Think about iconic landmarks in New York City and many of you may mention the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building or of course, Brooklyn Bridge. This gorgeous piece of architecture is one of the most important pieces of New York history and along with the infamous Manhattan skyline, is one one of the most photographed attractions in the Big Apple. Having visited New York City on several occasions and only experiencing the visual sight of the Brooklyn Bridge from a distance, during our recent trip we decided to change this. To take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular attractions and it is with good reason.
The Brookyln Bridge dates back to the late 19th century. Construction initially started in 1870 before completion in 1883 led to the grand opening. President Chester A. Arthur walked across the bridge to the echoes of cannons being fired in celebration of this grand piece of architectural brilliance.
The Brooklyn Bridge is actually a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge and is one of the oldest bridges in USA for either style of construction. From airplanes being flown under this bridge in the early 20th-century to suicide attempts, Brooklyn Bridge has played a notable role in American history. As with many iconic New York City landmarks, this bridge has been the focal point of several terrorist attempts.
How to Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
When figuring out which is the best way to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, you first need to determine whether you want to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice-versa. We opted for the latter approach as we spent the morning wandering around Lower Manhattan, taking in the gorgeous views of the Brooklyn Bridge before making the decision to take the historic walk across the East River.
We made a huge mistake as we started exploring the Lower Manhattan district because after heading down Wall Street from our hotel near the World Trade Center site, we started walking along the East River promenade.
The views are spectacular and as you approach the Brooklyn Bridge you can really appreciate the fine technologies that went into the design of this bridge.
However, there is one huge problem. You have no way of accessing the bridge from here and all you can do is peer up almost 280 feet to the bridge. I strongly encourage you to visit the East River Promenade, even if it means taking quite a detour away from the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, because to stroll along this part of the river is relaxing and offers some pretty cool views of Brooklyn.
Ready to head back inland and cross the bridge? The pedestrian entrance is near City Hall New York and if you are planning to take the subway from another part of New York City here, head on the 4,5,6 line to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop. Alternatives are available as you can see from the map below but the arrow shows the general vicinity where the pedestrian entrances are located.
If you are heading to the entrance from the East River Promenade, follow directions for Pace University and it is about a half mile walk back inland from the river until you reach City Hall.
An Example of Beautiful Architecture
Whether you decide to take a self-guided walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or perhaps you are inspired to take one of the free guided tours offered by companies like Free Tours by Foot, we encourage you to take your time walking over the bridge that spans just over a mile long.
The dedicated pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge above the traffic below makes this an intriguing crossing but also those with a fear of heights should probably be a little wary before attempting to cross.
Take time crossing the bridge to appreciate the history surrounding this design. The different levels for traffic and pedestrians is an intriguing design in itself, but combine this with the age of this construction and you begin to really appreciate the quality behind this architectural masterpiece.
Selfies and Love Locks – Yes or No?
The journey from one side to the other will generally take around a hour given that you will want to spend some time capturing those memorable photographs.
Take a selfie or two with the iconic skyline as a backdrop but we encourage you to NOT take a padlock with you hoping to leave a token of your love on the bridge. Yes, people do it but I certainly do not condone this.
Paris is a popular spot for love locks but when you see the large collection on the Brooklyn Bridge, you will realize that this is popular among visitors despite the potential damage they are causing.
Create your own memories crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and take as many pictures as you want…but don’t allow your desire to follow the masses of tourists and damage this historical attraction.
What to do in Brooklyn?
After completing your crossing of one of the world’s most iconic bridges, give yourself a pat on the back! Seriously though, if you are walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn you have now arrived in the borough of Brooklyn and I am sure raring to see what there is to explore here.
We took the stairway down to Brooklyn Heights from the bridge and immediately saw a myriad of dining, drinking and sightseeing options. If you have time to spend here along with the Dumbo neighborhood, I strongly encourage you to do so.
Unfortunately we took this walk on our final day in New York City so had very little time to experience anything. We took a stroll through Whitman Park which honors the great poet, Walt Whitman who was a native New Yorker, before heading back across the East River on the subway.
We had every intention of walking back across after taking some time to explore the Dumbo neighborhood but our schedule just didn’t allow time for this.
If you are looking for a moment away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, take some time to stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy the breathtaking views of Manhattan.
This was an incredibly relaxing experience taking a leisurely stroll because despite the large number of visitors doing the exact same thing, you can easily take your time and relax on the benches overlooking the East River and spectacular New York City skyline.
We would also encourage you to allocate some time (unlike us) to explore the Brooklyn district. Hopefully on our next trip to the Big Apple, we will take the same walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and spend more time exploring Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights.