Not long ago, Mr. M remarked on how we’ve never actually walked the entire Brooklyn Bridge. This fact is revolting because (1) we’re trying to tourist our way through NYC while living here, (2) we have a ridiculous number of west coast guests come to stay with us who should’ve already dragged us with them on this tourist adventure, and (3) we pass the Brooklyn Bridge pretty much every other time we take Charlie Mae the Wonderpup on a walk.
Day #11,149: This day was tagged for Brooklyn. The sky was clear (no small feat with Hurricane Sandy rapidly approaching), the weather was warm, and we three were all in the mood for a good, long walk.
After a quick stop for iced coffee, we were headed south towards the ever-swamped onramp of the Brooklyn Bridge. Bikers, joggers, walkers out for a Sunday stroll… all converge on the narrow wooden pathway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Prepare to leave your Manhattan speedwalking behind and just enjoy the oft-lagging, Sunday Stroll pace of the Bridge.
Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge began in 1870, and at the time it was built, it was the world’s largest suspension bridge! Since then, it’s become one of the most recognizable bridges in America (one of, San Francisco… no need to get jealous).
The Brooklyn Bridge’s milkshake brings all the tourists to the yard.
The bridge really is quite beautiful with its spiderweb of supporting cables and the rough-hewn bricks stacked into its supports.
I wanted to stop for a few more photos, but the narrow walkway means that every time you stop for a picture, the whoooole line of folks walking to Brooklyn has to stop, too.
Charlie Mae was not as enthralled with the bridge as Mr. M & I were, although I believe this was because she felt the bridge a-bobblin’ and could look through the gapped planks under her little paws to see the East River coursing a long, long way below.
As you make your way onto Brooklyn soil (which really isn’t that far- the whole bridge is only a mile in length), take the first exit on your left. Another left as you exit the stairs will have you headed for the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Winning the unspoken contest for stupidest neighborhood name ever, DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass… which exactly spells out its location.
Although the area used to be industrial and a bit on the sketch side, it’s been revitalized in the past decade and is now a hip & happening place to be.
We bypassed many a tasty looking café on Front Street to head towards the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The park is brand new and really well-manicured.
It even has waterfront access to the East River… just in case anyone’s interested in taking a dip. :}
The highlight of the park is Jane’s Carousel, a restored carousel from 1922 perched just under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Just behind the carousel is the old Tobacco Warehouse, which seemed to serve mostly as a backdrop to various fashion shoots and tv spots. We saw a very cold-looking model posing dramatically in a leotard and a tulle cape.
The part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park actually located under the Brooklyn Bridge is a gorgeously landscaped, underappreciated swathe of hilly green and park benches staring directly across the river from the grey steel of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
The park looks like a beautiful place to curl up with a good book or to lie out and just enjoy the sun.
Lounging about would have to be another day, as we were all three a bit tuckered out from our journey and ready to head home. I hate taxis and have been known to walk upwards of forty blocks in the hopes of avoiding one, blisters be damned. But I was outvoted 2:1 by Mr. M and Charlie Mae the Dog, who apparently speaks through Mr. M and who, Mr. M insisted, was adamant about wanting a cab. Well-played, my good man.
It seems a bit silly to ‘travel’ to Brooklyn from Manhattan, and yet I’m not sure why. Brooklyn is a destination in its own right- even if the furthest you get is just across the East River.
Details of the Day:
Other Places of Interest in DUMBO: Ahh, what to do once you’ve made it across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan! There’s plenty, you just need to know where to look. If all the walking has worked up an appetite, consider pizza at Grimaldi’s (1 Front Street), quite possibly the best pizza in all of NYC. They only take cash and don’t sell by the slice. For something sweet, head to Jacques Torres Chocolate (66 Water Street)- their hot cocoa is waaay too sweet for me, but the chocolate chip cookies are some of the best in the city.
If you’re headed to Brooklyn on a Monday afternoon, you must head straight to Etsy Labs (55 Washington St, Suite 712). The very same Etsy that sells the best Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, & other crafty wonderfuls hosts almost-always-free Craft Night every Monday from 4-8pm. I am unabashedly in love with etsy and believe that playing annually with yarn, felt, and/or glitter should be non-negotiable for people over 30.
On Sundays, the Brooklyn Flea Market is held out by the park. Stop by, if only for the intrepid hipster-watching possibilities.