on November 12, 2010
New Yorkers are inordinately proud of Brooklyn Bridge. It was completed in 1883 to connect the then neighbouring cities of New York and Brooklyn (Brooklyn was not swallowed up by New York until 1898). This was the first connection between the two other than by boat. At a stroke it transformed the area – for the first time commuting between the two cities became possible. Communities in the Lower East Side packed up almost overnight and moved out to the wider spaces and clearer air of Brooklyn, to be replaced by the next wave of immigrants. For the next twenty years it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. I’m not quite sure its fame has particularly spread outside America but its towers are certainly an adornment to the New York city skyline.Rebecca and I had a dinner date in Brooklyn. Rather than get a subway or a cab there I decided that we should take the opportunity to cross the East River on foot via the Brooklyn Bridge. In hindsight this was probably a mistake. The bridge is fairly long, almost 2km in total, though the central span over the river is only a quarter of that. The July temperature in New York was breaking records (still 98°F at 8 o’clock in the evening). And we were dressed for dinner – dress and heels for Rebecca, suit and jacket for me. By the time we reached the restaurant I was soaked with sweat!We left the subway at the Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall station and headed east up the approach ramps. The pedestrian way separated from the road and soon we were walking on a wooden boardwalk suspended above the vehicle traffic. Cars rumbled below us, visible through cracks between the slats, while cyclists zipped past us. We progressed out into New York’s rarest commodity – space. Out over the river the distance from the buildings on either shore allowed us to gain one of our first moments of perspective. As darkness fell the lights twinkled behind and before us. The suspension cables formed a web-like mesh around us. It was all quite impressive.I’d recommend a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge ; I am just sorry I didn’t have time on my first trip to new York to spend more time exploring Brooklyn itself. But I would advise you to prepare for the weather conditions – whether they be rain, wind or heatwaves!
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