The many sights of New York beckon visitors to travel by foot as much as possible. It is definitely the best way to experience much of what the city has to offer, but walking long distances isn't an option for many people. If you're not a big fan of hoofing it and want to save the effort for one special stroll, I encourage you to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.
Many people like to start on the Brooklyn side so they can enjoy the view of the Manhattan skyline. Above, you can see why. It's incredible! I made the call to have us start on the Manhattan side though, because I had plans for us later in DUMBO. I'm so glad we took this route. Wanna take the virtual tour with us?
Come on, let's Walk the Brooklyn Bridge!
Our subway ride to the bridge started with a walk through the lovely park surrounding New York City Hall. There are several main lines which take you right to the start of the bridge. Here, we found a large crowd cheering on a dance group on the street. Food carts filled the promenade. At the entrance to the bridge, you'll get a close up of Beekman Towers, a new and very unusual looking residential building.
All around you there is a buzz of activity. The piers below harbour rows of boats and barges being loaded and unloaded on the East River. The bridge itself sees a constant stream of motor traffic, which you come very close to at the start of the pedestrian part of the bridge. As much as this is a tourist haven, it's also a bustling, busy city. Take a deep breath and relax. Enjoy being an observer.
I was very surprised to find how narrow the pedestrian walkway was on the bridge. Foot traffic goes both ways on one half of the path, while the other half is reserved for bikes. I felt sorry for the people riding their rentals, looking stressed out by the fact that people kept infringing over that dividing line. It was shocking to see how many grown adults were failing to realize that they were risking their own safety by lingering in the path of some pretty speedy bikes. "Ding! Ding!" Selfies Kill People! If you want to enjoy taking pictures and peering over the edge at the scenery, walking is definitely preferable to biking. There are very few spots for anyone to pull over and take a look, but on a bike it's near impossible for most of the pathway. Walk along the rail for your best opportunity to stop for a look. There is a wider area near the centre of the bridge to take photos and have a little rest.
It's very windy up there! Kind of a challenge for us long hairs!
Looking to do some shopping? Hey, you can even buy souvenirs on the bridge. Grab an overpriced selfie stick, or a padlock and sharpie to join the Love Lock collection. I read somewhere they just cut them off periodically anyhow, but it's still a cute sentiment. Being a cheapo cynic, I just took pictures. If you plan on joining in the tradition, you can bring your own lock too.
As much as I enjoyed the Brooklyn Bridge, I think I have to join team Manhattan Bridge. I loved it's pretty blue color and neo-gothic style. You'll get a great view of the parallel bridge as you walk along, and an even better one from DUMBO! More on that in the next post!
I hope you enjoyed this post about what it's like to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. My main suggestions for enjoying your walk are to wear comfortable shoes, bring a nice big water bottle, your camera, a very small pop up stroller for younger children or a carrier for babies, and a relaxed attitude. It wasn't cold the day we visited, but it sure was windy, so a bring a sweater. Allow yourself about 30 minutes to cross the bridge at a leisurely pace (roughly 1k). Above all, don't let the crowds bug you. Be polite, but take your time. This isn't a race! If you're like us, you don't know when you might get to see this fascinating scene again. Soak it all up, New York, New York!