Today marks the 129th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. Happy Birthday, you barely look a day over 100! This photo by Gadling’s own Willy Volk was taken from the NYC Water Taxi. He used a fake tilt-shift effect to get the unique perspective and slightly blurred edges, but it reminds me of the view you might see on a rainy day riding the subway over the neighboring Manhattan Bridge. It’s a view that never fails to inspire visitors and New Yorkers – one that’s unmistakably New York. Celebrate the anniversary with a walk across its span to Brooklyn and back; it’s one of New York’s last great free thrills.
Around there globe, there are many amazing bridges that combine interesting history, incredible architecture and breathtaking views. Crossing a great bridge, especially on foot, can be quite a memorable experience, not to mention it’s completely free. While it is hard to choose only ten, here is a list of some of the best bridge walks around the world that everyone should experience.
When it comes to the Sydney Harbour Bridge you have a few options. You can either walk across the arch-shaped structure from one end to the other, taking in views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, or you can climb to the top. In 2010, climbing the bridge was actually rated one of the World’s Top Ten Experiences by Lonely Planet. During the climb, which takes you up more than 300 feet, you will be given protective clothing to aid against the weather and will be secured by a wire lifeline. Beginning at the eastern side of the bridge, climbers will ascend to the summit and go down on the western end.Charles Bridge
Prague, Czech Republic
The historic Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava River and is about 1,700 feet long. Its construction began in 1357 under the sponsorship of King Charles IV. Today, the bridge is a lively attraction, with artists, entertainers, and marketers catering to tourists during the day. In the evening, the setting is a bit more peaceful and the bridge and Prague Castle are lit up, giving the structure an entirely different vibe. During both times, you will get great views of the city and its sites.
One of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, the Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and goes over the East River, giving walkers spectacular views of the New York City skyline. The main span of the structure is about 1,600 feet and is not only an icon of New York but also a National Historic Landmark. The bridge has been used during many situations by New Yorker’s to leave Manhattan on foot, such as during the blackouts of 1965, 1977, and 2003, as well as after the infamous 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Henderson Waves Bridge is an 899-foot long pedestrian bridge that connects Mount Faber Park with Telok Blangah Hill Park. It is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, sitting 118 feet above Henderson Road. What makes this bridge so special is it’s unique curved design, making it look similar to a roller coaster, with hidden alcoves and seats inside. Make sure to experience this bridge at night in between 7PM and 2AM when the LED lights are on.
The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval arch bridge that spans the Arno River. It’s most famous for still having shops on it, as was once very common. Stroll across the bridge while perusing the goods of artisans, jewelers, and souvenir sellers while taking photos of Renaissance architecture. The bridge also has a bit of an ironic history. After being destroyed by floods and being rebuilt multiple times, it is the only bridge in Florence not destroyed during WWII.
The Jacques Cartier Bridge is a steel truss bridge that gives people access to Montreal Island, St. Helen’s Island, and Longueuil. It spans the Saint Lawrence River and walking over it will give you spectacular views of Montreal, especially at night. In the summer the bridge closes to vehicular traffic for the annual fireworks competition held at La Ronde, with the Jacques Cartier being the best viewing spot for the show, sometimes drawing more than 50,000 people.
The Golden Gate Bridge in a suspension bridge that spans the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean (also known as the Golden Gate) and connects San Francisco to Marin County. It has been declared one of the modern Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers and has been said to be “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world” by Frommer’s travel guide.
While the stroll across the Tower Bridge is short, the views make this a must-experience. Often mistakenly referred to as the London Bridge, the structure holds two towers that are connected by two horizontal walkways. For a bit of an adventurous experience, go inside the towers to explore the exhibits of film, photos, and interactive displays. Then, walk across via the upper walkway for photo-worthy views of the Thames River and London’s famous sites.
Of course, a bridge that gives views of the Eiffel Tower and the Chaillot Palace would have to be included in this list. The Pont D’iéna spans the Seine River and connects the Left Bank, where the Eiffel Tower is, to the district of Trocadéro on the Right Bank. Where the bridge begins on the Left Bank you will get the feeling that you are at a small fair, with the festive atmosphere and carousel ride. As you walk along, you can also see sculptures of warriors that were put there in 1853.
The Magdeburg Water Bridge is a navigable aquaduct connecting Elbe-Havel Canal to the Mittellandkanal. This unique bridge crosses the Elbe River and, at 3,012 feet, is the longest navigable aquaduct in the world. Basically, this bridge is a raised body of water that sits over another body of water, which can be a pretty interesting sight (as you can see in the photo on the right from Wikipedia). Snap pictures of the German countryside while watching the ships as they pass by.
When most people think of places to drink with a view they automatically think of rooftop bars. For those who are interested in great shots of the New York skyline without the outrageous prices and swanky atmosphere of a rooftop venue, Beekman’s Beer Garden should be your next stop.
While the beer selection is limited, at $7 a pint it is reasonably priced, especially when immersed in the laid-back atmosphere, brew in hand, right on the water. Choices include Magic Hat #9-Not Quite Pale Ale, a drier beer with a crisp flavor, Six Point Crisp Lager, a soft honey malt with peppery hops, Blue Point Toasted Lager, a copper brew made from six different malts, and Ommegaang Witte Ale, the companies take on a Belgian-white.
Want some food to go along with your brew? Beekman’s menu features perfect pub-type grub, such as sausages, burgers, chicken tenders, and cheese fries. And, because you are on the water, a selection of seafood such as fish and chips and shrimp cocktail can also be ordered.
While the tented area full of picnic and pool tables is open to the public, there is also a man-made beach section which is the VIP area of the beer garden, complete with sand and beach chairs for those who want a little more luxury.
At 6PM on Fridays patrons can enjoy “Fest Fridays”, with a different all-you-can-eat party-theme each week, such as Chili Fest, Pig Fest, and Seafood Fest. Sundays offer “Brews, Blues, and BBQ” at 1PM featuring various musicians and shows.
The best part about Beekman’s is, hands down, the view of the Brooklyn Bridge at night. With the bridge being adorned with small lights as well as being a stone’s throw away from the bar, the setting is a bit surreal and a great opportunity to take photos.
Beekman’s Beer Garden is located in South Street Seaport at Beekman St. and South St. on the North side of Pier 17. It is accessible by the A,C,J,M,Z,2,3,4,5 at Fulton St.
Hours of operation are Wednesday-Sunday, 12PM-3AM.
If you are in New York today, consider paying homage to one of the city’s most venerable landmarks: the Brooklyn Bridge, which turns 128 today. The iconic bridge opened in 1883 after 13 years of construction. As is common with mid-week birthdays, the main celebrations happened over the weekend, including a special offer to get a $28 tattoo of the Brooklyn Bridge from a local tattoo parlor. Brooklyn Tattoo illustrated 60-70 proud Brooklynites in 2010, and inks another dozen or so each month. That’s a lot of bridge enthusiasts!
Should you not want such a permanent souvenir, you can always celebrate with a walk across the bridge and a picnic at the newly-expanded Brooklyn Bridge Park (where yours truly got married 7 years ago), but forget the Champagne – no alcohol is allowed on the bridge or in the park.
Photo of Langley aircraft carrier under the Brooklyn Bridge courtesy San Diego Air & Space Museum archives.
Hats off to Flickr user MikeGL for this unique capture of New York’s world-famous Brooklyn Bridge. One of the great joys of visiting this unassuming New York borough is walking across the Bridge from Manhattan. Along the way, you’ll get a great view of the Bridge’s unique arches, soaring above you here in dramatic fashion. Make sure to give it a try next time you find yourself in the Big Apple.