Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Great Bridge


Basically, I'd read the telephone book if it was written by David McCullough. I love his style of writing, and I've read all of his books except for the one about Teddy Roosevelt. After I read this book for the first time about five years ago, I made it a life's goal of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Two years ago, I went to NYC with two friends, and as we were planning the trip I told them the only thing I HAD to do was walk across the bridge. One laughed at me, until everyone she told about the trip said to her, "You just have to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It's the coolest thing!" So she gave up and agreed to join in the adventure.

I think the walk across the bridge meant more to me just because I knew the story of it. Roebling the father died before the bridge got underway. Roebling the son became the chief engineer after his father's death, but spent most of his time observing the progress from the window of his house in Brooklyn Heights due to debilitating pain from the bends, which he got after visiting one the caissons used to dig the foundations for the towers. Roebling's wife then oversaw much of the day-to-day opersations on behalf of her husband.

It's a miracle the bridge got built at all. I realize I'm not an engineer or an architect, but the Brooklyn Bridge is a piece of engineering genious and a work of art, all at the same time.

During our trip, Heidi, Lisa and I all walked across the bridge, marvelling at the architecture and the view. After brunch in Brooklyn Heights, Heidi and Lisa took off to do their own thing, and I walked back across the bridge, stopping at the midpoint to just sit and watch the world go by.

I re-read the book this past year, after I bought a huge photograph of the bridge for our bedroom. Having walked the bridge and seen it in person, the enormity of the feats of engineering really hit home. The bridge is just so huge. It's amazing it was built given the technology and machinery available at the time. I'm looking forward to my next trip to NYC so I can stroll across again.

1 comment:

O'Pine said...

Hey, just getting into this blog. Wasn't sure I would dig it,but DAMN YOU! Now I have to go buy a bunch of books I wouldn't have ever been interested in before!

: )

When we're in New York, we stay with our friend Ron, who lives mere blocks from the bridge. We always make a point of walking across the bridge one evening for pizza at Patsy's (Grimaldi's) underneath the bridge on the Brooklyn side.

I had never done it until about 3 years ago. Amazing. I totally get what you're saying here. But I'm probably not going to read this book. McCullough and the Sharks, maybe.