No Sleep Til Brooklyn. Thanks for Everything, Emily Roebling

It’s nearly impossible to consider a world without the influence of this most diverse of the 5 great boroughs of New York: Brooklyn.

Where would music be without Biggie Smalls, Carole King, Nas, Barbra Streisand, Jay Z, Lou Reed, Buddy Rich, Mos Def, Arlo Guthrie, Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, David Geffen, Jam Master Jay, and most of the Wu Tang Clan and Beastie Boys?

Where would American Cinema, Television, & Theatre be without Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Judge Judy, Norman Mailer, Spike Lee, Rita Hayworth, Arthur Miller, Rosie Perez, Paul Sorvino, the outrageously beautiful & talented Marisa Tomei, Edie Falco, & Mae West.

The History of Crime in America could never be written without the likes of notorious criminals Al Capone or Bugsy Siegel.

Or the legitimate genius of luminaries like Bobby Fischer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Carl Sagan, Bernie Sanders, & Emily Warren Roebling. (Haven’t heard of Ms. Roebling… We’ll get to her later.)

Can we mention American Comedy without the boundless talents of Chris Rock, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Jerry Stiller, Larry David, or Eddie Murphy?

How about Sports: Michael Jordan, Vince Lombardi, Joe Torre, Mike Tyson.


What do all of these quintessential Americans have in common?




No Sleep Till Brooklyn.

It’s a song.

It’s a motto.

It’s a battle cry.


The Brooklyn Bridge is a monument to American grit and ingenuity by way of the incredible efforts of a Emily Warren Roebling (I promised we’d get back to her...).

During the American Civil War, Emily Warren married Washington Roebling, a notable civil engineer whose father, John A. Roebling, was initially charged with designing the Brooklyn Bridge. Tragedy struck the gentlemen Roeblings with John dying during the very early design phases of the bridge build due to tetanus and Washington Roebling getting the ‘bends’ after early trials with diving decompression. Like most notable Brooklynites, Emily rose to the occasion, and took the helm of the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge. The "first woman field engineer" was born out of necessity and instinct.


Ever the lady, Emily attended her ailing husband while simultaneously tasked with relaying information from him to his assistants and reporting the progress of work on the bridge. Emily thirst for knowledge and competency instilled a desire to acquire an extensive knowledge of the engineering subjects needed to guide the masses in the build of the bridge. For the next fourteen years, Emily's dedication to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge was unyielding. She took over much of the chief engineer's duties, including day-to-day supervision and project management. Emily and collaborated with her bedridden husband to plan the bridge's continued construction. She dealt with politicians, competing engineers, and all those associated with the work on the bridge to the point where people believed she was behind the bridge's design.

The Brooklyn Bridge was finally completed in 1883. In advance of the official opening, carrying a rooster as a sign of victory, Emily Roebling was the first to cross the bridge by carriage.

If there was ever any doubt that people from Brooklyn are born with the gift of hustle, look no further than the looming, eponymous bridge, the '8th Wonder of the World', New York’s beautiful Brooklyn Bridge.


In Numbers:

After 14 years and 27 deaths while being constructed, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is opened in 1883, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Brooklyn did not become part of New York City until 1898. The Beastie Boys song came out 88 years later in 1986. Today, 125,000 motor vehicles cross the Brooklyn Bridge daily. The bridge itself weighs 20,000 pounds. The bridge cost US$15.5 million in 1883 dollars (about US$385,554,000 in today's dollars)


 In 1885, two years after the opening of The Brooklyn Bridge, the printmaking firm of Currier & Ives produced a lithograph called The Grand Birds Eye View of the Great East River Suspension Bridge Connecting the cities of New York & Brooklyn. This beautiful panoramic print of what is now known as The Brooklyn Bridge shows a splendid panorama of the Bay and the port of New York.


You can now enjoy this restored print in your own home by shopping our store! Take home a piece of American history.


Brooklyn Bridge Birds Eye View Map - 1885



Vitali Map Company is in the constant pursuit of preserving unique maps from around the world and throughout recorded history. Respectfully restored and printed on museum quality archival paper, our maps are made-to-order, framed and carefully delivered to your door.

Tony Vitali

Senior UX/UI Designer at