Is the Brooklyn Bridge boardwalk too crowded?

 

 

 

walking the Brooklyn Bridge.JPEG

 

pedestrians on Brooklyn Bridge; photo by Roger W. Smith

 

****************************************************

 

re:

Brooklyn Bridge, the ‘Times Square in the Sky,’ May Get an Expansion

by Winnie Hu

The New York Times

August 8, 2016

 

***************************************************

 

In the above referenced article re pedestrian traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, New York Times reporter Winnie Hu notes:

New York City has commissioned a $370,000 engineering study of the bridge’s walking and biking promenade to address crowding.

An unnecessary study and a waste of money.

The Brooklyn Bridge promenade is very crowded. As noted in the article, the pedestrian walkway is thronged with walkers, including lots of tourists, who (along with the locals), besides walking, often at leisurely pace, are often loitering to take in the view, fraternize, take photos, and so forth. Aggressive bikers on what is supposed to be a separate pathway are often ringing their bells or shouting for pedestrians to get out of the way.

Sound chaotic and unruly? Indeed, it is. But this is not a problem, nor is it a cause for alarm, in my opinion. It’s actually kind of fun. The fact that the bridge is thronged with cheerful pedestrians — besides its aesthetic appeal and “walker friendly” construction (the boardwalk, which is raised above the traffic lanes; the benches) — is what make walking over the Brooklyn Bridge such fun.

Cities are crowded places by definition. Don’t like it? There are smaller cities, exurbs, suburbs, small towns, and so forth where, I would imagine, one can find uncrowded streets and thoroughfares to walk on.

To get back to the stampede on the Brooklyn Bridge that the Times reporter describes (accurately): I like it — I should say, LOVE it. I am not alone among walking enthusiasts who love the experience of walking across the bridge.

If one wants seclusion or a place to walk without hardly anyone else around — in the City, that is — such places can be found. Central Park, believe it or not, often feels uncrowded — in some spots is virtually empty — during many times: weekdays, for example.

I frequent a park in Queens that is one of the most beautiful in the City. It is in a residential neighborhood, is quiet, and is almost always uncrowded. Not just uncrowded, but practically empty. (And, yet it is not a scary place to be in; on the contrary, it feels safe and always has a core of dog walkers and neighborhood residents.)

I frequently walk across the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan and back because is it is the shortest route for me to walk to Manhattan. The Queensboro Bridge is not a scenic or fun walkway. There are no good views. There is no boardwalk. There are no benches. There are few pedestrians. Sometimes, I don’t care. I am lost in my own thoughts. But, on “aesthetic” and “experiential” grounds — as a walker who loves walking for its own sake — I prefer the Brooklyn Bridge by far. It’s no contest. And, I like the crowds. One gets such good vibes from them. Everyone seems cheerful and friendly.

A final point: pedestrian crowding on the Brooklyn Bridge is a seasonal thing. The bridge is thronged with pedestrians mainly on the nicest days and during the warmest times of the year. At other times, it is less crowded. Not that crowding during the good weather is a problem. It’s anything but, in my opinion, as I have argued above.

Depend upon it. The “traffic engineers,” pedestrian traffic engineers, besides pocketing a hefty fee, will mess things up. They will make the experience of walking the bridge worse at the minimum — whatever “solution” they come up with to address the “problem” of pedestrian overcrowding — and could ruin it.

The boardwalk has been there since the bridge was originally opened in 1883. Leave it alone!

 

— Roger W. Smith

     August 2016

 

***********************************************************

 

See also

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/03/30/brooklyn/

 

 

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. He hosts separate websites devoted to the authors Theodore Dreiser and Pitirim A. Sorokin and to classical music as well as family history/genealogy.
This entry was posted in cities; urban living; urban policies and planning, general interest, my city and neighborhood, personal views of Roger W. Smith, social engineering and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is the Brooklyn Bridge boardwalk too crowded?

  1. tokyotree says:

    Well said, Roger. Better a crowd than nobody there! And as you point out, if you want to get away from the crowd, there are such places to be found — just go to the place that is not where everyone else is going.

  2. Thanks, Ella — appreciate the comment and the way you said it. “Better a crowd than nobody there.” I like that. I wish I thought to say it myself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s