It inspired Depeche Mode’s video and album art (respectively, Policy of Truth and World in My Eyes); appeared in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die; and more recently, in July 2011, set the stage for an aerialist who performed on it (illegally). I’m talking about the Williamsburg bridge, New York’s only suspension bridge that has been standing for over 100 years.
I recently discovered the beauty (and benefit) of the bridge after walking across it, from Williamsburg to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Why hadn’t I discovered the bridge’s walkway before? I thought it was only used by cyclists, who I’d regularly see through the window of the M or J subway, which I traveled on to and from work. I guess I must have been looking at the bike lane, which is separate to the walk lane on the other side of the bridge.
On a beautiful day, walking across the Bridge beats taking the subway. The Manhattan views are stunning – to one side you can see the Manhattan skyline dominated by the Empire State Building; to the other, the Manhattan Bridge with the Brooklyn Bridge behind it. Returning to Brooklyn, I see a more industrial view (note the now defunct Domino Sugar factory to your left) and the walkway drops you off at the doorstep of Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. Seeing the sunset from the bridge is a must.
I have posted on Street Art in the past, and the Williamsburg Bridge is a great canvas for it. Street art covers the bridge’s walkways, mostly in the form of stencil art. I’ve walked over the bridge a number of times now, and every time I have seen new art. Unfortunately, graffiti has defaced many of the bridge’s plaques. Borderline art? Perhaps.
In Williamsburg, the Bridge is a backdrop to the neighbourhood’s streetscape. In the words of Depeche Mode, “Let me show you the world in my eyes…”