Walking the bridges of New York City

After the iconic skyscrapers dominating New York Cities skyline, the number of bridges which act as a backdrop are rated highly for most visitors. There are over 2000 bridges and tunnels in New York City. However there are some which are more popular than others.  During my time in the city, I managed to walk two bridges which span the East River, and wanted to share, how you can also do this, if you’re hitting the Big Apple.

1. Brooklyn Bridge

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The Brooklyn Bridge, is almost an icon in its own rights,  it was designated as a national historic landmark, and has featured as a backdrop in many movies and TV shows.

Although it is one of the oldest bridges in the US (it was completed in 1883), it certainly is not dated, and was such a pleasure to walk across. It is a toll free crossing for cars and trucks, and is often busy.

How to walk it

 

You can cross the bridge from either the Manhattan, or Brooklyn side. As we were heading  back to our Brooklyn apartment, we thought that we would cross it from the city.

Entry onto the bridge is not far from the city hall. There are a number of subway stops close by include City Hall (Brooklyn Bridge – on the 4, 5, or 6 Brooklyn bound train). City Hall (on the N or R line) or Fulton Street (the A or C line) is also within walking distance.

How long does it take

We stopped several times for photographs, but all up it took us about 30 minutes, although the Bridge keeps on going down into Brooklyn, and if you want to get off to reach Brooklyn Bridge Park, you’ll need to take the exit off to Water Street, which isn’t very visible. Otherwise, the end of the walkway from the bridge is officially at Tillary Street.

What to see on it11156226_560491740127_2430456984522555361_n

As well as beautiful views looking back onto the city, you can also spot the Manhattan Bridge, The Statue of Liberty from afar, as well as public displays of affection from the love locks that have become so popular Worldwide.

 

Tips for crossing

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My sister Jess, reviewing her photos as she crosses.

 

  • Keep out of the way of cyclists and commuters who use the bridge frequently; I saw a number of tourists, standing in the middle of the Bridge posing for photos, whilst angry commuters cycled past and swore at them
  • Stay in the lane –  there is a lane for cyclists and a lane for pedestrians – stick to this, and no-one gets hurt!
  • Wear a good pair of walking shoes
  • Avoid the bridge around peak time (4pm – 7pm is the busiest, but we crossed it then, you just need to be extra considerate)

 

2. Williamsburg Bridge

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The Manhattan skyline is clearly visible on the Williamsburg Bridge

 

The Williamsburg Bridge is another toll free crossing for road users,  and was completed in 1903, were for 21 years it held the record of the longest suspension bridge span.

The Williamsburg Bridge connects the suburb of Williamsburg in Brooklyn to the Lower East side of Manhattan.

As my sister and I were staying in Williamsburg, we decided to cross it, one sunny Sunday afternoon, towards the city.

How to walk it

Pedestrian access to the bridge is just off South 4th Street. There is a separate entry for cyclists, should you wish to cross the bridge this way. The nearest subway stations on the Manhattan side are Delancy Street (F line)  and Essex Street (J, M and Z line) and from the Williamsburg side, it is walkable from Bedford Avenue (L line) or Marcy Avenue (J, M and Z line).

How long does it take?

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Photo credit to Jess Morrison at blogherjourney.wordpress.com

We didn’t actually time ourselves on this one, but it felt longer than Brooklyn Bridge, so we would estimate approximately 45 minutes as there is a steep incline to access the Bridge from the Williamsburg side.

What to see on the Williamsburg Bridge

A number of locals living in Brooklyn use this bridge to cross over from one side to the other, so it can get busy. As the bridge is part of the hipster Williamsburg hangout, there is a lot of Graffiti and artwork displayed along the bridge, which adds to its character.

Graffiti is a common theme on the Williamsburg Bridge
Graffiti is a common theme on the Williamsburg Bridge

The Manhattan Skyline is clearly visible as soon as you get to the peak of the Bridge, and you’ll hear and see a number of subway trains going across.

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New York Subway trains passing each other on the Williamsburg Bridge

You’ll also see a number of runners crossing the Bridge, and families with children on bikes, especially on a weekend morning.

 Tips for crossing

  • Stay in lane (like Brooklyn Bridge), there is a designated walking and cycling path – and respect the locals crossing
  • Wear a good pair of walking shoes

 Other Bridges that cross the East River

The Manhattan Bridge is another Bridge you can cross from one side to the other, however, during my trip I did not get to do this journey.

I did get a photo of the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge

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I love bridges, being near to the water, and seeing a skyline; crossing both of these bridges was perfect for me and free. It is a great way to get out of the crowds; crossing some of the bridges should be on your list when you visit New York.

What Bridges Have you crossed on your travels?

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