New York city is full of tourist attractions and regardless of the season, the city is always full of tourists. I have visited New York city about half a dozen times now and on each visit I make it a point to visit parts of the city that I haven’t been to. There is so much to see there, and some of the best sights are free!
Photo: andrew c mace
However there is one place I always visit on each of my trips: The Brooklyn Bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge connects two boroughs of New York City: Manhattan and Brooklyn. Built in 1883, this bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in North America and is designated as a historic landmark in USA.
Why do I like this structure so much?
I like bridges for their symbolism of connecting two landmasses, forming a link, enabling transformation, bringing people together. The bridge is very beautiful too and it’s neo-gothic architecture is impressive. The arches look very pretty in front of tall buildings of Manhattan’s business district. Pedestrians can walk the entire length of the bridge on a walkway over six lanes of motorised traffic. The walkway soars from ground level in Brooklyn, rises up to about fifty meters above the East river and ultimately descends into Manhattan. The longest span of the bridge is 486m (it was the longest in the world until 1903) suspension cables are hooked over two monolithic caisson around which the walkway for pedestrian and cyclists winds.
I love the feeling of the city as it approaches you. Brooklyn, the end from which I usually start walking, is very residential and quiet compared to downtown Manhattan. As the bridge majestically rises over the East River, it takes the pedestrian pathway to the top. From that point you see a wide expanse of water on the left side and tall buildings in front. This transition, from smaller buildings in Brooklyn to skyscrapers in Manhattan, on a little strip of walkway suspended fifty meters in the air always evokes a fuzzy feeling of emptiness in me which is ironic because throughout the journey you are surrounded by people, buildings and vehicles.
What do you do on your visit?
You walk across it. Just that.
A visit to the Brooklyn Bridge is more of an experience than anything else. While the bridge is beautiful, it’s the experience of walking on a historic landmark, from (or to) the middle of downtown Manhattan’s skyscrapers and going across a long and narrow path over a wide river to another part of the city that makes the visit worthwhile. Views of the city’s skyline, water body and the bridge itself are simply breathtaking. On colourful evenings when the sky is filled with dramatic hues of red and purple, this bridge makes a perfect urban romantic excursion. At night the bridge is illuminated, making it the subject of many great photographs. The bridge appears beautiful against the backdrop of tall skyscrapers.
I usually walk across this bridge, one-way from Brooklyn to Manhattan but sometimes I have done returns. On my latest visit I purposefully brought my running shoes with me so I could run across the bridge for a change. Just a different experience and to feel like a New Yorker, lol.
There are various itineraries for visiting the Brooklyn Bridge:
- Start from Manhattan, walk to the end of the bridge in Brooklyn, walk back
- Take the subway to one end and walk back to the starting point. (I suggest taking the subway to Brooklyn and walking back to Manhattan.. it’s more dramatic)
- Walk the Manhattan bridge into Brooklyn, stroll around the waterfront and return via the Brooklyn bridge.
Have you visited the Brooklyn Bridge before? What did you think?