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Kosciuszko Bridge

Was there ever a bridge more unloved?

The unprepossessing Kosciuszko Bridge has the modest job description of connecting Maspeth to Greenpoint over the now-Superfunded Newtown Creek. It opened in 1939, replacing the Penny Bridge (pictured, right) which wasn't, let's be honest, much in the looks department either.

Job performance? On its way out the door. Traffic snarls around the bridge are a near-permanent condition. Structural integrity: miserable. The Kosciuszko was chosen as the worst bridge in the state by the General Contractors Association in 2009.

The truss bridge's namesake is Polish-born Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817), a hero of the American Revolution for, among other things, the fortification of West Point and crucial skills at Saratoga which helped create a turning point in the Colonists' fortunes. (You can read the full story in Alex Storozynski's book The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution.) One thing is certain: Kosciuszko was a brilliant engineer and he deserves a better bridge than the crumbling one with his name on it.

And one is on the way… ish. Last spring, Governor Cuomo announced the design and contractor team for the $555 million replacement. The eastbound section is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Worse than being hated, perhaps, is being ignored: Check the Times archives and you'll find the Brooklyn Bridge mentioned, give or take, 425,000 times throughout the years . The Kosciuszko? 302 times. Sufjan Stevens, who composed the radiant, Coplandish cinematic suite The BQE in 2007, gives the Kosciuszko the most fleeting of glances in the piece. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. has gotten more consideration from Stevens than the K bridge.

There are artists, though, giving the bridge some love and attention in its dotage. Here are three of them:

Valeri Larko
Kosciuszko Bridge

Jennifer (Jaye) Fox
(Ms. Fox has a series on the bridge)

Elena Soterakis
Kosciuszko Bridge

Elizabeth Street

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