The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, the reach connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger lower bay. The bridge is named for both the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first known European navigator to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River, and for the body of water it spans: the Narrows. It has a center span of 4,260 feet (1,298 m) and was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1964, until it was surpassed by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981. It now has the eighth longest center span in the world, and is still the longest bridge span in the Americas.The bridge furnishes a critical link in the local and regional highway system. Since 1976, it has been the starting point of the New York City Marathon. The bridge marks the gateway to New York Harbor; all cruise ships and most container ships arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey must pass underneath the bridge and thus must be built to accommodate the clearance under the bridge. This is most notable in the case of the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2.