ROCKAWAYS — The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge took center stage this year when it raised its central span 145 feet above water to allow the Space Shuttle Enterprise to float on a barge to its new home at the Intrepid Museum.
The bridge, which connects Brooklyn to the Rockaways in Queens, marked yet another landmark Tuesday as it celebrated its 75th birthday.
Toasting the bridge on its diamond jubilee, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota praised the structure for not just connecting businesses and communities between both boroughs, but also for allowing "millions to experience the joy of cool ocean breezes."
Opening to traffic in 1937, the bridge’s lift span measures 4,000 feet from end to end — making it the longest of its type in North America.
The center span, which was raised to let Enterprise float under, is lifted about a 100 times each year to let sea traffic pass through, the MTA said.
These days, about 7.6 million people use the bridge annually as they shuttle between Brooklyn and Queens — a far cry from the 2 million commuters that used it when the bridge first opened in the late 1930s.
In the summer, traffic increases almost 50 percent, MTA officials said.
The bridge’s diamond jubilee will be celebrated with a photo exhibit at the Queens Library’s Seaside branch, at 116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd., showing historic pictures of the bridge as it was being built, which runs through July.
The Greater Astoria Historical Society, in conjunction with MTA Bridges and Tunnels, will also conduct a walking tour along the bridge’s pedestrian path on July 7.