Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

12 May 2017

I’m currently on a train and there’s an old guy next to me wearing a New York sweatshirt and I’m trying to resist the urge to be like WHEN DID YOU GO? WAS IT MAGICAL?

Although that’s kind of a stupid question. New York just creates its own kind of glittering magic. Like Dumbledore or raspberry magnums.

And you know what makes it particularly glittery? The Brooklyn Bridge.

The main reason to walk the Brooklyn Bridge is that, if you don’t, you’ll miss out on some of the best views in the city and your Instagram page probs won’t talk to you for like a week as a result. I loved it so much, we walked the bridge again on our last day. But it’s also free and there’s a ShakeShack at the end of it so there’s that as well.

Despite the fact that walking the bridge was top of my to-do list in New York, I think G and I were both a bit huh when we first got going. It was a glorious day with clear blue skies and there were a lot of people who had clearly had the same idea as us.

Cyclists get maaaaad when you stray over into their lane so it felt a tad like we were all walking single file to get onto a bus or summin’. But then you get over the water, the bridge widens out a bit and it very quickly becomes a more relaxed walk. Almost immediately, we could see the statue of liberty in the distance looking so tiny compared to the towering skyscrapers behind us. The bridge widens out when you get to each of the towers, so that gave me ample time to stop and take photos of the view without the fear of being hit by a cyclist.

The bridge itself had a vintage feel. Once purely practical, the old but still solid structure felt quirky and yet majestic almost. There was just something about the symmetry of the cables as they rose upwards to the top of the towers.

When we reached Brooklyn, we immediately walked onto the Brooklyn Heights promenade which is directly opposite the financial district so gives you some pretty sexy views of lower Manhattan with the Freedom Tower, and the Statue of Liberty. It felt like a film. In fact, I have actually seen many film scenes take place in that exact spot, with the decking under my feet and the boats streaking across the water, so tiny compared to the trade centre.

We then moseyed over into Brooklyn Bridge Park and, not going to lie, I actually squealed at how good the view of the bridge stretching across the water towards those skyscrapers was. We were stood on this little pebbly beach and the sky was so blue and I just kept thinking, like the typical cliché that I am, that it was so much better than I could ever have imagined. And, yes, I’m so lame but I know anyone who will have experienced the magic of New York will get it.

When G managed to persuade me to leave that view, we wandered into DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) to have a look round the Brooklyn Flea market which was so very cute. There was such a vintage pink sofa that I had my eye on but I doubt I would have got it through airport security so I had to let it go.

We then went to Washington street to see the iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge framed by the street. It’s basically a tourist/photographer’s dream, particularly when you look closely and see the Empire State Building perfectly framed underneath it.

We wanted to go to Juliana’s pizza for lunch, which we’d heard was really good but the queues were just too long for us (especially in the heat) so we decided to go for a takeaway ShakeShack instead (second one in two days but hey HOLIDAAAAY). I honestly have absolutely no regrets about this though. The Juliana’s queue probably meant that it was really good but we essentially had a ShakeShack picnic in Brooklyn Bridge Park with that view and that’s now one of my favourite memories of the trip. I honestly could not recommend doing this more, particularly if the weather is good. Does life really get much better than eating crinkly fries in the sunshine with a view of Manhattan? Answer: nah.

Walking back over the bridge on the way back is even better cos that is where the view is at. You just have it all before you for the entire walk back and it’s so beautiful. On one side you’ve got the built-up shininess of the financial district with the Freedom tower glittering away, all new and shiny and hopeful. And on the other side you’ve got traditional New York with the Empire State and you can imagine what it would have been like once upon a time, with 1930s music playing in your head (cos obvs I’m a regular listener of such things).

There are a few people trying to sell you things as you walk along the bridge. Some of it is tacky tourist stuff like key rings etc but we actually ended up buying two sketches from an artist as we walked back. One is of the bridge itself and another is of a typical New York street scene, with the Chrysler building in the background. These are both now framed on the wall in our flat and I have so much love for them.

I feel like, when planning a trip to New York (tips here btw), it could be tempting to just stick to Manhattan, particularly when short on time. But I would genuinely implore you to head to Brooklyn via the bridge. Not only is it FREE, it’s also one of the best things to do in New York.