Am I alone in this? I don't know about everyone else but I always find it quite surreal to go somewhere that I've seen so often but never physically visited. The Brooklyn Bridge was one of those places.
The bridge itself must be up there as one of the most pictured bridges in the world. It has been featured in many TV shows, numerous movies, books and magazines and beyond this, it even has a song or two in its honour! Thankfully, we were lucky enough to have made it there in real life to experience it for ourselves. We had planned into our trip to take a wee walk across the East River and on our 6th day in New York, we had our chance. After some breakfast that morning we ventured to the edge of Brooklyn. We came above ground at High St subway station before crossing the leafy Cadman Plaza and climbing the stairs onto the pedestrian on-ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge itself is elegant with its towers built in a Gothic style. In front of us as we looked forwards was a long expanse of path with splendid arches on the horizon.
The pedestrianised walkway (or the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade), runs above the 6 lanes of traffic (3 lanes each way) on the lower deck and is itself split into two lanes, one for pedestrians and the other for cyclists. Free to roam, there was even quite a view to take in on either side of the on-ramp. To the North of us was the Manhattan Bridge.
To the side of us at the start of the bridge were buildings which anywhere else would be buildings of note, however across the East River at the other side of the bridge, buildings twice their height or more stood tall awaiting our arrival.
We walked at a gentle incline until the cables of this suspension bridge caught us in their web, leading us past scenes you'll likely have come across before and passed us through its first arches.
I'm unsure if they are usually there but at the time we were crossing the bridge, on its east end there were construction/restoration like protective sheets and metal barriers each side of the promenade, though these disappeared further along. When walking on the path it's certainly best to stick to the left and on the pedestrian side because the cyclists sneak up on you at some speed.
The view was hazy but still quite spectacular of the Manhattan skyline, especially from the focal points around the limestone and granite towers.
At these points there were also plaques commemorating the structure and also boards describing the buildings which seem to huddle to fill the horizon of the financial district of Manhattan.
In the distance, as with almost everywhere in NYC, the Empire State Building could be seen. This time though it was souvenir sized, though I'm sure on a clear day it would make a picture postcard scene.
At the towers of the bridge you can look down at the traffic below and at the end of the bridge, peer back at angles you're unlikely to see in a film or in a magazine.
The bridge also seemed a handy perch for the local wildlife such as these starlings.
On the downward slope to exit the bridge, we came across a group of people who were making the most of a photographic opportunity to look like victims at a crime scene which made us laugh. Then the buildings in front of us really started to loom. It's hard not to look up when you're presented with this sort of view but thankfully we didn't get mowed down by any speed-happy cyclists and could take in the towering skyline once more.
Out in the river there was a boat circling another, at first I thought it might be a drugs bust like in the movies but as it was it seemed to just be someone having some fun as they zoomed off afterwards.
By the end, the initial surreal feeling (which was somewhat like going on set of a TV show) subsided. It was a nice walk for us and the bridge is quite a sight even in the age of massive steel structures like the Humber Bridge in Yorkshire (which has shared the honour of world's longest suspension bridge at one time in its history). The views from the walkway are worth the trip alone and the bridge itself is quite an amazing construction given the date it was built (back in the 1880s). The best thing about walking or cycling it too is that it is totally free. Like the Staten Island ferry and Central Park, I'd go so far as to say it is a must if you have some time to spare. It's certainly 45 minutes that will stay long in my memory.