Can 14,680 tons of concrete, granite and steel cabling be beautiful? Stand on the bank of the East River and look up at the mile-long suspension bridge that spans the estuary, and you'll reply with an emphatic “yes”! Grand Brooklyn Bridge, with its two huge towers and slight graceful arc, supported by silvery cables, manages to make its great bulk look slender, almost delicate, as it hovers serenely over the water. When the bridge was completed in 1883, linking Manhattan in NYC to the then-separate town of Brooklyn, it was the longest of its kind ever built, and was dubbed “the eighth wonder of the world”. You've got to hope this was some comfort to its beleaguered engineer, Washington Roebling. His father John Roebling had died of an injury sustained during surveying for the bridge; and Washington himself was permanently disabled by decompression sickness caused by working underwater on its foundations. But if the Roeblings could know how admired and loved their masterpiece still is, nearly 150 years from when its first stones were laid, we reckon they'd feel that their sacrifices weren't in vain.
Take part in one of New York's most iconic scenes as you cycle or saunter over the bridge's raised pedestrian walkway, safely out of reach of the traffic beneath. Pausing in the middle of the bridge, you'll be treated to quintessential Big Apple views on both sides: to the south, the red towers and converted warehouses of Brooklyn's Dumbo industrial area, and to the north, the Manhattan skyline with its famous skyscrapers. Brooklyn Bridge is magnificent at any time of day; but it takes on a special radiance at sunset, as you watch pink clouds halo the Statue of Liberty and the bright lights of NYC blink on in the gathering dusk. Though it’s true that even at sunset, the view isn’t quite as great as it would have been on 17 May 1884, when Phineas Barnum, founder of the famous Barnum & Bailey circus, showed off the strength of the Brooklyn Bridge by marching a posse of 21 elephants and 17 camels across it!