The ‘Queens Ribbon’ — A new bridge for the millennium

First new bridge to Manhattan’s business district since 1909

NYU Tandon School of Engineering, T.Y. Lin International, and Sam Schwartz Engineering release conceptual designs for a pedestrian-bicycle bridge from Queens to Manhattan. Two other bridges, from Brooklyn and New Jersey, are in early planning stages.

BROOKLYN, New York, Wednesday, June 24, 2020 – The “Queens Ribbon,” a concept design for the first new bridge to Manhattan’s central business district in over a century, was unveiled today by a consortium of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, T.Y. Lin International, and Sam Schwartz Engineering. The pedestrian-bicycle bridge would connect Queens to Manhattan.  

The consortium was formed in the wake of Covid-19 to develop transportation improvements that would not only be of value during “normal” times, but would also provide a lifeline in future crises. During the Covid-19 outbreak, New Yorkers have been turning to walking and biking in great numbers. After 9/11, Super Storm Sandy, the 2003 blackout, and transit strikes, walking and biking became the best, and in some cases, the only alternative for many travelers to and from Manhattan’s Central Business District (CBD).

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, cycling over the East River bridges soared by 132% over the last decade, yet bikers and pedestrians have been squeezed into tight spaces that inhibited growth and compromised safety for both groups. As New York City proceeds with plans to add hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes on its streets, the demand for causeways allowing cyclists and walkers to cross rivers will only increase. The new bridge will provide safe and separate areas for its users to commute and stroll, and will be an iconic visual addition to the East Side of Manhattan, Long Island City, and to the surrounding areas in Queens.  

The 20-foot-wide bridge will have an observation belvedere providing spectacular, panoramic views, and will be a draw for New Yorkers and tourists alike. It will have elevator access to Roosevelt Island, and its network of cycling and pedestrian paths, and the Cornell Tech campus.

“The Queens Ribbon will offer tremendous value in so many ways – from an environmental perspective, an aesthetic perspective, and a health perspective,” said Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, PE, Professor and Chair of NYU Tandon’s Institute of Design & Construction (IDC) Innovation Hub. “The IDC Innovation Hub is proud to have participated in the development of the bridge thus far, and we look forward to continuing our association with T.Y. Lin International and Sam Schwartz Engineering in seeing this and future ‘sister’ bridges through to fruition.”

The bridge is an exemplar for how NYC can grow sustainably, drawing New Yorkers and tourists to spectacular views from the bridge. At a preliminary cost estimate of $100 million, the Queens Ribbon will be a small investment to make when compared to the savings that will be derived from reduced pollution and traffic.

“The Queens Ribbon will become an essential element of the region’s transportation network expanding opportunities for safe and accessible travel to Manhattan for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Gerard Soffian, PE, RSP1, an adjunct professor at NYU Tandon, and former director of the NYC Department of Transportation’s bicycle program.

“The urban travel mode of the future won’t be flying cars, or robo-cars or even cars.  It will be shoes and bikes,” said Sam Schwartz, Founder and CEO of Sam Schwartz Engineering. “Cities can best thrive on these low impact, non-polluting, equitable, and healthy forms of transportation.” 

“The Queens Ribbon will be more than a connection, it will also be a destination. T.Y. Lin International has developed an innovative and cost-effective bridge concept — a pedestrian bridge of exceptional lightness and beauty that is floating in the air and yet has an immense presence,” said Dr. Sajid Abbas, PE, a Senior Vice President at T.Y. Lin International.

The team is also in the early planning stages for two additional bicycle-pedestrian bridges into Lower Manhattan. One from New Jersey in the Hoboken/Jersey City area would be the first carbon-free transportation route from the Garden State into Manhattan’s Central Business District, and the second crossing from Brooklyn would relieve the current unsafe space constraints on the Brooklyn Bridge’s bikeway/walkway. 

Dr. Michael Horodniceanu of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Bala Sivakumar, a Vice President with T.Y. Lin International, unveiled plans for the Queens Ribbon 11 a.m. today at the planned Midtown terminus of the bridge at East 51st Street and Beekman Place.

View the project’s report for images and information about the team.


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About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit


T.Y. Lin International

T.Y. Lin International is a global, multi-disciplinary engineering services firm recognized for solving some of the most significant infrastructure challenges of our age. Ever mindful that its work has a significant impact on people's daily lives as well as on the lives of future generations, the firm ensures project success and sustainability by strategically mobilizing the collective power and diverse expertise of its global organization; assembling multi-disciplinary teams; leveraging experience and state-of-the-art technical solutions; and sharing knowledge among regions.

This value-driven approach and unwavering commitment to excellence consistently results in award-winning projects, delivered on schedule and within budget, for satisfied clients. T.Y. Lin proudly continues to stand as one company, driven by one vision.


Sam Schwartz Engineering

This industry-leading team specializes in developing context-sensitive transportation solutions for urban mobility in New York, nationally, and globally. It identifies transportation and social impacts and provides creative, multi-modal plans that are grounded in technically rigorous analysis and industry-accepted design standards, working towards larger policy goals such as Vision Zero, economic development, social equity, environmental and climate resiliency, and design excellence. The firm also works to balance the needs and improve the quality-of-life of all users, including those using transit, walking, biking, driving, hailing rides, and moving freight.