Did you know you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge? I certainly had no idea until my mom suggested the idea when visiting me in New York City a few years ago. I have to admit, dodging cars on a bridge high above the East River wasn’t my idea of how to spend a cool spring afternoon. But I gave in because it was what my mom wanted and it seemed mildly amusing. And so we set off to cross from Manhattan to Brooklyn, on foot.
The Gothic-inspired Brooklyn Bridge was designed by the Prussian-born John Roebling. Though Roebling died before construction began in 1867, his son continued the project until it was completed some 14 years later in 1883. When completed, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span that reached 1,596 feet. Today, the bridge is often the sight of protests, marathons, and even a passage for mass numbers of commuters like in late 2005 during the Transit Worker’s Union three-day strike. Normally about 5,000 pedestrians and 2,500 bicyclists commute daily across the Brooklyn Bridge on the elevated pedestrian walkway.
The walk across the Brooklyn Bridge takes at least 20 minutes. But plan on it taking about an hour if you stop to take photos or read the informative plaques that give detailed information on the history as well as sights visible from the bridge. On the Brooklyn side of the bridge, stop by the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, sit down at a red-and-white tablecloth covered table, and have a slice of their famous pizza.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge has become one of my favorite activities to do with visiting guests. The views of Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty are unparalleled. The best thing is it’s free!
Manhattan Entrance: Getting onto the Brooklyn Bridge can be challenging as the streets in Civic Center more closely resemble noodles and not the grid-system for which Manhattan is famous. The entrance is at Park Row and Centre Street, across from City Hall Park, east of City Hall. Be certain to stay on the pedestrian side (south side)
Getting There: 4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall or J/M/Z to Chambers St.
Brooklyn entrance: The walkway entrance is next to the Federal Court Building. There are stairs on Cadman Plaza East and Prospect Street or a ramp entrance on Johnson and Adams Streets.
Getting there: “A” train to High Street
Me on the Brooklyn Bridge photo credit: personal collection