The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn. It spans the Narrows, a body of water linking the relatively enclosed Upper New York Bay with Lower New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge carries thirteen lanes of Interstate 278, with seven lanes on the upper level and six on the lower level. The span is named for Giovanni da Verrazzano, who in 1524 became the first documented European explorer to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River.
Engineer David B. Steinman first proposed a bridge across the Narrows in the late 1920s. Subsequent proposals of vehicular crossings across the Narrows were deferred over the next twenty years. A 1920s attempt to build a rail tunnel across the Narrows was aborted, as was another 1930s plan for vehicular tubes underneath the Narrows. Discussion of a tunnel resurfaced in the mid-1930s and early 1940s, but were again denied. In the late 1940s, urban planner Robert Moses championed a bridge across the Narrows as a way to connect Staten Island with the rest of the city. Various issues delayed the start of construction until 1959. The bridge opened on November 21, 1964, and a second deck beneath the existing span was opened in June 1969. The New York City government began a $1.5 billion reconstruction of the bridge's two decks in 2014.
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge has a central span of 4,260 feet. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world from 1964 until it was surpassed by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981. The bridge has the 14th-longest main span in the world, as well as the longest in the Americas. The bridge marks the gateway to New York Harbor. All ships arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey pass underneath the bridge and must therefore be built to accommodate the clearance under it.
Because of a naming error in the original construction contract, the bridge's name was originally spelled "Verrazano-Narrows Bridge" with only one "z" when it was officially named in 1960, despite the explorer's name having two "z"s. In October 2018, after the bridge had been incorrectly spelled for 58 years, the name of the bridge was officially corrected to "Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge".