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The Bridges of Kings County: Friends Share a Passion for Trestles

By Nikhita Venugopal | February 28, 2013 10:53am | Updated on February 28, 2013 11:26am

CARROLL GARDENS — When Antonio Masi and Joan Marans Dim met in high school, they probably didn’t realize that their past and futures would be tied to New York’s majestic bridges.

Masi, a Long Island resident, realized his fascination with his connection to the Queensboro Bridge, a bridge that his grandfather, an Italian immigrant, helped build in the early 1900s. Dim, who grew up on the Upper West Side, says her bridge was the George Washington, one that she has memories of driving across with her father.

In 2011, the two came together to create “New York’s Golden Age of Bridges,” a collaborative book on the city’s nine long-span suspension bridges, with paintings by Masi and historical essays on each structure by Dim, a Carroll Gardens resident.

“They were essential to the growth of the city,” said Dim, who wrote each essay from a social, political and cultural perspective of New York.

Dim and Masi will present their work at Carroll Gardens Library on March 19, specifically focusing on the four bridges that connect to Brooklyn — Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge.

The evening will also feature photos from “Images of Red Hook” by Thomas Rupolo, who will portray the neighborhood’s vibrant, industrial community through his work, according to the press release.

“New York’s Golden Age of Bridges” includes Dim’s essays that focus largely on the deep, often conflicted, political history of the bridges and Masi’s artwork, a unique representation of the structures, she said.

As long-time friends, Dim and Masi would often take walks over the bridges of New York, a pastime that has led them to cross almost every one in the city. It was through these walks that they began to understand the bridge’s personality, from the vibrations under their feet to the views across the river.

“[They’re] almost like people,” Masi said.

One of their early and most memorable walks, said Dim, was over the Manhattan Bridge. At first, it was not tremendously enjoyable, since it was a cold day and the rumblings of the train overhead that made it difficult for them to converse. But as they reached the center of the walkway, the two saw an “astounding view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York Harbor.”

“It’s almost impossible to imagine the city without these bridges,” Dim said.

Antonio Masi and Joan Marans Dim will discuss their book “New York’s Golden Age of Bridges” on March 19, 7 to 9 p.m., at Carroll Gardens Library. Wine and cheese will be served at the free event.

For more information, visit Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library website.