Thousands of people flocked to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday for a spectacular celebration of the famous landmark's 75th birthday. But a less cheery presence at the festivities was this display of 1,558 shoes representing those who have killed themselves by jumping off the bridge into the San Francisco Bay. The moving installation was the work of the Bridge Rail Foundation, an organisation dedicated to stopping suicide jumps from the bridge. 'It's a symbol of how deep and serious this problem has been,' said spokesman Paul Muller. 'We're still losing 30 to 35 a people a year off the bridge.'
Poignant: These 1,558 pairs of shoes represent all the people who have committed suicide by throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge
Crowds gathered for the exciting events taking place along the shoreline from Fort Point, south of the bridge, to Pier 39 along The Embarcadero. Many walked and biked across the 1.7-mile-long bridge bridge before rounding off the day by watching the nighttime show over the city's enduring symbol.
The bridge was shrouded in fog for part of the day, but skies were clear by twilight for the 18 minute-long display, which coincided with Memorial Day weekend.
'It's such an iconic structure, depending on the day or the hour, it just looks like it changes continuously,' said San Francisco resident Daniel Sutphin as he walked through the Fort Point area with his wife and their three young children. Since it opened in 1937, more than 2billion vehicles have crossed the mammoth structure. The imposing tourist attraction was named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance of water to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean, which was championed by engineer Joseph Strauss in the 1920s.
Hotspot: Tourists collect at the famous orange vermilion location on the day of its 75th anniversary celebrations
The bridge, which rises majestically above a Civil War-era fort on the San Francisco side and arches across to the Marin County headlands to the north, is in the middle of a seismic upgrade that has seen many of its structures replaced or modified. Plans for a moveable barrier to separate north and southbound traffic and a net system to prevent suicides are also moving forward. On the water, Golden Gate ferries were running again after a one-day strike disrupted service across San Francisco Bay on Saturday. Workers represented by the Inlandboatmen's Union walked off the job on a day strike, forcing the cancellation of ferries operated by Golden Gate between Larkspur, Sausalito and San Francisco. The strike was called after nearly a year of negotiations over workloads and other complaints, according to Marina Secchitano, the union's regional director.