Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is fun, almost festive, and if you decide to go you’ll definitely never be lonely. My husband and I made the trek one cool Monday morning last fall and were both surprised to find the bridge trail buzzing with other travelers, busy locals, people out for a run, and a few pretty brave bikers. It’s the perfect activity for travelers who like to be outdoors and on the move. And there is no where else in the city where you can take in the beautiful NYC skyline as well as the borough of Brooklyn, the New York harbor and even run into a celebrity or two, all from the unique vantage point of a raised walkway on the top of an iconic suspension bridge.
“The great appeal of the Brooklyn Bridge
is that the view is all around you”
If you’re in New York and interested in walking across the bridge to Brooklyn, head for lower Manhattan and look for the small park next to the Manhattan Municipal Building, a beautiful Beaux-Arts building and subway station. You can take a cab, Uber or ride the subway to get there, and easily get your bearings by joining the parade of bikers and walkers headed toward the bridge trail, or keep an eye out for signage. The exit off the bridge on the Brooklyn side is a little confusing, but we followed the path on the right which deposited us directly in front of a detailed map of the area. I highly recommend spending some time here! There are so many interesting neighborhoods, each with a unique history to absorb. We found the Dumbo section of Brooklyn enticing for its amazing views of the city, art galleries, restaurants, and interesting shops in repurposed warehouses. Lunch at the famous pizzeria Grimaldi’s almost seems mandatory (it was delicious) before the hike back to Manhattan. If you’re as curious as I was, the acronym for this wonderful neighborhood, “Dumbo” actually stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.
If you happen to arrive or depart lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall/Chambers Street subway station, make sure to look up and enjoy the views of the lovely vaulted ceiling of white Guastavino* ceiling tiles in the south arcade. The white columns and tile detail is truly stunning. (*Spanish architect who patented the tile arch system in 1885.)
I haven’t been able to spend much time in New York City in the last several years, and never experienced the powerful scene of the post 911 tragedy in person. Print media and images broadcast on television portrayed the horrific impact of the event, but I would have liked to have seen the rebuilding progress in person to offer my respect to the lives lost and to the thousands of people who worked so hard to give aid and rescue.
My arrival fourteen years later to the World Trade Center depicted a completely different scene. As I write this today I am still humbled by the beauty of the site, and moved beyond words by the memorials to the victims. A peacefulness cloaks the sounds of construction and traffic, yet it still pulsates with a quiet energy.
In the space where the Twin Towers once stood, waterfalls cascade into two enormous square memorial pools. The pools are surrounded with bronze panels inscribed with the names of all the 9/11 victims, as well as those who were killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Beneath the tree-shaded memorial plaza is an underground museum with multimedia exhibits that tell the story of 9/11 and its aftermath.
An impressive observatory on the 100th floor of the newly completed Freedom Tower provides 360 degree views of the city and beyond.
Views of the three bridges that connect Manhattan to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
The new World Trade Center area is lovely. An area designed for reflection and grieving also provides hope for a better world. There is an energy and excitement pulsating throughout the 16 acres of the former Twin Towers. It bounces off the sparkling panes of glass of Freedom Tower, the memorial waterfalls and the dramatic new architecture ringing the area. I love this city, New York, and I’m deeply proud of my country.
Please do visit One World Trade Center, the Memorial, the Museum and the rest of gorgeous Lower Manhattan. Official website links are found below, for information and tickets. I recommend buying your tickets to the Memorial and Observatory in advance, as the lines do grow very long.