Despite the title, this is really a tale of two bridges. One stands just miles away from downtown Manhattan and is a marvel in engineering history stretching across the East River. The other, a distinct facade made famous by Instagram photographers from all over the world. Adored by locals and visitors alike, one is the Brooklyn Bridge, the other, the Manhattan Bridge.
On an evening unseasonably warm for winter in New York City, I made a sunset visit to Dumbo Brooklyn, home to warehouse-turned-apartments-lofts, and cool art galleries. As the warmth of the February rays washed over Brooklyn and made its way to behind the New Jersey skyline, I joined the swarm of tourists who made the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Years ago, when I first came to visit New York, I embarked on a winter walk in an entirely different circumstance. It was freezing then, and at 8am in the morning on a Saturday, I was one of the few people braving the cold on the Brooklyn Bridge. The crisp images made for stunning black and white photos. This weekend, I was herded across the bridge with crowds so big that I could barely locate Alex, no matter how closely we tried to stay together. The crowds can't stop coming, and the city never sleeps.
As a transplant, I can appreciate the beauty of New York and am happy to share its charm with visitors near and far. No matter how exhausting dodging tourists on sidewalks become, I can appreciate that their intent - they came here to see a part of the world different from their own. But the longer I live in New York, the more I come to see that my relationship with the city changes. Now, I find comfort and joy in oft overlooked locations tucked away in different pockets of the city. These hidden gems may seem just ordinary against the iconic sights a few city blocks away, but their charm comes from the few New Yorkers who've embraced them.
The Brooklyn Bridge will forever be my first love, but these days, I share a polite nod with the locals who opt to use the Manhattan Bridge as I walk by.