Monday, May 26, 2008

Crossing bridges

I live in a city of bridges. Tunnels, too, but I rarely use them, as they mostly lead to New Jersey. Anyway. I live in a city of marvelous bridges. The Verrazano-Narrows is simply incredible, spanning two bits of land once deemed unspannable. I travel the Triborough Bridge more than any other, as it leads to my home-away-from-home, La Guardia Airport. Of course, Simon and Garfunkle made the Queensborough Bridge (aka, 59th Street Bridge) famous with "Feelin' Groovy" (the 59th Street Bridge song).

And then there's the BMW. That's how I remember the order of the three bridges connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg.

Yesterday, I took a late afternoon stroll across two of the bridges. Well, it wasn't exactly a "stroll" over the Brooklyn Bridge. The old beauty is celebrating her 125th birthday this week, and the walkway to Brooklyn was absolutely packed with people. It's usually bustling, but yesterday it was uncomfortably crowded. I was glad to exit at the other end and meander down to the riverside park (also crowded) to view the 8th Wonder of the World from below. As always, spectacular. Solid. Gothically beautiful. With the most breathtaking background in the world, the skyline of Lower Manhattan.

Still, I was seeking peace and quiet and the old Brooklyn Bridge wasn't the place to be on her birthday. So, why not try a different bridge? Why not indulge in a little adventure? I cast my eyes a few blocks north and headed for the Manhattan Bridge.

Aaahhhh. I had the thing pretty much to myself. I took my time heading back to Manhattan over the bridge, stopping now and then to take a picture or two - incredible views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan - as the sun was lowering over the City. Not even the subways trains crossing the bridge to my right disturbed me. It was a beautiful, clear evening, and I was oh, so thankful to have the place to myself.

At the end of the bridge, I was thrown onto Chinatown's Canal Street. Meandering through the less-traveled warrens north of Canal, I lucked upon Little Italy (tiny, as Chinatown has pretty much taken over the Italian sector) and a street fair. Lots of twinkly lights and sausage-and-pepper rolls. The smells! Yum!

I could have grabbed the subway there, but I was still in the mood to walk. One great thing about New York is that you can walk for miles, iconic images at every turn, until before you know it, you've gone 'way farther than you intended.

This happened to me last evening. I just kept walking. It was a gorgeous night, the streets were crowded (as always), and the energy palpable. It wasn't long before I was near NYU/Washington Square. I grabbed a burger at a diner, dropped into Cold Stone for a small strawberry ice cream, and headed for Union Square. Crossing all sorts of "bridges" along the way.

It was late and time to cross the bridge to Spanish Harlem. I didn't realize how physically tired I was until I took a seat on the #6 train. I'd walked long and hard, but it was worth it.

Crossing bridges can certainly clear the mind. I highly recommend it.


jomoore said...

What a great post, and great pics!

It's wonderful to lose yourself wandering, isn't it?

Em said...

What a wonderful trip...I felt like I was walking with you. And the photos are fabulous. In all my visits to NYC...I've walked in midtown Manhattan and taken the subway to everything else. I feel as if I've missed things by not walking more.

Liz said...

Mary, I felt as if I was there with you enjoying your wonderful walk.

chux said...

What a wonderful experience! I loved reading this and viewing the photos.

This September we are in California and seeing friends in San Diego. The bridge that stood out to me on my last visit was Coronado Bridge that sweeps around in San Diego. It's worth looking it up if you haven't seen it or know of it.

Joy Des Jardins said...

What great photos sweetie. Hey one of these days take one of those bridges out to New Jersey...Short Hills to be specific, and go see my daughter, Julie....she'd love YOU. Nice trip Mary...