As part of his American Studies trip to New York City, #1 Son and his classmates explored Manhattan’s Lower East Side to get a sense for what things might have been like before immigrants were displaced by trendy condos and art galleries. The highlights of the day included a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge and a visit to the restored 1863 era ethnic apartments of the Tenement Museum, complete with sheet metal ceilings and turn of the century plumbing. Along the way he took some awesome photos we just had to share.
The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic symbol of the industrial era in New York City. Completed in 1883, the 1,595 foot main span links lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is the oldest suspension bridge in the country. It took 13 years to build and was an engineering marvel in its day. More than two dozen construction workers lost their lives in the process. Many passed away due to complications of ”the bends” which resulted from working in deep water caissons.
In the early days the bridge carried pedestrians and horse drawn traffic on the same deck, but today it supports six lanes of automobile traffic on the main deck with a heavily used pedestrian and bike path located on a raised center walkway.
The bridge recently passed its 125th birthday and thanks to almost constant maintenance it is in decent shape for such a heavily used structure. It carries 135,00 or more cars most days.
One thing that has not changed in more than a century is the view of the Statue of Liberty which opened in 1886. Even as the docks have kept up with the times, Lady Liberty holds her ground.
Walking back you get a great view of the Manhattan skyline. For a view of the Bridge at night check out A Teen’s View of New York City by Day and by Night.
#1 Son’s school group walked across the bridge, which is the way many people got across the river in the 1880s. If you go, there are other options as well.
Bike and Ferry Options Available Too
If you want to spend a day exploring lower Manhattan and seeing the sights from land and water, check out a new offering from New York Water Taxi and Bike and Roll NYC. They have teamed up to offer 1-day self-guided tour that takes you bike riding through the Hudson River Park, past City Hall and across the Brooklyn Bridge. For the return trip, hop on the New York City Water Taxi at Brooklyn’s Fulton Ferry Landing for a cruise back to Manhattan, passing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. All rentals include an 8-hour bike rental, the water taxi ride, a 4-color route map detailing sights along the suggested route, a helmet and a bike lock. In celebration of National Bike Month, Bike the Brooklyn Bridge/Water Taxi Back is offering a promotional package price of $49 for adults and teens and $29 for kids and tweens under 12 during the month of May2011.