58 ABELE 30 Jul 42 Barbour Boat, New Bern 8 Jan 43 15 Jul 43 2 Jun 44
59 TEREBINTH 30 Jul 42 Barbour Boat, New Bern 24 Mar 43 19 Aug 43 5 Aug 44
60 CATCLAW 30 Jul 42 Snow SY 24 Sep 42 22 May 43 14 Jan 44
61 CHINABERRY 30 Jul 42 Snow SY 24 Sep 42 19 Jul 43 12 Mar 44
62 HOP TREE 30 Jul 42 Snow SY 24 Sep 42 14 Oct 43 18 May 44
63 WHITEWOOD 30 Jul 42 Snow SY 24 Oct 42 21 Apr 44 17 Jul 44
66 PINON 30 Jul 42 American Car & Fdry 9 Mar 43 10 Jan 44 31 Mar 44
67 SHELLBARK 14 Sep 42 Canulette SB 15 Jan 43 31 Oct 43 12 Apr 44
68 SILVERLEAF 14 Sep 42 Canulette SB 3 Feb 43 11 Dec 43 26 May 44
69 STAGBUSH 14 Sep 42 Canulette SB 9 Feb 43 29 Jan 44 30 Aug 44
73 British PRECEPT 30 Jul 42 Barbour Boat, New Bern 5 Aug 43 11 Apr 44 --
74 British PRECISE 30 Jul 42 Barbour Boat, New Bern 14 Sep 43 20 Jul 44 --
75 British PREFECT 30 Jul 42 American Car & Fdry 1 Apr 43 8 Mar 44 --
76 British PRETEXT 30 Jul 42 American Car & Fdry 1 May 43 23 May 44 --
77 British PREVENTER 30 Jul 42 American Car & Fdry 20 May 43 9 Aug 44 --

AN Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
38 AILANTHUS -- 9 Jun 44 14 Mar 44 Lost --
39 BITTERBUSH 4 Jan 46 21 Jan 46 6 May 47 MC/D 22 Apr 47
40 ANAQUA 7 Feb 46 26 Feb 46 6 Mar 47 MC/D 3 Mar 47
41 BARETTA 4 Apr 46 8 May 46 24 Jan 47 MC/D 20 Jan 47
42 CLIFFROSE 10 Jan 47 7 Feb 47 10 Jan 47 FLC --
43 SATINLEAF 4 Apr 46 8 May 46 7 May 47 MC/D 11 Apr 47
44 CORKWOOD 7 Mar 46 20 Mar 46 18 Jun 47 MC/D 18 Jun 47
45 CORNEL 15 Feb 46 12 Mar 46 29 Jan 47 MC/D 27 Jan 47
46 MASTIC 1 Mar 46 28 Mar 46 6 Jun 47 MC/D 4 Jun 47
47 CANOTIA 18 Feb 46 20 Mar 46 21 Apr 47 MC/D 15 Apr 47
48 LANCEWOOD 11 Feb 46 12 Mar 46 3 May 47 MC/D 22 Apr 47
49 PAPAYA 31 Jan 46 25 Feb 46 9 Apr 47 MC/D 21 Mar 47
50 CINNAMON 25 Mar 47 23 Apr 47 25 Mar 47 FLC --
51 SILVERBELL 10 Jan 47 28 Jan 47 10 Jan 47 FLC --
52 SNOWBELL 5 Dec 45 19 Dec 45 14 Jan 46 Dest. --
53 SPICEWOOD 20 Feb 46 12 Mar 46 18 Apr 47 MC/D 17 Apr 47
54 MANCHINEEL 11 Mar 46 12 Apr 46 18 Jun 47 MC/D 25 Mar 47
55 TORCHWOOD 26 Oct 46 23 Apr 47 26 Oct 46 FLC --
56 WINTERBERRY 15 Feb 46 26 Feb 46 31 Mar 47 MC/D 13 Mar 47
57 VIBURNUM 3 Jan 46 21 Jan 46 12 Aug 47 MC/D 21 Jul 47
58 ABELE 1 Mar 46 28 Mar 46 7 May 47 MC/D 11 Apr 47
59 TEREBINTH 31 Jan 46 26 Feb 46 23 Apr 47 MC/D 21 Apr 47
60 CATCLAW 19 Apr 46 1 May 46 20 Apr 46 FLC --
61 CHINABERRY 26 Mar 46 5 Mar 47 27 Feb 50 Sold --
62 HOP TREE 1 Mar 46 20 Mar 46 23 Apr 47 MC/D 15 Apr 47
63 WHITEWOOD 1 Apr 49 7 Jun 49 3 Mar 50 Sold
66 PINON 5 Mar 46 20 Mar 46 16 Apr 47 MC/D 15 Apr 47
67 SHELLBARK 19 Apr 46 1 May 46 20 Apr 46 FLC --
68 SILVERLEAF 18 Apr 46 5 Jun 46 31 Mar 47 MC/D 26 Mar 47
69 STAGBUSH 26 Mar 46 21 May 46 3 May 47 MC/D 22 Apr 47
73 British PRECEPT -- 28 Mar 46 14 Oct 44 Trf. 19 Mar 47
74 British PRECISE -- 28 Mar 46 21 Dec 44 Trf. 10 Apr 47
75 British PREFECT -- 28 Mar 46 3 Jun 44 Trf. 21 Mar 47
76 British PRETEXT -- 28 Mar 46 5 Aug 44 Trf. 20 Jul 47
77 British PREVENTER -- 28 Mar 46 30 Sep 44 Trf. 18 Mar 47

