Navigating the expanse of Brooklyn Bridge is a popular touristy adventure in New York along with drooling at the Statue of Liberty, slouching across Times Square to gaze at the giant Apple as in Apple brand, strolling the High line bridge or the walkaway in the Meat packing district, the grass-hop across Central Park and other scintillating activities in co-ordination with inclination.
It is an energizing breeze pushing the walkers, joggers, cyclists, locals and tourists intent on spanning the endless mile and I am humming ‘Brooklyn bridge is falling down’ ( actually London) thanks to a slight swaying mechanism at every step on this oldest suspension bridge in the USA (1883) spanning the East River. John Roebling, the designer of the bridge, had contented that the three separate systems to manage unanticipated structural stresses would support each other, ‘The bridge may sag, but it will not fall.’ Looking at the continuous flow of people and vehicular traffic one does admire the structure.
The wide pedestrian walkway in the center of the Bridge, a level above the car lane, is an ideal way to acculturize oneself with the history of New York. The Bridge was completed in 1883 and was originally the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. In 1915 it was renamed the Brooklyn Bridge by the city government and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972. The Bridge connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is accessible from the Brooklyn entrances of Tillary/Adams Streets, the Sands/Pearl Streets and Exit 28B of the eastbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. From Manhattan, the pedestrian walkway is accessible from end of Centre Street or through the south staircase of Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall IRT subway station. It was the only connection when all means of communication stalled on 9/11.
One mile appears a few steps and the Manhattan skyline, from Brooklyn side, is the tiara on the still elegant, vermillion-lipsticked dowager, New York, ready for extra doses of Botox and tucks.
We step onto land, the city that was previously a small 17th century Dutch town of “Breuckelen” on the East River shore of Long Island that in 1898 along with the rural areas of Queens and Staten Island transformed into a patchwork of neighborhoods steeped in 400 years of history and abuzz with the collective energy of nearly 2.3 million residents. Brooklyn soon became the favored city of immigrants from different corners of the world… Korean, Chinese, Creole, Arabic, Spanish, Indian, East Europeans…
We take the road towards Brooklyn Heights instead of Dumbo, on the North east, which does not have anything to do with being dumb, but is a quintessential arty area with galleries and town houses. Giving it company are the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill.
Henry Street, a wide and quiet street, is flanked by restaurants including Henry’s End and we had breakfast brunch at Sigdeys. The neighborhood of picturesque row houses interspersed with old Federal-style 19th century houses, Italian brownstones, brick Greek and Gothic Revival houses, especially along Pierrepont Street and Pierrepont Place reverse the clock to another decade. Another street, Smith Street or Brooklyn’s “Restaurant Row” is swamped with eateries and watering holes that opened during the late 1990s and early 2000s with migration of chefs from Manhattan diversifying into self-businesses. Another interesting area is Cobble Hill Park, at the intersection of Congress and Clinton Streets, reconstructed in 1989 and reflecting the brick and stone character of the tree lined neighborhood. The trendy boutiques, clubs and restaurants contribute to the growing popularity of Cobble Hill as an upscale weekend nightlife destination. Another unique feature of this area are the front-garden town houses giving a green look to rows of Italianate style brownstones.
The Brooklyn Promenade cantilevered over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll, jogging, cycling or pet walking. The usp of the Promenade is the magnificent view of the Statue of Liberty, the swaggering Manhattan skyline across the East River, as well as views of the two Bridges, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge. The Promenade is dandified with flower beds, trees, benches, playgrounds, grand townhouses and mansions. It was from Brooklyn Heights that George Washington watched the Battle of Brooklyn unfold into a terrible defeat for the young Colonial Army. Under the cover of darkness on August 29th, Washington’s army crossed the East River from Fulton Ferry, below where the Brooklyn Bridge rises today, leaving Brooklyn to the British.
The Brooklyn prefix is continous ….Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Promenade and one can spend an entire day in this part of Brooklyn with limited possibilities of getting bored.
“It’d take a guy a lifetime to know Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo,” …. “An’ even den, yuh wouldn’t know it all”. (Thomas Wolfe).