It was 125 years ago yesterday that the first pedestrians crossed the finished Brooklyn bridge. The bridge was started when John Roebling completed the design in 1869.
It took 14 years to build, at the sacrifice of 21 lives, including Roebling himself. He died of lockjaw 16 days after having his foot crushed by a ferry that crashed into a pier upon which Roebling stoodon the NY side of the river.
I think the bridge is amazing. I am seriously in love with it. On my frequent evening walks in Brooklyn Heights, I gaze at it in awe each time I lay eyes upon it. The Brooklyn Bridge is my favorite historic landmark.
Fascinated by its 1,595-foot span that floats about 135 feet above the East River, I read a book about the building of the bridge last weekend--before I even realized we were closing in on its significant birthday. It was an amazing engineering feat in the late 1800's, back when some attempts at suspension bridges failed as the bridges crashed down with the first gale winds.
In honor of its anniversary, Brooklyn has been celebrating this week. Friday evening I walked over to Fulton Ferry Park (also known as the Brooklyn Bridge Park), just beneath and to the north of the east tower of the bridge. Free movies were being aired on the big lawn. Kids were running around, adults were flashing photos with their digital cameras, and there were lots of viewers with their picnics laid out on blankets. There was also plenty of free popcorn.
Just after 9PM, the light show on the bridge started. A friend of mine at work had told me about it. I didn't know at all what to expect.
Looking up at the Brooklyn tower, suddenly the arches of that tower was alive with color. It was a spectacular sight! The NY tower also changed colors--from yellow to orange to an azure blue, then green, bright pink, and white. Even the roadway along the side of the bridge was lit.
Saturday night was a repeat of Friday night's festivities, and this time I took my camera with me. I could have stared at that beautiful bridge all night.
Walking home on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade last night, I glanced back at the bridge one last time. The long roadway was lit up in blue, and the towers were orange. I recall thinking, "If only Roebling could see this now."
Yesterday afternoon I jogged across the bridge, against the hordes of Saturday tourists meandering along with no regard for the other pedestrians on the narrow path. The only reason I ran instead of walked was to avoid being pushed into the bike lane one more time.
The bridge gets crowded on sunny weekend days, so normally I take the Manhattan bridge on my walk. But, in honor of its May 24 anniversary, I fought the crowds of walkers, runners, picture-taking tourists, bicyclists, roller-bladers, and even a bride. . . .
On the other side, I walked across Manhattan to the Hudson, and then down the promenade to Battery Park. It was a gorgeous day, but clouds rolled in when I got to the other side. Today is supposed to be even better - sunny and 70. And I'll be off to my first visit to Yankee stadium soon.