Ironworker Shares Story of Working on NYC Bridge

Dec 16, 2014

New York City’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the United States.

In 1964, author Gay Talese, published, The Bridge chronicling the construction industry. He wrote: “When I first moved to New York in the middle 1950s, I often asked myself: Whose fingerprints are on the bolts and beams of these soaring edifices in this overreaching city? Who are the high-wire walkers, wearing boots and hard hats, earning their living by risking their lives?”

Talese recently interviewed Bob Walsh, an ironworker who built the Verrazano for StoryCorps, a national project to record, preserve and share stories of Americans in sound. The ironworker tradition dates back five generations in his family. At 18, he started working on the bridge.

“My oldest brother, he was in the business. There was a demand for a lot of apprentices, so my brother asked me if I’d like to work on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ It was gonna be the biggest bridge in the world at the time,” he says.

Read the original article published by NPR staff at, or, listen to the audio produced for Morning Edition by Jud Esty-Kendall for StoryCorps at


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