National Geographic : 1933 Nov
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Fairchild Aerial Surveys MIGHTY GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE LINKS JERSEY AND GOTHAM Supported by four cables each a yard in diameter and all together capable of carrying the weight of the ten biggest battleships in the American Navy, this imposing structure, the longest suspension span in the world, is 3,500 feet long between towers 80 feet higher than the Washington Monument. A lower deck, to be added ultimately, will carry four rapid-transit railroad tracks (see text, page 550). State and local, conspired to make Lake Placid the winter sports capital of America's eastern seaboard. At a cost of $125,000, the State built a bob run on Mount Van Hoevenberg which is unexcelled even by the famous run at Schreiberhau. As the simplified spelling of the Lake Placid Club phrases it, bobsled racing is indeed "the sport that lifts your hart into your hat." The run is approximately a mile and a half long, with a maximum drop of 15 per cent, a minimum of 82, and an average of slightly less than 10. On the turns the width ranges from 10 feet to 22, and some of the sharpest curves have stone wall banks 22 feet high. The curves at Whiteface and Shady Cor ner are hairpins, and the one at Zigzag is an S curve. The surface in the racing sea son is of glare ice made by freezing a mix ture of snow and water, the latter, about 20,000 gallons a day, being sprayed on the track from a pipe line four feet under ground. As a team prepares to take off, the pol ished runners are shined up a bit more, the driver and two of his companions take their seats, the announcement that the course is clear is telephoned from the bottom of the hill, and the starter drops his flag. The fourth man gives the sled a shove. It breaks the starting string and the race is on. This fourth man continues to push down the incline until the sled has all the velocity he can give it, and, with a jump that would do credit to a flea, he lands in his seat behind his companions. And down that winding, banked, icy gutter they go! As they pass each station their time is announced. They speed to the hairpin at Whiteface in a score of seconds, gliding along at breath-taking speed. As they round the curve, they shoot up on the side wall until their bodies are horizontal instead of perpendicular.