So, I like bridges.
The monumental ones that are bigger than life, conquer all fears, and blaze in the most wanderlust filled of dreams. The small ones that barely count as more than a stepping stone from one side to the other and yet fill a visual need that barely existed before. I like their structures, their purpose, the hard won expansion and bulky modesty. From the immense thrill of driving across one as the sun sets, windows rolled all the way down and music blasting,to the quiet wonder of walking beneath one, breeze rolling off the water and uplifting my spirit towards the highest points of construction.
Bridges are freakin’ brilliant is what i’m saying.
And my most favorite of them probably comes as no surprise. Completed in 1833, at the time the longest suspension bridge, it’s neo-Gothic beauty hasn’t faded even a bit. So after taking a gander at the SS Peking and passing by a weirdly subdued South Street Seaport, me and Kat followed behind joggers and bicyclist on the East River Bikeway to get a pretty fantastic view of the Brooklyn Bridge. And while I think Kat wasn’t too enthused about having me drag her half across Manhattan just to view a bridge, I fully maintain that you haven’t truly seen Manhattan till you’ve been both slightly harassed by a weird dude on the subway AND seen the Brooklyn Bridge up close and personal. The weird dude on the subway came later btw.
But that’s a story for another post.
After resting a bit at Battery Park, me and Kat walked up through the financial district towards….well…east-ish. We had the vague notion of ending up somewhere near the Brooklyn Bridge, or at the very least thats where I was steering us. After a couple of odd turns, a stop in at a random coffee shop off the main street (delicious organic mocha frapps make the best little energy boost for slightly worn down travelers) we wound up by the South Street Seaport and the SS Peking. The breeze coming off the water was refreshing in the slightly oppressive humidity bearding down on us, and the clouds shifting everything into a blue light were a gift for the photographer in our duo. This is another area in Manhattan that i’d really like to come back to and explore more, both for the people watching opportunities and the crooked streets.
I’m not sure why this was our next stop after the wanderings in Central Park, although maybe it’s because I always love walking around the financial districts of almost every city I visit ( Boston and San Francisco in particular) and admiring the architecture that at most points outright demands your attention, though usually in classy ways. I was also on a mission to make sure that Kat saw at least 75% of all the touristy, most talked about, most visited things in NYC, and while we had already decided we weren’t going to get on a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty in all her green glory, I still wanted Kat to catch at least some glimpse of her. So, we got on the R train, stepped off at Rector street and headed ever more south, towards Battery Park. And though the most impressive sights of the day came later, staring up from underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, these were pretty swell too. Also, say what you will about Wall St., those men sure know how to dress, even the skaters popping ollies were sharply dressed.
After resting up a bit from the admittedly muggy and slightly out of control humidity pouring down on us, me and Kat headed further into Central Park. She had a wish to find and gaze upon the statue of Balto and I had a craving to see Alice in Wonderland and then maybe collapse under some shade. From where we had started, it seemed like we only had to walk a bit to get to both our desires but the thing about Central Park is really, it’s so huge. Gods, ever so ginormous and wonderfully full of things to see (and in my case) photograph. We passed under the green arches of lovely trees and ignored the temptations of dozens of available benches to fold ourselves onto, keeping on deeper and deeper into whatever direction we were heading towards(north I reckon it was) .
And while we did eventually come upon wondrous Balto and the oh so climbable collection of Alice in Wonderland statues, the journey to get there was just as brilliant as finding what we were looking for.
There’s few places i’ve been to that I can truly say are blessed with indescribably beauty every where you turn, every curve of the road opening up to passage of even more open mouthed wonder and unbelievable vistas. True, I haven’t been every where on this Earth, so maybe my opinion doesn’t count for much, but I can at least say, with all the places i’ve been, the Northern California coast is just….. without words, without pretenses, lovely in the most raw of ways.