We call the confluence of the Harlem and the East Rivers in New York City Hell's Gate. Dramatic, I suppose, but why not! A bridge opened over Hell's Gate in 1917. It's an arch of iron girders. The arch thickens at each end. It thins toward the center. You get a feeling of buoyancy looking at it.
Othmar Ammann, who designed the bridge, caught Hell for it. This, says writer Christopher Bonanos, was an age of ornament, gravity, solidity, and dignity. Ammann's design was imperfect in some ways. But its simplicity, lightness, and freedom signaled a new era in design.
Essay by John H. Lienhard.