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231 East 22nd Street, Suite 23 New York NY 10010

Fax: +88 (0) 202 0000 001

Queensboro Bridge, Manhattan Approach

Location: 59th Street from Second Avenue to the East River, New York, NY

Landmark Status: NYC Individual Landmark; National Register of Historic Places

Original Designers: Henry Hornbostel (Architect), Gustav Lindenthal (engineer)

Date of Construction: 1901-1909

Scope of Work: Restoration of Gustavino Tile Vaults, Terra Cotta Columns and Cast-Iron Kiosk Design of Pedestrian Ramp and Municipal Shop Space Below Existing Roadway

Awards: Excellence in Conservation Award (Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts), Best of Year Award (New York Construction News), Best Restoration Award (International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft workers), Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award (New York Landmarks Conservancy)



The Queensboro Bridge was built between 1901 and 1909 to carry horse, trolley, and elevated train traffic between Manhattan and Queens. In keeping with the City’s desire to aggrandize such significant transportation improvements, the vaulted, open-air Bridgemarket was created below the roadway of the Manhattan approach. In 1930, the market closed and over time fell into disrepair due to increased vehicular traffic, moisture infiltration, and deferred maintenance.


Nearing its hundredth anniversary, the Queensboro Bridge was restored by a team of experienced specialists in a multi-year effort. Walter B. Melvin Architects, LLC specified the restoration of the vast, 50,000 square foot Bridgemarket space, defined by graceful terra cotta columns and herringbone Guastavino tile vaulted ceilings, all of which were in an advanced state of deterioration. The scope of work was developed to salvage as much sound material as possible, incorporate new materials appropriate to the original, prevent further deterioration, and introduce modern details where the original design had performed poorly. This work required sensitive detailing as well as comprehensive knowledge of structural principles and traditional construction. In total, approximately 10,000 square feet of tiles were replaced, 1,500 linear feet of cracks were repaired, 800 square feet of the vaults were reconstructed, and 800 new plus several hundred salvaged terra cotta units were installed.


Successfully shepherding the project through the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Community Board process, WBMA also designed a 40,000 square foot maintenance facility and office space below the western end of the approach roadway, as well as a new pedestrian ramp in the Beaux Arts style of the original bridge approach.


The Bridgemarket project has won numerous awards including the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, New York Landmarks Conservancy; Excellence in Conservation Award, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts; Best Restoration Project, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Guild; and 2001 Rehabilitation of the Year, New York Construction News.


Photo credit: Dave Anderson

Sergio De Orbeta


Sergio De Orbeta

With over 19 years of experience in the field, Sergio has been instrumental in the successful restoration, repair, and continued maintenance of numerous historic structures in New York City and beyond.  13 of those years have been at WBMA, where he has taken a detailed and methodical approach to his projects. Some of his noteworthy ongoing projects include Casa Italiana, Columbia University; The Osborne; 100 Hudson Street; 525 Park Avenue; 130 East End Avenue; and 300 West 108th Street.  Previous award-winning projects include 131 Duane Steet – the Hope Building, 451 Broome Street, Donald Judd Home & Studio, and Marymount School of New York.  He is a Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey. Originally from Puerto Rico, Sergio received his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Architecture with a Minor in Architectural History from Carnegie Mellon University.



University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Bachelor of Architecture
Minor in Architectural History

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey

Martin Lee Griggs, RA

Martin Lee Griggs

Martin has worked in the architecture and construction industry for over 30 years, including 26 years at WBMA specializing in the assessment and repair of exterior envelopes. He has overseen several award-winning restoration projects including St. Paul’s Chapel – Columbia University, 451 Broome Street, Liberty Tower and Alwyn Court, as well as restoration projects at Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building, the Cosmopolitan Club, several City parks and residential cooperatives. Martin is well versed in the myriad building materials that have been used in the northeast and has extensive experience assessing and restoring a variety of masonry and roofing systems. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and is a Registered Architect in New York State.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Architecture

Professional Registration
Registered Architect in the State of New York

Robert C. Bates


Robert C. Bates

With 35 years of professional experience at WBMA, Robert has overseen restoration projects at many of New York City’s premier institutions, including The Met Cloisters, Donald Judd Home and Studio, Green-Wood Cemetery and Riverside Church, as well as McKim Mead and White’s 998 Fifth Avenue and William Tuthill’s Schinasi Mansion at 351 Riverside Drive. A graduate of Lehigh University, Robert is a Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects. He has a strong understanding of traditional building materials and has developed many new restoration techniques over the years. Robert has published articles on waterproofing of historic masonry walls, restoration of cast iron, and roofing replacement.



Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Bachelor of Art in Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut