Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Recently I headed where thousands go every day but I’d never thought to venture in all my travels to New York – across the bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn.

    I travel frequently into the city, often for a taste of the world’s best cold drink, the bubble tea of Chinatown. Also, of course, I delve into areas previously unexplored by me, my last such foray being to the world famous (yet rarely touched by my feet), Central Park.

    On the day I decided I must at last check out the Brooklyn Bridge, the sun shone bright and the air held just the right amount of breeze to make for a perfect walk from Grand Central Terminal down toward this landmark. Crossing the bridge is actually a fairly popular activity for some visitors to New York, I’d read. About 2,000 people a day traverse the over 6,000-foot bridge. As I started my walk, it became apparent that what I had read was probably wrong. There must be 2,000 people at any given time on that brige.

    Travel Blogs - the Brooklyn Bridge

    The world’s longest suspension bridge when it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is still a mammoth structure even by today’s standards. I was slowed by the mass of people – and by the desire to stop and take a photo every couple of minutes – so it took a good half hour to cross. Its presence in the lower Manhattan skyline is an impressive sight, but when walking right on its wooden planks, alongside its collosal structural weave of steel cables and ropes and gazing up at its stone towers, its attraction for so many people becomes evident.

    People who have journeyed to the Brooklyn Bridge to fill their memory cards with photos of steel, stone and skyline were not the only traffic on this bridge, though. Others clearly on their way to their routine lives on one side or the other were crossing along with us, some on bicycles with their riders ringing bells to warn us out of they way, some jogging, others walking with purposeful strides past us, not stopping to soak up the sights they see every day.

    My own purposeful but slow stride was set to take me to DUMBO, a veritable wonderland of shops, galleries and restaurants, so I have read. Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, long for DUMBO, lies beneath the Brooklyn Bridge and the close-by Manhattan Bridge, just several blocks away. Once I hit this area, I found old railroad tracks embedded in cobblestone streets lined with the upscale shops, restaurants, etc. which I had come to see. This 19th Century meets 21st Century was the primary appeal of this much-ballyhooed area, though, in my eyes, so I moved on to the waterfront.

    Travel Writing - Lower Manhattan

    Since this was a clear day, from the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park on the banks of the East River I was able to see the Statue of Liberty to the left, lower Manhattan staight across the river, and the Empire State Building standing above the rest of the city stretched out on its own island to the right. The park itself, although filled with children playing, was large enough to absorb their noise.

    I finally had my fill of the water and the skyline and headed up the hill to see what neighborhoods I could see. I’d always thought of Brooklyn as a city with brownstone-lined streets, somewhat dirty, somewhat dangerous. Now I walked the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, indeed filled with brownstones, as far as my eyes could see, down every street I ventured. Dirty and dangerous? Each and every one of these streets was strikingly peaceful, calm and quiet. Perhaps a movie or a book I’d read when I was a kid had given me the negative impression. Surely not all of Brooklyn is so nice, but these streets were charming.

    Travel writing blogs - Brownstones in Brooklyn

    By now it was way past lunchtime, so I headed to Henry Street, where I could get a Mediterranean food fix. Heights Falafel, on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, I’d read, was good and cheap, so I stopped in. This was a tidy, clean little place with two really sweet people behind the counter. My falafel sandwich was the best I’ve ever had in the U.S. and, at $3.50, impressively inexpensive.

    I’d been walking several hours by now and decided to head back. One more stop, though, at the Fulton Ferry Landing, where water taxis speed around and people mill about, gazing at the views across the river. I discovered that an old barge docks at the landing, where several times a week you can buy tickets for about $35 to come aboard and listen to live chamber music inside. This was too unique to miss. I vowed to hear this music, and sealed a promise to myself to return to Brooklyn.

    Solo Female Traveler - Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge

30 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Nancy says:

    Thank you for bringing back such wonderful memories of my trip to New York. I remember the cool winter day I spent traipsing through the financial district, then wandering aimlessly to the famous bridge. I have many pictures of her. Although I smile every time I drive over Lions Gate, my heart still beats for the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Thank you!
    .-= Nancy´s last blog ..Blue Mountains & A Red Door =-.

  2. Sabina: I’m glad you enjoyed your walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (I’m one of those who does it every day, weather and schedule permitting), and your visit to my neighborhood, Brooklyn Heights. I’m partial to the falafel sandwich from Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue (there is a large Arab-American community in this part of Brooklyn) and have never tried Heights Falafel, but will, on your recommendation.

