Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Bridge, A Birthday, A Memory

Yesterday was the 125th birthday of the famous Brooklyn Bridge. I am just another enthusiast adding my story to countless others who have romanced this beautiful bridge over the century-plus of its history.

Do you know this Roebling marvel? You should. It is an engineering wonder, the first suspension bridge of its kind in the world. Its intricate web of cables appears like a magnificent lace veil across the NY skyline. And at night the lights of the bridge look like a string of pearls. I love the Brooklyn Bridge.

I worked on the 90th anniversary Brooklyn Bridge celebration in the early 1970s, when I was just out of college and dreaming about a career in urban journalism. With Don Moore and Margot Wellington (two visionaries who gave Downtown Brooklyn the jump start to the popularity it is enjoying today), I worked day and night on our festival. Thousands crossed the bridge that day to a celebration down at Fulton Ferry landing (remember General Washington and your American history?). We had great ethnic food stalls, music and a fireworks tribute to a wonderful bridge.

In Tucson many years ago I found a treasure -- the hardcover commemorative program produced for the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24, 1883. This book is priceless to me.

And I now know that my son, Brett, appreciates the heritage of this magnificent bridge and will someday treasure this little dusty volume produced by the Brooklyn Eagle printing company. Brett walked the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. Rambling downtown, he took a walk past Atlantic Avenue shops and ended up in Prospect Heights.

More than 35 years ago Leigh and I walked those streets. Enjoying, appreciating and envisioning the future. Well, here we are in the future, with a son making his own footprints in the Brooklyn sand. Amazing.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Absolutely amazing. And beautifully written.
Monica, your love of the Brooklyn Bridge and all that it stands for is palpable and powerfully rendered in this blog entry.
Maybe we should stroll across the bridge again, this coming weekend.