Jukeboxparables

WT2010 – USA – Day 41 – The Bridges of the East River

Posted in Travels by jukeboxparables on April 25, 2010

WT2010 – USA
Day 41 – The Bridges of the East River
[On the iPOD] Joy Division / Interpol / Foals / Babyshambles

I was wondering ever since I got here where the best spot to view the bridges of New York would be, this is why staying at a hostel is a such a great thing; you can ask people. A dorm friend mentioned that High St in Brooklyn is the train stop to head to. The station leads you a hundred metres or so from the pedestrian entry to the Brooklyn bridge.

The Brooklyn bridge was built in 1883 and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA. It links everywhere I’ve mentioned thusfar in Lower-Manhattan to Brooklyn across the East River. I was all set to walk across it except then I noticed a ‘tourist placard’ highlighting some areas of Interest on the foreshore around the western side of the bridge.

I only ended up walking to the first pillar and then turned back to get some proper photos of it from below and checkout the area of parks known as ‘DUMBO’. Which is apparently an acronym for ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’.

Right beside the Brooklyn bridge to the North is the Manhattan bridge though also linking Lower-Manhattan and newer it’s just as pretty in my view. Dumbo and it’s surrounds have all been gentrified lately which brand new parks and a foreshore walking area (construction is still going on) and a small group of restaurants peppered the area. No doubt it’s going to become popular when complete. I wondered what the area was like before all the new shiny buildings ‘moved in’. One old building was still in a derelict state with rusted cast iron doors. I peaked inside a crevice between a door to find random plate scraps about; probably the home to many a homeless person.

I snapped some photos of the Manhattan bridge, walked the shoreline towards the Brooklyn bridge and then to the extreme southern point of the newly constructed park. You could see The Statue of Liberty in the distance as well as a nice panorama of East Manhattan.

Joggers were already taking over the area, though I did share a hello nod from a fellow wannabe photographer. It’s good to see this area in this transitional state I think, though I would’ve loved to explore it awhile ago.

Some food points of note were; ‘a home made ice cream factory!’ and further away from the shore an amazing store obsessed with chocolate of all sorts.

I probably spent a good half-hour sitting on the foreshore though. It’s actually quite amazing, or discerning even; that is what New York does to a person. For whatever bad things people might have to say about America, New York is the answer to all that crap. For all it’s crime and violence, social and homelessness issues and other problems It’s so big and encompassing you just get pulled in and before you know it your a part of it all. It’s as if it’s size gives it it’s own gravity.

It feels like I’ve been lazy in New York to some extent, every day in every other city I’ve had something planned but with the scope of the city you just feel content to wander around and feel you’ve achieved something. The subway is probably my favourite on this journey thus far, it’s grimeyness, noisiness and generally the rattling state of the tracks don’t detract from the fact its laid out fairly well and the trains run bang on time.

I think a fair comparison of the A C E line to Brooklyn is to that of; one of those ‘ghost ride’ trains you used to get on as a kid in dodgy theme-parks. Theres a section where you can see the walls 20cm either side of the carriage as it seems to be topping out at max speed and the carriage itself is banging left to right testing your grip on the railings until finally the conductor locks up the brakes probably seeing how quickly he can pull up at the station ahead. But it all runs like clockwork.

I had many a discussion with different people, some say New York is a hole to live in; it’s traffic the ‘general rudeness of people’ make it a nightmare. Others say it’s better to live here than to visit. I still haven’t made up my mind. In a way you can find everything New York has in other cities; it’s even better in some but it just has this vibe of a modern-cultural-melting-pot-juggernaught that’s been doing it longer than anyone else and it’ll keep on doing so no matter what you think or do. It’s vastness is totally welcoming, alluring even.

My first site of it in the taxi from the airport was simply ‘wow’, after two weeks I’m no longer ‘wowed’ but just feel like I’ve always lived here. It’s probably because most other cities in the world have copied what New York has to offer and I feel a comforting familiar similarity.

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