The Brooklyn Bridge conjures up what it meant to dream the impossible quixotic dream and then achieve it
When I was in the fifth grade my science teacher did a unit on bridges and how they were built in a specific way towithstand so much weight and wear and tear. At first I was not enthused about the project at all, but then I was assigned to write a report about the Brooklyn Bridge. And, as it turns out, the history of this amazing landmark was much more interesting that what I had originally anticipated.
I´ll start by giving you a bit of information about the bridge and its history. Completed in the year 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It was also very difficult to construct in that time. Apparently, when they were building the big stone support columns, they ran into bedrock beneath the East River and many workers were affected by decompression sickness while working on the project.
In the end, however, the bridge was completed and on that first day of operation in May of 1883 they calculated that about 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed the bridge. At the time, it was the only way to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan by land. Before this, you had to go by ferry.
As the years passed, there were doubts about the stability of the bridge, especially when the famous Barnum Circus lead a parade of 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884. And this neo-gothic style bridge has become one of the most iconic New York landmarks, an unmistakable calling card in movies, TV shows,books and photographs the world over.
Its not difficult to get to the Brooklyn Bridge, and you can cross on foot, car, bicycle, roller skates, etc. from either side. Although, the best views and photos are from the Brooklyn side of the bridge at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Here you can take the typical photo with the skyline and the bridge in the background. In the summer it’s a good place to go for a picnic, although I will warn you that lots of schools and camps take field trips there, so you might wind up with a crowd of elementary or preschool kids playing nearby.
When I visited the Bridge, my friend and I took the subway to the City Hall Station and walked across from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and then explored a bit of the neighborhood around the bridge. In fact, the area of Brooklyn around the bridge is home to various public parks, art galleries in DUMBO, lots of very typical and enviable brownstone homes, and great places to grab lunch!
I have to admit that in the four years I lived in New York, I only visited the Brooklyn Bridge a few times, but if you are only in the city for a short time it really is a must see landmark of the city. This is a place, along with Harlem and Ellis Island that conjures up images of a different time in New York, when there was still room to build, when Americans were defining what it meant to live in the city of New York, what it meant to be an American, and what it meant to dream the impossible quixotic dream and then achieve it. The Brooklyn Bridge is, for me, is almost a monument to that uniquely New York spirit. We ruskommend a visit to The Brooklyn Bridge with 5 boquerones.