Photo Of The Day: Williamsburg Bridge


We often forget that Manhattan is an island. That is, until we remember the number of bridges crisscrossing the skyline to connect the New York City borough with the rest of America.

Most people are familiar with the Brooklyn Bridge and the George Washington Bridge. But my personal favorite is the Williamsburg Bridge, which connects Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I have spent many a late night in a cab over that bridge, and the view of the Manhattan skyline when crossing over from the Brooklyn side never fails to leave me breathless. This view, taken by Flickr user Skylar Grant from the East River waterfront, isn’t too shabby either.

Do you have any beautiful bridge photos? Upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Skylar Grant]

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: On The Ground In New York City

For tourists and locals alike, the post-Sandy vibe in New York City is unusual, even eerie.

With subway lines down throughout the city, slow bus service and intense traffic – everyone’s who’s got a car is currently using it to get around – the remaining signs of wreckage from the storm make for a spooky Halloween. The city’s weird mood is backdropped by the continuing lack of electricity in lower Manhattan, which makes the normally iconic NYC skyline totally dark (you can see it here, if you click through to the 16th image).

Yesterday afternoon, there were hundreds or even thousands of pedestrians walking across the Williamsburg Bridge, which separates powerless Manhattan from a neighborhood in Brooklyn where electricity is flowing and residents are carousing as though a Frankenstorm didn’t just pass through. Children in costume walked the bridge with their parents to go trick-or-treating; for many, walking is the only viable way to get out of lower Manhattan, with public transportation at a near standstill.

The spooky pre-Halloween vibe was perpetuated in the Lower East Side by shops and bodegas that were open for business but totally dark inside. Katz’s Deli, a New York icon, burnishes a sign announcing it’s open – but that it doesn’t have power and, no, you can’t use its restroom.

With nothing to do inside, residents flock to the streets, chatting with their neighbors and walking aimlessly, all with a restless air that reminds me of a post-apocalyptic movie scene. Street lamps are dark at night, and the lack of traffic lights means policemen are directing traffic at crowded intersections. Cars are fending for themselves at mid-sized intersections.

The disquieting restlessness feels like the quiet before a storm of its own. On Halloween, of all nights, I can’t decide whether this is particularly appropriate, or especially haunting.

[Photo credit: Allison Kade]

Video of the day: Seanna Sharpe performs illegal acrobatics show over Williamsburg Bridge

Aerialist Seanna Sharpe 285 Feet Over The Williamsburg Bridge from Ronen V on Vimeo.

Aerialist Seanna Sharpe took a few chances when she climbed the Williamsburg Bridge in July 2011 to perform an illegal acrobatic show for pedestrians beneath. She risked her life, we’d probably all agree, while flailing from the bridge’s beams 285 feet up connected to a white sheet by only her own acrobatic skills. She also risked getting arrested by NYPD officers and, as it turned out, she did get arrested. But the show she put on was spectacular and reason enough for dozens upon dozens of New Yorkers to halt their moving feet on their trek across the Williamsburg Bridge that day. Seanna Sharpe moved beautifully through the air that day in New York and the above video is a compilation video featuring footage captured by several onlookers. Is this the kind of “street performance” you’d stop to watch? I certainly would.

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Undiscovered New York: Under the bridge

The bridges of New York City serve as lifelines, connecting this vast city of islands to the people, places and goods that lie beyond. From the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to the majestic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, just about anywhere you look in New York, you’re bound to see one of these graceful structures dominating the city’s skyline and waterways. But for all the time we spend looking at and walking across New York bridges, did you ever think about what’s going on underneath them?

We tend to think of the space under bridges as a symbolic “no-go” zone, a place inhabited by phantom trolls and the darker side of our imagination. But in New York, a city that is among the most dense of any on earth, all that extra space is actually being put to good use. Since they were built, the undersides of New York City bridges have been used for everything from Cold War bunkers to massive art projects. In fact, rather than being areas of marginal interest, these spaces are among the most dynamic and intriguing in all of New York.

Ready to live it up in one of New York’s most elegant restaurants? How about a visit to a whimsical little lighthouse, located beneath a towering bridge? Or perhaps you’d like to hear the story of one of New York’s forgotten neighborhoods, hidden beneath the zooming path of millions of cars? This week, Undiscovered New York is going “under the bridge,” in search of attractions hidden from view under the city’s many bridges. Check it out after the jump.
Guastavino’s
Bridges provide a way to get past obstacles to travel elsewhere. But we might want to revise that assumption, especially when it comes to Guastavino’s a restaurant conveniently nestled beneath the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge. As you walk into this elegant restaurant on 59th Street, a frequent setting for banquets and weddings, you’re immediately confronted by the size of the cavernous space. Visitors can settle in with a nice cocktail, taking the time to gaze up in wonder at the series of vaulted ceilings supported by towering pillars of rock. It’s like stumbling into the grotto of some forgotten medieval castle, hidden in plain view.

The Little Red Lighthouse
The George Washington Bridge is another of New York’s busiest arteries, pumping Manhattan commuters back and forth on their way to New Jersey across the Hudson River. Those not intimidated by the bridge’s hustle and bustle might want to take a look down below, where they’ll be greeted by the strange sight of the Little Red Lighthouse. This iconic lighthouse was first built back in 1880, when it was installed along the banks of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. By 1921, it had been moved to its present location along the shores of the Hudson, where it helped sailors navigate their way up the river to points north. Today it has become the de facto symbol of Manhattan’s Fort Washington Park, where it now greets the area’s joggers and bikers on their daily routes.

DUMBO
Forget about the elephant in the Disney movie, New York has a DUMBO of its own. This neighborhood, whose name stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass,” is literally surrounded on all sides by bridges, with both the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge passing directly overhead. The result of this infrastructure decision is that DUMBO feels like a neighborhood kept under wraps, bursting with great bars, restaurants and shopping that most visitors pass right by as they drive overhead. Start your visit with an authentic taco at Hecho in Dumbo before taking a look at some of the area’s great stores like record store Halcyon, powerHouse Books or Japanese toy store Zakka. Finish your trip with a stop at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park.