Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Stroll to Brooklyn

In my opinion, the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most picturesque strolls in the New York area. I had never done the trek (duh-this would be a really boring blog if I wrote about things I HAD done), but on Friday, my buddies Erin B and Rachael joined me for a lovely, sunny late afternoon walk across the bridge. We brought water and (most of us) donned sneakers for what we thought would be a nice long walk. It was nice, definitely, but it wasn't long at all. I had seen pictures of people walking across the bridge during the blackout of ’03 and assumed that it would be a good three miles(ish) in length. Not at all. The bridge is the length of no more than a leisurely afternoon stroll. It took us about thirty minutes. And we stopped to take more than a few pictures along the way.

The trickiest thing about walking the bridge is getting to it. If you take the A train to Chambers, the R to City Hall, the 1 to Park Place, the 6 to City Hall, or the J to Chambers, you're pretty much there. But, when you arrive, there aren't really any signs that tell you exactly WHERE the bridge is located. There's a lovely park right below City Hall where you can enjoy some greenery and a fountain while you get your bearings and locate the City Hall building. The walking path across the bridge is directly in front of it. You'll see tons of people going that way once you're there. That's the one down side of walking the bridge. Lots of people. And bikes. And strollers. And rollerblades. You get the idea. So, we chatted, dodged bikes, and walked. It wasn't so bad.

The Brooklyn Bridge was built between 1869 and 1883 and has a little area at the center for photo ops and history buffs that’s outfitted with benches and bronze plaques. The bridge itself, I must say, is really, really beautiful. The many wires that hold up the structure intersect at different angles from different vantage points and form a complex grid through which one can view the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler building, the Empire State building, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Ellis Island. It’s the perfect place for a little overview of New York sights. We stopped to take some pics, side stepped a jogging woman with a bugaboo, and sauntered on into Brooklyn.

Here’s the second best thing about walking across the bridge: what to do when you get there. When we got off the bridge, we walked around and under the bridge to grab a little refreshment. Under the Brooklyn bridge lies a semi-secret gaggle of degustory treats. There’s The River CafĂ© that offers seating on the East River and pricey menu of tri-state renown, there’s Grimaldi’s pizza (voted the best pizza in New York for over ten years running), and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Parlor. Guess where we went. Yup. Ice cream. Now, Brooklyn Ice Cream Parlor is the real deal. They make all of the creamy goodness in house and scoop it out in a converted schoolhouse that sits on a dock that juts out into the river. I chose a scoop of butter pecan and I must say that it was the best ice cream I have had in a long while. Like, real old fashioned ice cream. We took our desserts to a bench and sat in the sunshine quietly licking our treats. This was pure, unadulterated bliss. Good friends, beautiful weather, and sugar. We watched the boats cut through the navy river and laughed at an awkward amateur model attempting to pose for a picture. It was a little twenty minute taste of the coming lazy days of summer. Let me tell you, my whistle was wet. Thanks, Brooklyn.

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