On The Williamsburg Bridge

A few summers ago when I had a job I wasn't so fond of, I spent many evenings walking out my frustrations on the Williamsburg Bridge. Sometimes I met a friend for an ice cream or a meal on the other side. Or more often I just turned around and walked back. Luckily my work has changed—and I also bought a bike later that year—yet that also meant any bridge-crossing trips were reduced to five-minute races against myself. But last week, with the weather being bearable and some spare time unexpectedly on my hands, I repaired to the anonymous company of the bridge at sunset. ...

I'd forgotten what a beautiful, cool, and mesmerizing cross-section of New Yorkers were contained in that one span: skateboarders tearing down the ramp in zig-zagging formations with one another; Hasidic Jewish women power-walking in pairs; tired men in suits, jacket in one hand, satchel or briefcase in the other, slowly making the one-mile hike; and of course joggers and bikers—the latter comprising a blur of exercisers, young professionals, and helmeted American Apparel-clad hipsters.

My favorite image that night was of a couple, both on bikes, getting a kick out of each other as the boy playfully pushing his girlfriend up the incline with a steady hand on her back.

Unlike the throngs of tourists making pilgrimages to the Brooklyn Bridge, or the invisibility resulting from the caged-in structure of the Manhattan Bridge, here is New York—these are New Yorkers—in a setting that feels more permeable than the city's sidewalks.

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