On this date, 12/18/1758, the New-York Gazette posted an announcement for a party to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed “Free Bridge.” This bridge was built to be a free alternative to the King’s Bridge, which was a toll bridge that had been the only bridge to Manhattan. Local people, who were tired of paying the toll on the King’s Bridge funded the construction of the Free Bridge by subscription–not unlike a gofundme project of today. The King’s Bridge and the Free Bridge were the first two bridges to Manhattan and they stood only 500 yards apart! The King’s Bridge was located at the intersection of today’s W. 230th and Kingsbridge Ave and the Free Bridge stood at today’s W. 225th Street just west of Bailey Ave.
The celebration promised “a stately Ox roasted whole on the Green . . . as a small Entertainment.”
It is worth noting that one of the organizers of the “Free Bridge” project was Jacobus Dyckman. The new bridge just so happened to lead directly to the tavern that Dyckman owned on the Manhattan side of the bridge. This likely undercut business at the tavern operated near the King’s Bridge. Despite being a relatively rural area, it offered two bridges and two taverns for travelers to choose from!