Recently, I had the fantastic experience of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, New York. The idea was born a few years ago, while at a hockey tournament with my son, Corey, in Sweden. For ten days, Corey lived with a Swedish host family whose son played on the same team. The parents of the players were housed in a nearby hotel. One day, the parents met with the host families for a trip to a local museum, the Vasa. The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum in Stockholm built around an almost fully intact, 7th century ship. In 1628, Vasa, a 64-gun warship, sank on her maiden voyage. Since the museum opened in 1990, it is the most visited museum in Scandanavia.
What was interesting to me was that before our visit to the Vasa Museum, my son’s host family had never been to this popular attraction that was only fifteen minutes from their house. This experience made me think about how many tourist attractions in New York City that I, myself had never visited. On the plane ride home from Sweden, I made a list of places to visit and attractions to see in my home city.
One month after we returned from our trip, Corey and I went to the top of the Empire State Building. That spring, we toured around Manhattan on a Circle Line Cruise. The following fall the whole family visited Ellis Island, the Statute of Liberty and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Last year, I visited the Cloisters, a unique branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which exhibits art, architecture and artifacts from Medieval Europe, located in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan.
I have seen two performances of Shakespeare in the Park at the beautiful, outdoor Delacorte Theatre and walked through Central Park to the observation deck of Belvedere Castle. In my younger days, during Christmastime, I ice skated with friends on the rink in Rockefeller Center with a bird’s eye view of the towering tree.
So with relatives visiting from out of town, my husband and I thought it would be the perfect time to take a walk across Brooklyn Bridge. We took the train to Brooklyn and spent some time at the Brooklyn Bridge Park before we walked across the bridge. The park spans between Pier 1- Pier 6 and is located between Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street in Brooklyn. There is a bike lane, a kids’ water playground, sand volleyball courts and beautiful landscaping. We wished we had more time to spend in the park and vowed to return again soon.
When we finally arrived at the bridge, we walked from Brooklyn to Manhattan so that the scenic New York City skyline was in view at all times. Opened in 1883, the famous bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. The bridge which spans 1.1 miles in each direction, proved to be a comfortable walk. We encountered bikers and walkers alike and everyone courteously shared the pathway.
Along the way, we saw clusters of locked padlocks of all shapes and colors. We later learned that the locks, dubbed the “Love Padlocks” are left by people who visit the bridge and attach a padlock with their name and that of their of significant other, written or engraved on the padlock and then they throw the key into the water below as a romantic gesture.
After walking through the Brooklyn Bridge Park and then across the bridge, we were tired and hungry. In my opinion, there is nothing that screams native New York better than a pastrami on rye from the famous Katz’s Delicatessen.
Since opening in 1888, Katz’s has remained a Lower East Side favorite among locals and tourists alike. If not pastrami on rye, then how about a little tongue? Leave it to my husband to seize the moment and create a memorable photo op that had our waiter rolling his eyes. Amid the hysterical laughter from our relatives, I was too embarrassed to admit to the waiter that my husband and I are native New Yorkers.
At the end of another memorable day with visiting family, I tried to think of other landmarks and attractions that I have yet to explore- in my own city. Maybe this post will make you think about the attractions in your city that people from other cities or other countries come to experience. What museums and attractions have you not yet explored in your city?
Thanks to Jay for the great photos!