I am not sure when I officially fell in love with walking over bridges. I didn’t have a lightning strikes moment where I felt compelled to express my love to the Pepto Bismol pink bars and graffitied trellises of the suspended Williamsburg crosswalk. I never really thought about the iron links between land as a kid on Long Island. And strangely, I very much hate driving over metal architecture that hangs above water. I can’t even remember why I walked over the Williamsburg Bridge for the first time, or when it happened. But at some point, while I was still living in everyone’s new favorite borough, it was decided. A bridgewalker’s life is the life for me.
For almost two years, every day the weather allowed, I traversed Williamsburg’s mid-air pedestrian pathway on the trip from my Greenpoint brownstone, all the way to my workplace at 14th Street and 6th Avenue. The journey took me exactly an hour and fifteen minutes — about thirty minutes to get from Graham Avenue to the bridge, twenty minutes to cross the sky, and another twenty-five to wade through the early bustle of downtown Manhattan. The trips taught me much about my neighborhoods old (the burg), and new (the LES). They gave my brain time and space to breathe. They introduced me to new music, and allowed me to indulge nostalgically in the old. They made my quad muscles pop. (Oh, baby.) They basically helped me accomplished about nine of my nine million life goals in just over an hour, which is pretty amazing for a single activity in a daily routine, very appealing for a productivity junkie. So, when I moved back to the isle of Manhattan, while I gained many late night dining options (2am pizza from Lil’ Frankies, anyone?), I lost a habitual activity I truly cherished.
Which is why, a year after moving back over the East River, I am determined to inject some bridgewalking back in my life. It was much easier to incorporate the walk into my day when I had a daily reason to move between the two boroughs, but lately I have taken to walking the bridge’s footpath, looping around the BQE, and walking right back over into Manhattan. A double bridgewalk if you will. As thrilling as a double rainbow, but the gasps of excitement are mine alone to hear.
After one such Wham Bam trip this weekend, I started to wonder: How many times can I actually do this walk now that I live in Manhattan? How many times this week? This month? This year? Thus, Bridegewalk Fest-Match-Challenge-A-Thon was born. Not only am I going to try to walk over the bridge as many times as possible in 2011, I will be documenting each crossing – who I was with, what I was listening to, and any other pertinent details, including photo evidence of bridge art and activity. I also hope to do a little quick music reviewing and thought-spewing as it comes to me.
I’m starting with the goal of reaching 50 crossings (many of them likely double-crossings), and will see how I do from there. And though I will likely walk the Williamsburg Bridge most often, I’m leaving open the option of counting Brooklyn and Manhattan bridgewalks (Can you walk over the Manhattan? I never have…) should the opportunity arise. So far, including this past Saturday’s double traverse, I’ve been over and back three times. Let’s see how many more trips I can make, what new gems I will discover in my headphones while my legs climb, and who will be up for joining me.
And now, Williamsburg Bridgewalk Fest-Match-Challenge-A-Thon 2011 begins! Summary of my first two logged walks are below. Future walks to be described in better detail:
BRIDGEWALK #1: Sometime in January. Midday. Over and back. No music. With a boy.
BRIDGEWALK #2: Sometime in February. Midday. Over and back. Thoughtful silence. Solo trip.