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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Across the Brooklyn Bridge

On what had then been the hottest day of the summer so far, I decided to go and take a tour of the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo with Free Tours By Foot, a great tour company that really is free and you pay what you think the guide deserves.  Right up my cheapness alley!  The tour started in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I was already sweating my butt off when I got there so I knew I was in for it!

There were about 20 people in my group, from all over the world, once everybody was herded up we got going with our NYC native tour guide Dante. It was quite obvious he knew every part of the city like the back of his hand.  This is the view from the start of the Bridge.  



This is One Beekman Tower, a 76 story residential apartment building.


Walking across the bridge.  Seriously it was so hot I was sure I might die.



The plaque on the Bridge support telling when it was built, etc.  (It was completed in 1883 by the way).  It was built mostly by immigrant workers that were forced to go down under the water to use pickaxes to break the bedrock.  Many of the men got really sick from the Bends.


Me, amazing somehow looking like I'm not sweating my ass off.



A view of the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge.  The Brooklyn Bridge is 5, 989 feet long and 277 feet high.  It is made of Granite, Limestone and Rosendale Cement.  The wires that you see each have about 5000 hair width wires inside those as well.

*Fun Fact* Manhattan rented out the vault under the Manhattan anchorage to fund the construction of the bridge.  One of these vaults was used to store wine because of its perfect temperature.



Love Locks on the Bridge.  These have all recently been cut off so that the bridge doesn't fall down. It is actually illegal to do this in NYC if any of you reading this think its a good idea.


The Bridge cost 15.5 million dollars to construct which is about 380 million in todays money.  27 people died during the construction and many more were injured or got sicknesses from building it.


I'm sure everyone has seen the bridge in pop culture, but some more famous appearances were in I am Legend, Gangs of New York, Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and Godzilla.


After a boiling eternity we made it across the Bridge.  We started walking down towards Brooklyn Heights, One of Brooklyn's most affluent and historical neighborhoods. It was here in 1776 that George Washington smuggled his defeated troops across the river saving the nation from British conquer.


Our first historic stop was Plymouth Church built in 1849.  It was known as the "Grand Central" of the Underground Railway because of the number of runaway slaves that it sheltered.



This is a statue of Henry Ward Beecher, a world famous abolitionist preacher that preached here.  That is Lincoln in the background since he abolished slavery and actually came to hear Beecher preach.



We continued walking and came across a few famous places.  This house was built in 1825 and recently sold for 10.5 million dollars.  We also walked by the home where Truman Capote lived while he wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's.  It recently sold for 12 million. 





The house at the end of this street "Cranberry Street" is where scenes from the movie Moonstruck were filmed.


This is 24 Middaugh St., was built in 1824 and is an example of what most of the houses in Brooklyn heights looked like at that time.


This building is the NY State Supreme court.  Pretty unassuming in a residential area.


Walking down to the Brooklyn Promenade you can see already the amazing views.  Too bad there is so much construction underneath that make it crazy loud!






A view of Lady Liberty on the muggy, hazy day.


Of course if you didn't know, the Jehovah's Witnesses have their headquarters here and it is also where "The Watchtower" is printed.  It is one of the largest buildings in America.


We then made our way back over to the Bridge area to explore.  The area has beautiful cobblestone streets and used to be very industrial.  All the old buildings are being converted into community arts centers or retail properties.




One of my favorite places for photos in Manhattan.  Because the day was so hazy it is hard to tell but the Empire State building lines up perfectly in the anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge.



We explored DUMBO a bit and walked along the waterfront under the bridge.  Passed the carousel and the cray little house made of different colored glass.  I know it is an art installation but I have never actually stopped to look at what it is.




The tour was about three hours long and I learned a lot.  You have to understand that i actually did this tour almost three months ago so some things have slipped my mind haha.  This was our tour group.  


After the tour I needed to cool down so I stopped at the famous Shake Shack (on the same street as the most famous pizza place in NYC Grimaldis) for a burger, fries and a beer.  I am not sure what it is about Shake Shack burgers but they are the most delicious fast food type burger ever.


Then I was on my way home.  I got on the train at High Street this time... and made it home.  Next time I will wait for a cool day but I do highly recommend the Free Walking Tours!  I think it makes the guides really put some effort in to their work!



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