Friday, June 22, 2012

New York Stories: Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo

While over 1.5 million people live in Manhattan, the great majority of New Yorkers live in the other four boroughs - Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is really easy to get to from Manhattan. A five minute subway ride or a 30 minute walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and you're there.

On a hot, sunny morning, we decided to check out Brooklyn. We did it in one go, but it involved a four mile walk. I'd highly suggest anyone who chooses to check out Brooklyn do it in two parts, so this post is going to be split into two.

The Brooklyn Bridge from the Circle Line Cruise
We began by walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was the first bridge to be built between Manhattan and the mainland (there are 4 now), and was a huge feat of engineering at the time. It took 13 years to complete, beginning construction in 1870, and opening in 1883.

It was designed by John Augustus Roebling, who died soon after construction began as a result of an injury received on-site. Roebling's son, Washington, took over the construction but while diving to lay foundations of the bridge, Washington got The Bends and was left incapacitated. This left Washington's wife, Emily, to take over the job. She delivered orders from Washington's bed to the work crew and oversaw the project through to completion. She soon learned the kinds of things you would expect an engineer to know (higher mathematics, material strengths and so on), and became very knowledgeable about the project. Hooray for female engineers!

Engineering on the bridge, with Brooklyn in the background
The bridge has a pedestrian and cyclist walkway down the middle of it. The cyclists are quite aggressive - but I guess you'd need to be with all the tourists bulging out from their lane and over into the bike lane!

It's an easy walk, with people selling drinks along the way. There are a few great spots for photos back over the bridge to Manhattan. Even taking it slow and stopping for photos you can get over in about 45 minutes.

On the Brooklyn Bridge, overlooking Manhattan.
Once we got over the bridge, we went down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. I mentioned before that New York has some awesome parks, and this was yet another one of them. Our main reason for heading down this way, however, was to visit the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

The Icecream Factory is a tiny little building (it's an old fire boat house) and it serves GIANT icecreams. Well deserved after a hot trip over the bridge.

From here we walked around to Williamsburg. I really wouldn't recommend any one else do it - there are better ways to get there. But that's a story for another post.

The Details
Booklyn Bridge
  • Entry: Free. 
  • Begins by City Hall on Park Street. Follow the cyclist signs.

Brooklyn Icecream Factory
  • Opens at 12pm daily
  • Follow Old Fulton Road down to the river
  • Cost: US$4-7

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