FORT LEE, NJ (WCBS 880) – If you’ve gone over the George Washington Bridge on a national holiday, then you know there is a big reason to slow down and look up.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story
Well, July 4th is one of those days.
“It’s the largest free flying flag in the country,” says George Washington Bridge general manager Bob Durando of the American flag stored in the New Jersey tower. In fact, it is also the world’s largest free-flying American flag.
On any day, you can see a cylindrical hole in the top of the tower (the flag is in there).
Durando says it is unfurled nine times a year.
“Its a pretty awesome sight,” he says.
It has dimensions that would make Betsy Ross’ head spin.
“The flag is 60 feet by 90 feet. The stripes are five-feet-wide and the stars are four feet in diameter,” Durando tells WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.
It weighs 450 pounds and it was entirely hand-sewn in one month by 25 seamstresses at the Dixie Flag Manufacturing Company in San Antonio, Texas – where everything is bigger.
Hanging the flag was an interesting feat.
“The flag can’t touch the ground. So, we had to close the roadway [and] cover the roadway with plastic and the boom was lowered from the Jersey tower, hooked up to the flag, and brought back up into where it’s stored now,” says Durando.
Bridge employees have to manually unfurl the flag.
Snapping a photo of the flag while you’re driving is not advised but the Fort Lee Historic Park is a great viewing point.
“It looks like you could reach out and touch the tower from there,” says Durando.
On Independence Day and 9/11, the towers of the world’s busiest bridge are also lit up at night, in addition to the regular necklace lights.