Yes, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. No, it was not my idea.
For the record, I do not like heights. But on a last-minute trip to NYC to visit our daughter, I got a bit outside my comfort zone.
We began the outing by taking the East River Ferry (@ 34th St), to the East River State Park in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. Williamsburg is a gentrified area very popular with young families. On Saturdays during the warmer months, locals swarm the “Smorgasburg” held in the park
just off the ferry landing. Dubbed by the NY Times as “The Woodstock of Eating”, it features more than 100 gourmet booths offering every imaginable type of food. We sampled Texas-style moist beef brisket, Maine lobster rolls, hummus, red velvet cake, and a salted chocolate ice cream sandwich. All delicious.
Once fortified, we launched an ill-fated search for some great local chocolate bobka. Despite conflicting info on their website, and failure to get them on the phone, we gave it a try. We ended up with a nice ride through the Russian Hasidic community (and men with their giant cylindrical fur hats), and ended up at a closed, red-brick warehouse . . . hmmm, no bobka for us. Good thing we weren’t hungry.
Our daughter announced she would like to return to Manhattan by way of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. My husband was 100% enthusiastic, so I kept quiet and off we went.
It was actually a lot of fun. The Bridge is an impressively majestic, historic structure that made me feel pretty safe. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the views north towards the midtown skyline and south towards the new Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty were chamber-of-commerce perfect. I’m happy to say I did it!
Waterfront Dining Tips
Our daughter is still a Florida gal at heart and doesn’t miss a chance to be around water when possible. This trip, she took us to the Boat Basin Café on the Hudson (Upper West Side at W 79th St), for a beautiful sunset, drinks and a casual dinner overlooking the marina and river. Don’t get caught walking along the river with an open drink, you will be fined (we weren’t caught).
We had a great late lunch-break from our chores at The Water Club’s Crow’s Nest on the East River at 30th.
The main restaurant has a nice bar and indoor dining, and the Crow’s Nest offers roof-top drinks and lighter fare (classic NY hot dogs, lobster rolls, salads, etc), paired with a super view across the river and the 59th St Bridge to the north. Word has it, it’s also a great spot for happy hour. BTW, our city friends tell us, it’s also great because they have parking.
Brooklyn also has a TKTS office for discount tickets. Just like the office at the South Street Seaport, it opens at 11 AM and also offers tickets to the matinees the following day (the Times Square ticket windows open at 3 and don’t offer next day matinée tickets). While in Brooklyn, we stopped by for Broadway tickets and literally walked up the window, no wait.
There is no charge to walk or bike across the Bridge. It is about a mile once you are on the Bridge and from the Brooklyn side, a least a mile from downtown to get to the starting point. On the Manhattan side, the Bridge is close to the subway station.
The Smorgasburg event has expanded throughout the boroughs on different days with different names. Can’t vouch for the other locations, but you can find more food on Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5 (near Manhattan’s NY City Hall); and just this weekend a location opened in Long Island City, Queens on Saturdays. All open 11 AM – 6 PM.
Fans of the Carnegie Deli will be disappointed they are temporarily closed (since late April) and surprised to find out it’s been reported they’ve been stealing about half the gas they use for cooking and heating – for five years. Apparently, once they pay their fines, they can make repairs and Con Edison will turn on their gas again.