I've met so many wonderful, interesting and (dare I say it) hip people from Brooklyn that I was inclined to spend a little time wandering through this borough that is beloved by so many. Plus, I had never crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot and I had to check that off my bucket list! Brooklyn is bustling with a mix of cafes, restaurants, quirky shops, charming row houses, artsy lofts, friendly dogs and a ton of construction. While we only got a taste of Brooklyn, my favorite part was the spectacular view of Manhattan.
My favorite part of this area were the blocks of brick and stone row houses. The streets were lined with tall trees, which was charming to see in person, but made for bad pictures since the home facades were distorted by branch shadows (and not in a good way). I did mange to snap a shot of window that was so big, it accommodated six garden planters on its sill.
- It is dubbed the "8th Wonder of the World".
- It took 14 years to complete and cost $15 million. It opened to the public on May 24, 1883.
- It was the longest suspension bridge until 1903, when the Williamsburg bridge overtook it by 4.5 feet.
- There used to be a toll to cross the bridge: 1 penny on foot, 5 cents for a horse and rider and 10 cents for a horse and wagon. The tolls were removed in 1911 and it has been free to cross ever since.
- The bridge is home to peregrine falcons - the fastest animals on record, capable of reaching 200 miles per hour. There are 16 recorded pairs of falcons in NYC and the bridge is a regular nesting spot.
- In 1884 P.T. Barnum led 21 elephants over the bridge to prove its stability. Now that would have been an incredible photo op!
- Con man William McCloundy was sentenced to 2.5 years at Sing Sing prison for "selling" the Brooklyn Bridge to a tourist in 1901. This one might be my favorite.
The Brooklyn Bridge connects Brooklyn to Manhattan's financial district and Ground Zero is a short walk from the bridge ramp. I had not been to this part of Manhattan since I was a kid visiting the twin towers on a day trip from Connecticut. September 11th occurred when I was a senior in college and was a traumatizing experience for me as it was for most of the country. Chris and I were both business students and a few of our classmates from previous years were unfortunately there that tragic morning. It could have easily been us in the towers, had we graduated one year earlier. I never had a desire to see Ground Zero until now. After traveling around the world and witnessing so many memorials to such tragic and horrific acts, it was time to pay respect to one of our own country's great tragedies. While this area is still under construction, it is worth seeing, if only to reflect on the gift of life and remember those who left us too soon.