Page 71 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - December 2019
P. 71

reinvigorates the beauty of my ancestor’s work. This work   Now, with Dave’s new book, the culmination of all his
         is now delivered once again from the realm of visual cliché.”  photographic skill, physical prowess in scaling the bridges,
           Photography intrigued Dave Frieder long before he ever   and his factual knowledge of all there is to know about the
         climbed any of New York’s suspension bridges. And from the   bridges has come together in his book. Not one to scrimp on
         spectacular images provided by 20 different crossings, climb   details, Frieder has assembled a veritable brief encyclopedia
         bridges he clearly has. On display in this book I am proud   of all of the 20 bridges featured within the work’s pages.
         to now own, Frieder’s knowledge of the design, structure,   Since the building of a bridge is something analogous to
         construction, history and background on this city’s bridges   the making of a movie, in the credits on a bridge’s construc-
         shines through down to the minutest detail, such as wine   tion, the chief engineer may be best considered the director
         being stored in starkly displayed. The reader can be content   of the entire project, according to Frieder, who knows much
         to take in those stunning views from their armchair or couch   about the ins  and outs  of bridge design and construction.
         – and leave the climbing to Dave and his camera.     Other positions are the engineer of design, assistant to the
           Though not an engineer by training, Frieder has more gen-  engineer of design and so forth. Perhaps one of the reasons
         eral knowledge of suspension bridge design and the work of   that Dave Frieder is so successful at what he does is that
         the wire rope cables that make them possible than most in-  he gravitates to work involving solo decision-making skills.
         volved with bridge engineering and design. He knows many   “Once when sitting for a filmed interview at the edge of
         of the factors involved in bridge construction,  the varied   the Hudson River below the George Washington Bridge, the
         features of each individual bridge and how they are put to-  sharp rocks where I was formed my seat — quite uncomfort-
         gether to carry their enormous loads. This expert knowledge   able. I expressed to the director of the segment that I was in
         certainly applies to those structures  scattered throughout   pain. He told me he didn’t care.
         the landscape of metropolitan New York.               “At that point I thought to myself that those in the acting
           “My dad gave me a little Brownie camera with the old 127   profession can have their job. But not me.”
         film when we moved from Queens, NY to New Jersey,” ex-  Other  on-going  and more  recent  points  Dave brings  up
         plains Frieder. “Dad also encouraged me to try gymnastics.   include the replacement of the cast iron decorations on top
                                                              of the Manhattan Bridge. The Department of Transporta-
                                                              tion is changing out the sphere-like objects which Frieder
                                                              reminds us are actually unique finials, not spheres.
                                                               “They’re originally crafted from cast iron back about 110
                                                              years. With that much time and weathering they have rust-
                                                              ed and corroded enough for them to be considered too dan-
                                                              gerous to actually try to repair.
                                                               “New ones have been made out of cast steel this time and
                                                              in addition to the finials the entire stands beneath them will
                                                              be replaced. The Queensborough Bridge has finials as well.
                                                              They’re a bit different than those on the Manhattan Bridge.
                                                               “I call these objects on top of the Queensborough Bridge
                                                              Crowns as to me that is what they resemble. This fact makes
                                                              it even easier to link  the Crowns  to the Queensborough
                                                              Bridge which is a good fit.”
                                                               Some five years ago, Dave Frieder was called in to offer ad-
                                                              ditional information on the construction and structure of the
                                                              Verrazzano Narrows Bridge upon the fiftieth anniversary of
                                                              its opening. But ask about any other bridge and he also has
                                                              a background on that one and a wealth of knowledge. For
                                                              example, he found the Throgs Neck Bridge the toughest to
                                                              photograph. Of all of New York’s bridges it is rather generic,
                                                              bland, and with few distinguishing characteristics. Even the
         Williamsburg Bridge “Downward View of Tower and Trusswork from   nearby Whitestone Bridge, paralleling the Throgs Neck has
         Main Cables, 1999.                                   more graceful rounded arches on its slender grey towers.
         But at first I wasn’t especially crazy about that idea. But   The Goethals Bridge  — please pronounce it “GO-Thuls” -
         in time I found that I liked it. “As my strength increased I   though the original span is no longer standing, now has a
         started to excel in gymnastics in high school. I became a bit   nearly identical sister structure, the Outerbridge Crossing.
         addicted to it — that and the New York City area bridges.   This latter bridge just a bit longer than the old Goethals, con-
         I credit my father as the  one  who  got me started in  both   necting New Jersey to the borough of Staten Island. The Out-
         gymnastics, photography and seeing the world around me   erbridge Crossing is slated as well to have a replacement ca-
         through the lens of the camera.”                     ble stay bridge as the current bridge is structurally deficient.
           Frieder’s father pointed out the interesting photographic   Frieder was even the subject of a New York Times article on
         composition of the work of Ansel Adams. Frieder’s admira-  both his passion for the old time erector sets of his childhood
         tion for the work of Adams was inspired by what his father   and the fact that the chief engineer on the George Washington
         said initially. Over time he spoke to many of the area’s bridge   Bridge was actually influenced by his noticing his own little boy’s
         engineers as well as an assistant of Adams, all leading to the   playing with his erector set. Erector sets first came on the scene
         eventual success in his idea to photograph the bridges.  in 1913, less than 20 years before the opening of the GW Bridge.
           “It was the work of all of these various individuals that   The old Triborough Bridge, now called — at least by signs
         inspired me to push this  project through;  civil  engineers   motorists  must  discover  and navigate amid  —  the  RFK
         taught me a lot. But I eventually began to surpass them in   Bridge, is one among a handful that have had ill-fated or
         my knowledge of bridge history and trivia.”                                           continued on next page

                                                            Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   December 2019  71
   66   67   68   69   70   71   72   73   74   75   76