Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Have I Got A Bridge to Sell You!

It may not be as well known as its older sister, the Brooklyn Bridge, but the Manhattan Bridge also offers great city views and an interesting 15 minute walk-across. In fact, one could argue that the Manhattan Bridge can boast the superior view because it offers the walker a stunning view of the Brooklyn Bridge against downtown Manhattan.

Walking across this bridge last week the thing that I found the most exciting is the birds-eye views of Chinatown and the Lower East Side before the bridge even rises above the the East River. The Manhattan Bridge picks up relatively far inland - at Bowery and Canal in the heart of Chinatown. This makes for some great voyeuristic sightseeing as you get to peer into the windows, rooftops and colorful streets of Chinatown below.

Continuing on you are then treated to the aforementioned views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge as you stand above the East River. On the Brooklyn side you get the parallel pleasure of peering down over DUMBO. Note the difference in character of the neighborhoods on each side of the water.

The one downside that I must mention is the constant noise of car traffic and subway trains that share the bridge with pedestrians. Unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, where there is a bike and foot path above the cars, on the Manhattan Bridge the cars, subway and walkers traverse in relatively close quarters on the same level. So bring earplugs if you must, but don't miss this bridge less traveled.

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