Strike Coverage: Brooklyn Bridge Not Built for Crowds

Famous Span Swayed During Exodus for 2003 Blackout

M.I.T.'s Ochsendorf says he doesn't believe the bridge would ever collapse, but that his biggest concern would be cables or vertical suspenders snapping on the bridge. That occurred in 1981, killing a pedestrian; the cables have since been replaced.

But Cambridge's McRobie offers a philosophical perspective: "When you have a crowd on the bridge, you're at the very limits of human knowledge. We understand the bridge very well, but we don't understand the crowds."

And should another catastrophe force him to again walk from Manhattan to his Bedford-Stuyvesant home, Jomo Prince will try out a new plan to get over the East River. "I'm going to take the Manhattan."

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