The bridge is named for the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who in 1524 became the first documented European explorer to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River. It has a central span of 4,260 feet (1,298 m) and was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its completion in 1964 until it was surpassed by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981. It has the 13th longest main span in the world, and the longest in the Americas. Its towers can be seen throughout New York City and in New Jersey.
The bridge marks the gateway to New York Harbor. All ships arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey pass underneath the bridge and must therefore be built to accommodate the clearance under it. Since 1976, the Staten Island end of the bridge has been the starting point of the New York City Marathon.
Bridge's total length is 13,700 feet (4,176 m).