There’s one thing you notice right away in New York City: there are bridges everywhere, connecting the city to Jersey, Queens, Staten Island, you name it.
The most famous one, or at least the one that I have always heard about, is the Brooklyn Bridge. As an outsider, for years I had no idea you could walk—or bike—across it. It’s something I discovered a few years ago, and in the half a dozen visits since, it’s the one thing I’ve really wanted to do, but never ended up doing, for a variety of reasons. It promptly made it on my ‘bucket list’.
Well, I found the time on this last trip into Manhattan and have to admit, I’m so sorry I didn’t do this sooner. It wasn’t something I intended to do on this particular trip, but I found myself with a free night and a friend who was willing to humor me, so, off we went on our adventure.
We took a subway to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and knew we were in the right spot by the big interstate sign at our crosswalk, directing cars which lane to get into in order to head to the Brooklyn side. We had to cross over a lane to get to the section that allowed for pedestrians—or bicyclists—to make their way across.
There’s a pathway that runs above the vehicles, essentially through what would be the median. The walkway is made of wood, with steel ropes coming off from various angles. It would be wide enough for a car to drive down—at least in most sections—but has a dividing line marking the side meant for walkers and the side intended for people on their bicycles.
On this particular January night, we were fortunate to have great weather—cold enough for a jacket, but not so cold that we were wishing we were back inside her warm apartment.
It was a clear night and the views—especially behind us, showcasing the Manhattan skyline—were stunning. We were even able to capture shots of the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
We walked under the pillars, past the part where the American flag is suspended, around the sides of that portion and down the other side. There wasn’t a large slope and I truly think most people could handle this walk with no real trouble.
Parts of the bridge are under construction when we walked it, so that could get tricky.
And I’m told that in the summertime, people who cross the bridge on bicycles each day for work grow to despise the crowds of tourists who want to do exactly what we did—experience something we’ll never forget, crossing a bridge that affords beautiful views of this gorgeous city. I can understand why they hate the crowds, because it would be frustrating to try to ride a bicycle around many tourists who probably can’t fit on just the pedestrian portion. We struggled with it in some spots and the bridge truly wasn’t that crowded on the night we went. Maybe there’s a plan in the future to add just a cycling portion. Until then, they’ll have to tolerate us I suppose.
Once on the other side, make time for lunch. We found our way to Grimaldi’s Pizza. I can honestly say it was the best pizza I’ve tasted all my life. The crust was perfect—not too bready—and the sauce not too zesty. We went with the simple cheese and filled up fast. Note that they do not sell alcohol (though I highly recommend the black cherry soda) and you must pay with cash.
We enjoyed the meal almost as much as the walk, though we decided to take a cab on our way back to her apartment on the Upper East Side. Our bellies were full, our feet were tired, and the temperature had dropped, so we were ready to relax in her warm apartment. Even from the cab, we were able to snap some incredible shots of other NYC landmarks.
I’m not sure what it would be like to make the walk in the daytime, but I can tell you without a doubt, it would have made a very romantic date night if you have your sweetie with you. No offense to my pal—she was the perfect date for that evening—but I’m certain it would have been pretty incredible with someone to hold hands with and sneak in a kiss or two on some of the views looking back at that spectacular skyline.
I’ll have to save that for the next trip.
I absolutely plan to make the trip again and again. It cost me nothing and offered up memories that were priceless. Plus, it’s one more thing checked off my bucket list.