Sunday, November 13, 2011

#29 - walk across the Brooklyn bridge

Done!  11/5/11

I love being a New Yorker!  I love taking advantage of all that surrounds me living in New York.  The parks, the museums, the zoos, the restuarnats, the people...I love it all!  And I love having five boroughs to choose from.

Ahhh....the five boroughs that make up New York City.  Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, da Bronx & Staten Island...all five broughs with distinct features & attractions.  All five offer a lot to New York & tourists everywhere.

Today I will venture into the second largest borough of NYC...Brooklyn. 

Joining me today is an old friend & a new friend;  Rennick & his daughter, Celia.  They will meet me in Manhattan for the walk into Brooklyn.

It's a gorgeous sunny fall day & this is the perfect day for this walk.  The sun is gracing us with its appearance & warmth.  I love fall in New York.  With the trees turning beautiful shades of red, orange, & yellow there is a chill in the air, but today is still perfect for this celebration.  And what better view than that from the Brooklyn Bridge?

After getting lost due to lack of paying attention to where I was going on the E train, I will eventually meet my guests by City Hall in Manhattan.  Rennick introduces me to his daughter, Celia.  She is adorable!

They were standing near these police officers on horses, Mounties as we call them here.  Celia was busy clicking away taking picture after picture of the cops on their horses.  I joined in! 

Our day kicks off with a history lesson from Rennick.  And since I love acting like a tourist, I will not interupt his lessons.  He points out that the rather large building behind us is in fact the main booking building for New York's Finest.  And he points out across the way where the jail cells are located.  Thanks I know which two buildings to avoid in that area!

After some chatting, we head off to an amazing icon structure....the Brooklyn Bridge.

Opened May 24, 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge is one the oldest suspension bridges in the United States.  It connects Manhattan & Brooklyn by spanning the East River.  It was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening untl 1903 & it's the first steel-wire suspension bridge.  In 1964 the Brooklyn Bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark & in 1972 it was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Initially designed by German immigrant, John Augustus Roebling who was injured when a ferry pinned his foot against piling, his son Washington Roebling will take over the job.  Sadly, Washington suffered a paralyzing injury as a result of decompression sickness.  Washington's wife, Emily Warren Roebling, took over & relayed her husband's notes to the engineers on the site.  After 13 years, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed & ready for the public.

On May 24, 1883 a total of 1,800 vehicles & 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan & Brooklyn.  Emily Warren Roebling had the honor of being the first person to walk across the bridge.

Fun fact...on May 17, 1884 PT Barnum helped put to rest doubts about the bridge being unstable by leading a parade of elephants across the bridge.  Jumbo, one of his most famous elephants, will lead a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Throughout its time span, the bridge has carried horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, cars, pedestrians & bicyclists from Manhattan to Brooklyn or Brooklyn to Manhattan.  These days there is a line down the middle of the walkway.  One side is meant for pedestrians & the other is meant for bicyclists.  FYI....the bicyclists will gladly yell at you for crossing the line & coming into their way!  They might even run you down!  Hey...this is New York folks!

One morbid notable event...Robert Emmet Odlum, brother of women's rights activists Charlotte Odlum Smith, was the first person to jump from the bridge on May 19, 1885 (exactly 86 years before my birth).  He died from internal injuries after hitting the water.

So today we are blessed with this gorgeous fall weather & I am blessed with the company of these two wonderful people.  I am also thankful for my Canon camera that is going to help capture amazing shots on the day.

Rennick once again plays the part of our history guide....he points out the new Freedom Towers going up where the World Trade Center once stood.  For a moment I am silent.  I am remembering the horrible events of that day......

As we make our way along the walkway, we stop to view the South Street Seaport.  I haven't been down there in ages.  I might have to add that to the list of things to do.  I'm sure there are great photo opportunities there for me.  From the bridge I will take some gorgeous pictures of the Seaport.

And what's this?
Padlocks on the Brooklyn Bridge?
What the heck is this about?
And thus begins my creative it comes...
I thought they were there so you could wear the key on a necklace & when someone asks you what the key is for, you could proudly say, 'I have the key to the lock on the Brooklyn Bridge'.
Please note....I am seriously thinking about getting a lock to put onto the bridge!!!

After some research, it turns out I am, well....wrong.
I know....I doesn't happen often, but it does on these rare occasions such as this one, happen.

Turns out this padlock on the bridge is a tradition that started in Italy.  Apparently the idea comes from this book by Italian author, Federico Moccia.  He wrote this book called 'Tre Meti Sopra il Cielo'.  It's about lovers who put padlocks onto a bridge & toss the key into the river.  The book was made into a movie & thus Italians took to putting padlocks onto the Ponte Milvio in Rome & they would toss the key into the Tiber River.  This symbolized the union of the couples bond.

My version is better!

So the Brooklyn Bridge is now littered with padlocks, some with names & dates on them.  And they are everywhere!  On the cables, on the benches, on the railings.....

Is this art?
Is this graffitti?
Is this vandalism?
Is this romantic?
I'll leave it to you to decide.

Celia & I have decided we want to get padlocks & put them on the Brooklyn Bridge.  She states she wants a purple one.  I don't care what color I get.  I just want to wear the key around my neck just so I can tell people I have the key to the lock on the Brooklyn Bridge!  Come version is more creative!

Rennick however feels this is all vandalism & he'll have no part of it.  Luckily for him we won't find any padlocks for least not today.  Oh well....maybe next time I'll remember to buy a padlock before walking over the bridge...

Upon reaching the first archway, we are being tourists by reading the Brooklyn Bridge fact timeline on these plaques.  It's a bunch of fun educational facts.  I should have read them all, but I only read a few.  I'll read them all another time....

We press on.

There are a lot of people walking today.  And everyone is going in both directions.  There are a few bicyclists, but I am staying out of their lane, so they ignore me.

Once we arrive in Brooklyn, I'm looking forward to our next stop.  But I am thrilled to be greeted by Brooklyn.  I am excited about what awaits us.  I am happy to be in the most diverse borough in the world.  And I am thankful that I waited till 40 to do this walk.

Once again....I'm feeling great about these 40 celebrations.  I don't think at 20 or 30 I would have appreciated all this fun.

With this celebration completed, I have done 14 of the 40 celebrations.  26 more to go.  Hard to believe it was a little over a year ago when I started this blog & started planning these events!


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