    Nancy: on my one visit to your beautiful city, I crossed the river from downtown to visit the railway station and get a photo of the Royal Hudson steam locomotive. That done, I walked westward to Lion’s Gate and took the pedestrian walkway across the bridge. As I crossed, two cruise ships–the old Rotterdam of Holland-America Line and a smaller Cunard vessel–passed under the bridge bound outward. I descended into Stanley (I believe that’s the name) Park and found myself in a rain forest, with magnificent trees all around. This was one of my all-time best walks.
    .-= Claude Scales´s last blog ..¡Viva México! =-.

  3. Gray says:

    I’m so glad you wrote about this! I want to do this when I’m in NYC next month!
    .-= Gray´s last blog ..A Solo Traveler Does Family Travel =-.

  4. Good point you bring up about those who are there to take it all-in vs those who have to walk the bridge everyday. Cameras have taught me to take a closer look and from different angles, to look, at the things I’m usually ignoring in my daily routine.
    I like your posts where there’s some sights, sounds and food in them and glad you didn’t elaborate on that damn tea with globs of yogurt or tapioca, whatever it was, again.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  5. Sabina Lohr says:

    But Mike, if you simply click on the link “the bubble tea of Chinatown” in paragraph two, you can read all about the wonderous substance again. I know you secretly want to.

  6. Sabina Lohr says:

    Hi Gray! I think you should. It’s a really pleasant walk to a much different atmosphere.

  7. Sabina Lohr says:

    Thank you, Claude. And I will try Damascus Bakery on your recommendation.

  8. Sabina Lohr says:

    Hi, Nancy. I’m glad you got to walk through the Financial District too. I think that’s one of the most beautiful areas in Manhattan.

  9. Sophie says:

    Mmm. New York. Haven’t been in 15 years at least. About time for a visit :)

  10. Candice says:

    Dammit, my list of things to do and see in NYC keeps growing! I can’t wait to see if this city is as amazing as you make it.
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..The Spacecake Incident Revealed: My Side of the Story =-.

  11. Suzy says:

    Nice walk-through of Brooklyn Sabina! I love your observations of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
    .-= Suzy´s last blog ..Travel Book Review: Getting Lost Around the World with The Lost Girls =-.

  12. [...] Across the Brooklyn Bridge – A travel writer's first walk to the … [...]

  13. [...] Across the Brooklyn Bridge, 05May10, solofemaletraveler.com [...]

  14. inka says:

    When I visited NY for the first time ever in February this year, that’s what I wanted to do: walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. However, it was cold, snow and wind and my friend put her foot down. Next time for sure.
    .-= inka´s last blog ..Creative with history =-.

  15. Sabina Lohr says:

    Fifteen years? Yes, I guess it is.

  16. Sabina Lohr says:

    Oh, Candice, it is more than anyone could ever describe in print.

  17. Sabina Lohr says:

    Good. Next time. And hopefully in good weather.

  18. Sabina Lohr says:

    Thanks a lot, Suzy. I really think it’s a great walk.

  19. [...] Across the Brooklyn Bridge – A travel writer's first walk to the … [...]

  20. Rebecca says:

    I know what you mean about stopping every few minutes for a photo! My friend & I came back with a ridiculous amount of bridge snaps & we only walked half-way! Hope to cross over next time & follow your tips and head to DUMBO :)

  21. Sabina Lohr says:

    Well, halfway is better than no way at all. It is definitely worth the full trip, though. Next time.

  22. Jen says:

    Hey Sabina, I, too, found myself mistaken about Brooklyn when I did finally go. The first time I went, I visited the Brooklyn Brewery-way awesome! I highly recommend. The second time was last Wednesday. We walked across the bridge and I must say, I felt like such a bad New Yorker because I’d never done it before. It was great though. Great views, great for people watching, a great work out…the fact that we napped out in the open in a park on the Brooklyn side totally dispelled any safety concerns in the area. Brooklyn is awesome!

  23. Sabina Lohr says:

    I know! To think it just sat there all those years without me ever bothering to check it out. Oh, well, now we both know.

  24. Lutfor says:

    This is really a very wonderful topics for you . I think that if I can get such day then I will do like you .

  25. Sabina says:

    You should. Brooklyn is an incredibly interesting place.

  26. That are some wondeful pictures, thanks for sharing, definitely a great view from there.

  27. Erik H says:

    It’s so informative. I learned many things from your blog. You are absolutely correct. Brooklyn is interesting place. I also like the pictures you have included. Your effort is great. I like this article very much.

  28. I live in NYC and this is one of my favorite things to do – I actually kissed my boyfriend here for the first time so now it’s extra special :)

  29. Sabina says:

    Thanks, Erik. I plan on traveling to Brooklyn a lot more in the future.

  30. Sabina says:

    Aww, that is sweet! That bridge really is special, isn’t it?

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