Landmark bridges aren’t rare in American cities, but the Brooklyn Bridge has to be one of the most iconic. Crossing the East River, its arches remind me of Gothic cathedrals and its heavy stones seem like they were salvaged from some ancient fortress. It is a wonder of modern engineering with an old aesthetic. I mostly see it from the window of the N-train going over the Manhattan bridge, and it never ceases to be both beautiful and intimidating.
On my parents’ last day visiting New York, my dad and I walked over through Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO to cross part of the bridge. It was a cold day, but there were plenty of sightseers wandering the pedestrian path. The suspension bridge was finished in 1883, and has been a main artery of the city ever since, linking lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. Apparently in 2006, a Cold War bunker was found hidden inside the masonry anchorage, packed with emergency supplies in case of a nuclear attack. I wonder who the lucky people were who knew its secret location?
In reading the historical plaques placed around the bridge, I was most charmed by this one of E. Frank Farrington. The intrepid master mechanic crossed the bridge before it was complete using a rope.
I should also mention that we shared the bridge with quite a few tipsy Santas that day, as it was SantaCon! It’s basically an excuse for a daylong party, where people dress as Santa or other Christmas-themed characters and bar hop toward a huge meetup in Manhattan. They were just starting the festivities while we were in DUMBO and were wandering across the bridge to their next location. My friend Cecilia happened to be in NYC and took this picture of the resulting hundreds of Santas later in the day.
So there you have my short post on the Brooklyn Bridge! It’s made an appearance several times in this blog, including when I thought it would be a great idea to try to walk across in a snowstorm. I expect to see it again sometime very soon.