Class Notes:
Built with funds appropriated for Maintenance, Bureau of Ships (AN 38-57, no fiscal year designated but probably FY 1942) and FY 1942 (AN 58-77). Light displacements varied from 1,100 to 1,225 tons. Wood hulls (substituted for steel around 10 Apr 42). These ships were included in the huge building programs of late 1941 and early 1942 for small patrol and mine warfare combatants. CNO directed the construction of YN 57-66 (later AN 38-47) for the British on 30 Sep 41, construction of YN 67-76 (later AN 48-57) for the British was directed on 25 Feb 42, and procurement of YN 77-96 (later AN 58-77 in different order) for the U.S. was included in the 1799 Vessels Program on 17 Jan 42. On 1 Apr 42 the Bureau of Ships asked for clearance to order YN 57-96 at three yards: American SB, Cleveland (YN 57-72), John H. Mathis (YN 73-84), and Miami SB (YN 85-96). This plan was caught up in a major redistribution of small combatant contracts and these contracts were not awarded. Instead in May YN 57-76 were awarded to two builders in place of PCE contracts that had been awarded in March and cancelled in April, YN 57-66 replacing PCE 897-916 at Everett Pacific and YN 67-76 replacing PCE 937-56 at Pollock-Stockton. YN 77-90 were assigned to three yards in July and YN 91-96 brought up the rear in September.

On 19 Feb 43, after reviewing both U.S. and British requirements for net tenders and the numbers they had in service and in procurement, CominCh asked the Munitions Assignment Board to reallocate to the U.S. the 20 that had been ordered for the UK. Ultimately the UK allocation was reduced to five units (AN 73-77). On 10 Jul 44 CNO directed the cancellation of ten of these ships as part of a cutback in naval shipbuilding, but on 5 Aug 44 he withdrew this cancellation and directed that they be completed as tugs. On 9 Aug 44 he noted that only five of the ships, plus those allocated to the UK, remained undelivered at their builders' yards and reduced the number of tug conversions to these five. AN 64-65 and 70-72 (ex YN 85-86 and 94-96) were reclassified ATA 214-218 (q.v.) on 12 Aug 44.

The three armament configurations of this class are easily recognized. The original design had two 20mm guns on top of the bridge and a small rangefinder platform on a pedestal between the bridge and the stack. On 7 Mar 44 the Bureau of Ordnance advised that it did not intend to fit rangefinders to this class and recommended that a 20mm gun be installed on the platform instead. On 18 Apr 44 CNO approved this change for both the AN-38 and AN-78 classes. The platform was to be raised enough to provide maximum arcs of fire, including over the 20mm guns on the bridge. On 29 Sep 44 BuShips informed CNO that this arrangement had resulted in an unsatisfactory condition on TEREBINTH (AN-59), which reported that the arc of fire for the third 20mm gun was restricted, that the platform (located just forward of the smokestack) was too hot to permit storage of ready service ammunition, that crew members of this gun had become sick from stack gas fumes, and that the vessel lacked anti-aircraft protection aft. In response the Bureau recommended removing the third gun and its platform, removing the mainmast and its boom (which other modifications had rendered unnecessary), installing two 20mm guns on a platform at the after end of the deckhouse, and installing a light pole mast aft of the smokestack to support the radio antennas and range light. The change was soon approved for AN 39-63 and 66-69. On 28 Apr 45 the four 20mm single mounts were ordered replaced with four 20mm twins, but this change does not seem to have been implemented in this class.

Many of these ships were disposed of under a postwar MC sales program for small vessels that was distinct from its programs for large vessels. MC and Navy records both tend to give the dates on which the vessels were delivered to the buyers (the Navy data being in the "Disp" column in the table and the MC dates in the "MA Sale" column). However MC records sometimes give what appear to be the dates the sales were awarded, and Navy records sometimes give additional delivery dates (some from MC delivery receipts) that differ from those in the table. All of these alternative dates are provided in the ship notes for this class to show the complexity of these sales.

Lengths on a plan dated 3 Sep 43 were as follows: 198.2' overall (including forward horn and stern chafing protection), 181.7' on main deck (outside quarter logs to face of stem), 173.9' on 10-foot waterline (including 1/2" stem band), and 169.2' between perpendiculars. The beam at deck edge to outside of planking was 35.6', the extreme beam to outside of planking was 37.0', and the mean load draft (above bottom of keel shoe) was 11.7'.

Watch the video: Айлант высочайший, китайский ясень Ailanthus altissima Mill. Swingle (December 2022).

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