Archive for April 4th, 2008

4th April

First Published in The New York Sun, April 4, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

In the late 1750s, fed up with steep tolls on the King’s Bridge, then the only link between New York and the American mainland, the business community of the day underwrote the construction of the Farmers Free Bridge between Manhattan and what we now call the Bronx.

The opening was celebrated at the time by a great barbecue on New Years Day, 1759. In short order, the toll revenue dried up on the King’s Bridge, and the levies were abandoned. The lure of free travel to the mainland turned out to be so compelling that a new road was shortly built connecting the new free bridge with the Boston and Albany Post Roads. It could be argued that this event was a key event in the development of New York as an economic power.