The Brooklyn Bridge
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-do if you want a great view of Manhattan, Brooklyn and lower NY Harbor including the Statue of Liberty. It is a historic and breathtaking view that is the urban equivalent of being on top of a mountain (OK, a small one!!). On a lovely day it can get quite crowded with bikers and walkers (though there is a bike lane), so be prepared for that.
DO’s of Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Plan to spend at least an hour in each direction, so there’s time to stop and look.
- Bring your street smarts: Go during daylight hours, or any evening when there are lots of other pedestrians.
- Wear comfortable shoes, and not high heels. (The planks of wood will catch small heels).
- Realize that it’s a 1.3 mile walk, perhaps longer than you (or your children) expected.
- Take a moment to get a photograph of the Manhattan skyline.
- Stay in the pedestrian lane.
- Pay attention to all the other traffic, such as bikes, that have their own lanes.
DON’T’s of Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Expect to find bathrooms, food vendors or water available on the Brooklyn Bridge. (Where to find public restrooms near the Brooklyn Bridge)
- Try to climb the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in inclement weather unless you are prepared for wind.
- Forget your camera!
If you don’t want to grab a taxi, you can get to the bridge by subway from anywhere in the city.
In Manhattan, take any train to the Brooklyn Bridge station (the 4,5,6, M or Z trains, among others) or the City Hall station (R, W trains). When you get to Brooklyn, don’t hop right on the train back–explore beautiful brownstone Brookly in Brooklyn Heights, walk around the Promenade for more views of Manhattan or head towards DUMBO, where you can visit art galleries, eat well or attend a concert at Bargemusic.
From Brooklyn, there are several ways of getting to the walkway, depending on which subway you take, and which exit you use from certain stations.
High Street on the A/C is the station closest to the Brooklyn Bridge. Here are the two ways to get from High Street to the Bridge, depending on which exit you use.
1. From the exit near the back of the train FROM EXIT NEAR BACK OF TRAIN AT HIGH STREET STATION:
If you exit the station near the rear of a Brooklyn-bound train, you will find the escalator that leads to the street. You will emerge from the subway on the west side of Cadman Plaza West, near Middagh Street. (Note – “High Street” itself no longer exists there; do NOT look for street signs that say “High Street”).
Across the Street you will see a park. That is Cadman Plaza Park – cross the street towards it. When you have crossed the street, you may do one of two things:
1) Turn left. Walk along the edge of the park to Prospect Street. Be careful as you do this, because you will be crossing two exit ramps from the Bridge as you do it. Turn right on Prospect Street and walk under the Bridge ramp. At the next corner (which is Washington Street/Cadman Plaza East), turn right. A few yards ahead, in the stone wall of the bridge structure on your right, is the entrance to a staircase that leads to the Bridge walkway. Walk up those stairs.
OR — 2) After crossing the street to the park, continue in the same direction and walk directly across the park to the street on the far side. This is Cadman Plaza East. Turn left. As you walk along, on your left you will come to the stone structure supporting the Bridge ramp. There is an entrance to the staircase that leads to the Bridge in this stone wall.
2. From exit near the front of the train at High Street station:
There is no escalator at this end — but the bridge entrance is actually a little easier to find. When you come up on the street, you will be on Adams Street/Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard, just a little south of Sands Street. Turn so that the road is on your right, the parking lot and apartment houses are on your left, and the big sign that says “Read God’s Word The Holy Bible Daily” (which is on the world headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) is directly behind you. Walk south along the sidewalk all the way to the corner of Tillary Street. At the corner of Tillary Street, turn right. In the middle of Adams Street is the entrance of the walkway.
From Clark Street station:
When you come out of the station, you will be on the northwest corner of Henry Street and Clark Street. Cross Henry Street and walk east one block on Clark Street to Cadman Plaza West. Cross Cadman Plaza West and turn right. At the next corner, you will be at Tillary Street; turn left. Walk two blocks — the first block brings you to Cadman Plaza East, and the second brings you past the new United States Courthouse to Adams Street. In the middle of Adams Street at Tillary is the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway.
From Borough Hall/Court Street station:
If you come up to the Street on Joralemon Street, turn so that old Borough Hall is on your left and the Brooklyn Municipal Building in on your right. Walk to the corner — this is Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard/Adams Street. Turn left and walk up this street to Tillary Street. Cross Tillary Street and turn right — the entrance to the walkway is in the middle of the street in front of you.
If you come up in the park in front of Borough Hall: Turn your back on Borough Hall, and keep the 1950’s courthouse on your right. Walk up the path in the park to Johnson Street/Tech Place, and turn right one block. At Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard/Adams Street, turn left and walk up this street to Tillary Street. Cross Tillary Street and turn right — the entrance to the walkway is in the middle of the street in front of you.
If you come up to the street at the corner of Court and Montague: Cross Court Street to the park where Borough Hall and the Courthouse are. Turn left and walk to Johnson Street/Tech Place. Turn right one block to Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard/Adams Street. Turn left and walk up this street to Tillary Street. Cross Tillary Street and turn right — the entrance to the walkway is in the middle of the street in front of you.
If you come up on Montague Street next to St. Anne/Holy Trinity Church: Turn so that the street is to your right and the church is to your left. Cross Clinton Street, and walk one block on Montague Street to Court Street. Cross Court Street to the park where Borough Hall and the Courthouse are. Turn left and walk to Johnson Street/Tech Place. Turn right one block to Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard/Adams Street. Turn left and walk up this street to Tillary Street. Cross Tillary Street and turn right — the entrance to the walkway is in the middle of the street in front of you.
On the weekends, after reaching Manhattan, it’s fun to head uptown a bit to Chinatown for a dim sum brunch reward for all that walking!
History Of The Brooklyn Bridge
Arguably the most influential bridge in American history, the Brooklyn Bridge remains one of New York City’s most celebrated architectural wonders.
Designed by the brilliant engineer John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869) and completed by his equally ingenious son Washington Roebling (1837-1926), this elegant structure was, at the time of its completion in 1883, the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Anchored across the lower East River by two neoGothic towers and a delicate lacework of steel-wire cables, the soaring lines of the Brooklyn Bridge have inspired countless architects, engineers, painters and poets to pursue their own expressions of creative excellence, among them Frank Lloyd Wright, Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, Georgia O’Keefe, Joseph Stella, John Marin and Lewis Mumford.
Brooklyn Bridge Bytes:
Construction Commenced – January 3, 1870
Opened to traffic – May 24, 1883
Total length – 6016 feet
Length of Main Span – 1595.5 feet
Length of each of the four cables – 3578.5 feet