Roebling family honored at Brooklyn Hospital anniversary event

Kriss Roebling, center, accepted a medal on behalf of Emily Warren Roebling.
Photo by Corazon Aguirre

The Brooklyn Hospital celebrated its 175th anniversary with a waterfront cocktail party at The River Café on Wednesday. To commemorate 175 years of serving Brooklyn, the hospital is honoring 175 individuals and institutions that have had a lasting impact in the borough.

“When we were trying to come up with ideas, we were struck by how intertwined the founding of The Brooklyn Hospital was with the founding of Brooklyn,” said Debbie Niederhoffer, vice president of The Brooklyn Hospital Foundation and the organizer of the event. “We didn’t just want to celebrate the hospital, we wanted to celebrate all of Brooklyn.”

Niederhoffer called the evening elegant and upbeat, and said it was “a combination of the most amazing views and the best cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.”

The hospital has given out 28 medals since January of 2019 and Niederhoffer said, “We plan on giving out a lot more this year.”

Among the 10 influential Brooklynites awarded Wednesday night was Emily Warren Roebling, who oversaw construction of the span and became the first person to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge after it opened in 1883. Her great-great grandson, Kristian, who has been giving tours of the bridge for 25 years, accepted the award on her behalf.

The Roebling family is well-known for their instrumental role in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. John Roebling planned the bridge, but died before he could begin construction. His son, Washington, took over the project, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world was completed in 1883.

The Brooklyn Hospital is asking residents of the borough to nominate the people and organizations they would like to see honored.

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