All my life, I have always wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had that compulsion to do so. Maybe it has something to do with how the bridge has become an icon for New York City, or that it was an architectural feat when it was first built.
Completed in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1903 when the nearby Williamsburg Bridge was built. It has since been declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.
It’s not a glamorous bridge by any stretch of the imagination. Unless you count the sheer mass of it to be glamorous. The Chain Bridge that stretches across the Danube river in Budapest is much more magnificent in my opinion, but the Brooklyn Bridge has its own draw and charm to it.
The bridge is flanked by two towers with large Gothic arches that reach a height of 276 ft (84 meters). While I was there, it was under construction (until 2014!) and a lot of the bridge was covered by a tarp, so it was hard to truly appreciate the span of the bridge stretching from Lower Manhattan into Brooklyn.
There is a raised platform that runs the length of the bridge for both pedestrians and cyclists. The entrance onto the platform on the Manhattan side is easy to locate. There are signs and you can easily spot it from the City Hall Park facing the East River on Centre St.
The walk across the is about 2km or 1.25 miles which seemed to go by rather quickly. There are benches along the route if you need to pause for a rest. We stopped periodically to take in the scenery and to look backwards. Making your way across the bridge, you get a great view of the Manhattan skyline.
There were a lot of people out walking the bridge despite the August heat. Walking across, there is a noticeable drop in people the further we went. The Brooklyn side of the bridge didn’t have many people walking at all.
Once on the other side, don’t forget to make a stop at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for a sweet treat and to take in a different view of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
- Wear comfortable shoes – It is quite the trek across the bridge itself and then the walk to the closet subway station or restaurant before you can rest your feet. There are benches, but it’s always good to be prepared.
- Stay in the pedestrian lane – There is also a lane for bikes and they won’t hesitate to yell at you to get out of their way. I saw a few people almost get trampled over by a bike whizzing past.
- Try walking from the Brooklyn side into Manhattan – You’ll get a great view of the skyline all the way across and you don’t have to fight as many tourists at the beginning of the journey. I didn’t do this, but this is a recommended alternative to walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
- Don’t forget to bring water and a hat on a hot day!
- There are many options to get to the entrance of the bridge if you’re going by subway. The 4, 5, & 6 stop just around the corner from the bridge and the N and R stop on the other side of City Hall Park.
- Taking the subway back from Brooklyn to Manhattan can be confusing. Google Maps shows the entrance to the closest subway station (High St. Lines A, C) as being inside a park, but in reality, it is on Old Fulton St, on the opposite side of the street facing the park.
- For an alternative way of getting back across to Manhattan, there is the option of taking the East River Ferry (or for a splurge, the Water Taxi).