The rosy ribbons of early morning sunlight shoot through the spider web of cables of the Brooklyn Bridge - the dawn of another day when the "great bridge" will be "bought" and "sold" many times.
Yet despite a cornucopia of annecdotes about selling New York's most famous span, city officials aver that not a single suspension cable is for sale.
But the bridge, which opened with great pomp on May 24, 1883, and was "built to last 1,000 years," has indeed undergone some weathering.
The great span has been "subject to stresses it was not designed for," said Robin Burns of the New York City Planning Commission.
One result: rods connected to the vaulting cables are now being replaced.
Traffic on the toll-free "eighth wonder of the world" now numbers some 100,000 vehicles a day - quite a leap from the scattering of sheep, hogs, cattle, horses, wagons, and pedestrians that paid from 2 to 10 cents to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan before the turn of the century.
And since proposed plans to impose new tolls in the bridge have not been dropped by city fathers, the prospects for stemming the current traffic flow are dim.
Besides the major refurbishing work of replacing the rods, the original color of the great bridge recently was restored.
Instead of bleak "battleship gray," suspension-cable painters colored the cables their original cream and returned the bridge's roadway to chocolate brown.
New York area pollution makes it necessary to paint the bridge every three years.
While it has provided grist for probably more tall tales than any other engineering structure on earth, the Brooklyn Bridge may also have marked the beginning of modern, skyscraper-swept New York. "All modern New York, heroic New York, started with the Brooklyn Bridge," writes respected English critic Kenneth Clark.
This first span to arc over the East River also was to become a symbol of America's "gilded age of manufacturing, the late 1800s.
Brilliantly colored turn-of-the-century "ad cards" - some the size of playing cards - pictured the 277-foot high towers of the bridge displaying signs for "Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound" and other now obscure products.
Not lost in the midst of obscurity is the fact the Brooklyn Bridge is "bought and sold many times a day," say Martha Gershun of the city's Planning Commission. Over the years, first-time tourists to New York have been especially good prospective customers.
"I don't know why anyone would want to buy it in the first place," said Werner Schwartz of the city's Department of Transportation. "But since they moved the London Bridge, who knows what could happen, But we don't want to sell it. We want it."
A spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., said that city, where the London Bridge is now the community's biggest tourist drawing card, would not be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge too.
Anyway, it would probably take an act of the U.S. Congress to actually sell the structure, for only after Congress authorized construction of the Brooklyn Bridge did work actually begin on Jan. 2, 1870.
Thirteen years later the opening ceremonies marking the completion of the bridge were noted "from the rocky headlands of Maine to the gold shores of the Pacific and from the gleaming waters of the St. Lawrence to the vast expanse of the Mexican Gulf," according to one official account.