I learned so much about the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday that I could probably hock it at the corner market for a pretty penny. From Robert Zagaroli, Richard Haw, the Rudolph Burckhardt film Under The Bridge, and Ken Burns’s documentary about it, I absorbed the good and the bad, the highlights and the lows, the selling points and the dirty secrets to keep from the customers. Fortunately for the bridge, and for all of us I suppose, the bridge already belongs to us all, so there’s no selling it. New York has embraced the span more and more with every year. The backstory, told best by Haw in his British accent and everyone loves an accent (or at least everyone should), is one of strife and unhappiness, crippling work, unsatisfied workers, and death. Still, what has become of the Brooklyn Bridge is fascinating. It is an icon of colossal size. It brings with it personal stories, cultural history, and its own narrative from all different perspectives.
One cannot truly learn about the bridge and grasp its significance, however, without taking that stroll across it.
I wonder if the Roeblings knew what they were building. It’s not a bridge. It’s a living, vibrant piece of New York, of America, and of the world.