Sunday, August 12, 2012

Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn Bridge - July 23

It is Monday. I decide today is the day I will visit the Metropolitan Museum. After breakfast I hop on the 5th Avenue bus and find my way to Museum Mile. The problem is, the museum is closed.

The Staten Island Ferry is a great ride
Naturally, a change of plans is in order. I decide a ride over to Staten Island and take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. These adventures will fill the day.

I take the subway to Battery Park and find my way to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Although there are a lot of people lined up to go onto the ferry, once it is docked it takes no time at all to board and it isn't very crowded.

It takes approximately one and a half hours to cross from Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia to the small town of Nanaimo, situated on Vancouver Island. My family, such as it is, lives in Nanaimo. I've taken that ferry too many times to know how many times. The ride is long and boring.

When I took the ferry across the Newfoundland, I blogged about my journey.  But, I left out many details. The ferry was late, it took forever to reach Newfoundland (on a good day it takes six hours) and we had to wait until another ferry left the Newfoundland dock before we could dock. This meant we circles around for a long time. I was suppose to be in Port Aux Basque the night before and was around twelve hours late.

And so it is, my past ferry rides were not enjoyable. On the Staten Island Ferry, a gentle, cooling breeze blew and the ride was a short twenty minutes. It was pleasant.

I eat lunch on Staten Island, at a run-of-the-mill restaurant and take the ferry back to Manhattan. This time, when I wanted to board, the ferry was docked and I didn't need to wait in a line. I simply went right on board. The best part about the Staten Island Ferry is that it is free.

At City Hall on my way to the
 Brooklyn Bridge
A subway trip to city hall takes me close to the beginning of a walk across Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883 and currently nominated as an UNESCO heritage site.  I heard, from our Statue of Liberty guide that when the bridge was build it was the world's longest suspension bridge, and people were afraid to walk across it.  P.T. Barnum helped squelch rumors that the bridge might collapse by organizing and then escorting a parade of 21 elephants across the bridge.

The walk begins
Today, three lanes of traffic hectically drive from Brooklyn to the Manhattan boroughs, and three lanes of traffic travel from the Manhattan boroughs to Brooklyn. The bridge is under repair and high walls hide both the traffic and the East River.

I'm not very impressed with the Brooklyn Bridge.  My walk lacks the elegance of a walk across the Provencher Street pedestrian bridge that stretches across the mighty Red River from St. Boniface to downtown Winnipeg. Although I've never walked across Vancouver's Lions Gate, which is also a suspension bridge, my guess is it is also a pleasanter experience. In my opinion, the Lions Gate is also a more elegant bridge, without stacks of traffic interfering with the view. Lions Gate was completed in 1939.

Layers of traffic viewed from
Brooklyn Bridge
On the Brooklyn side near the bridge, there is a park to the right, and a carousel to the left. It seems that to reach either the park or the carousel will be more complicated than I'm prepared to endure.

When I reach Brooklyn, I see a huge building, it turns out it is the international home of the Jehovah Witnesses. My camera cannot capture its scale. Religion is always a moneymaker. Many people think they can buy their salvation.

I look for the subway that will take me back to Manhattan. It is late in the afternoon, I've been walking a lot and it is hot.
Part of the massive
Jehovah Witness collection
of buildings

I walk for a long time, but cannot find a subway entrance, but I find a traffic cop and get his attention. His first suggestion is that I walk across the bridge, when I tell him I don't want to he gives me directions to the nearest subway entrance.

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