Manhattan Island is separated from New York and New Jersey by the Hudson and the East Rivers. The East River is actually a swiftly moving tidal strait carrying water between New York Bay and Long Island Sound.
Traveling north, the first bridge that crosses the East River (between Manhattan and Brooklyn) is one of the world's most famous structures, the Brooklyn Bridge. Even the most cursory description of this bridge would take many pages. If you are interesting in learning more about this bridge, I would recommend reading The Great Bridge by David McCullough (I also enjoyed David's history of John Adams).
John Roebling was able to advance cable and cable bridge technology during an illustrious career in the United States. He successfully convinced politicians of the economics and feasibility of building a bridge across the East River after the Civil War. Unfortunately, he died of an infection after his foot was crushed by a barge at the start of the bridge's construction. His son took over, but he was soon incapacitated by the bends from working on the closed caisson construction. His wife Emily Roebling took over and spent the next eleven years completing the bridge.
However, it was John Roebling's design that makes this bridge such a pleasure to everyone who sees it. The large granite towers with their majestic gothic arches, the wonderful upper deck where runners and bicyclists fight their daily war, the splendid views of the Manhattan skyline, all make traveling under or across the bridge a rewarding experience.
Note that this bridge is a combination suspension/cable-stayed structure with the diagonal stays clearly seen in this photo.
New York City's Bridges: Brooklyn Bridge by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.