Who view’s it best: Brooklyn Vs. Manhattan Bridge

Ok so if you guys remember from last year I did something of a mini series on the best views of the Manhattan skyline. This is a continuation/re-boot of that series. Over the last few months, I’ve been visiting two iconic New York City bridges over the which bridge is better at skyline views. The Brooklyn or Manhattan B

It’s the battle of the bridges

To start, each bridge is unique in their design and their place in the city-scape. They also provide the visitor a different viewpoint of the city, specifically if it is geared towards Lower Manhattan.

Historically, Lower Manhattan was the center of New York until the 20th-century. So both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges reflect that as well as connecting to Downtown Brooklyn which it’s central business district was, much larger in the past.

This post is not to pick a winner, you can decide that for yourself. I’ll be updating the post as time goes on as perspectives change. In the meantime, I will show you what I’ve observed about walking both bridges.

Brooklyn Bridge 

Let’s take a look at the Brooklyn Bridge. The most famous and recognizable of the two. Opened in 1883, the bridge has the unusual aspect of placing the pedestrian walkway both above the traffic and in the middle of the bridge. This maximizes the visual impact a visitor has on the view. To the west, is the new One and Four World Trade Center, with number Three rising. While classic skyscrapers like 20 Exchange Place and 70 Pine, symbols of Roaring Twenties hold court further south and deeper still are Ellis, Governors and Liberty Island.

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Lower Manhattan skyline behind Brooklyn Bridge wires.

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The Manhattan Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge.

To the north, the Empire State Building still dominates the skyline despite new construction that will eventually match or surpass it. The idea that a building would dare to over take the city’s true vertical representation so close is something I will have to grapple with as I get older.

Other landmarks include 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (no I will not call it the Comcast Building still prefer GE or RCA if your an OG), Metlife/Pan Am Building, The Chrysler Building, The New York Life Building, the original Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower, the New York Times Building and lastly 432 Park Avenue.

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Despite holding court in solitude for nearly nine decades, the Empire State Building is getting some taller neighbors.

The Brooklyn Bridge is perfect except for one thing, it’s too damn crowded. When the walkway was built, it’s popularity was underestimated. In fact, a stampede was started less than a week after the bridge opened due to a rumor that the bridge was going to collapse! While a minority of people actually commute via walking on the bridge, tourists and photography lovers such as my self make up the majority of walkers.

To make matters worse, bicyclists have the north-facing side of the walkway and it’s an unpredictable. From bike tours to causal and hardcore bicyclists, accidents can happen. So if you want to get that shot, look both ways and judge the speed of the bike.

While their have been proposals to add more space on the bridge next to the existing pathway, for now they are just proposals so if you truly want a good shot walk it early in the morning or late in the evening once everyone has gone home.

Manhattan Bridge 

Just under a mile to the east lies the Manhattan Bridge. Compared to most bridges that stick to just one color, the Manhattan Bridge has two, blue and white and is an all steel affair compared to the elegant yet contrasting steel and stonework of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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When you have the walkway to yourself #goals

That being said, the Manhattan Bridge was never meant to pretty, it was meant to be crossed, by walking, biking, driving, or taking public transportation. This could be proven in the position of the bridge walkways, for which they are two, one on the north and the other on the south side.

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Views

The south side has some of the most sweeping views of Lower Manhattan. You get everything the buildings, the Statue of Liberty and oh yes there’s that Brooklyn Bridge right in the thick of it.

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Lower Manhattan from the Manhattan Bridge.

The north side has New York’s Housing developments built during the mid-century as slum clearance in the foreground. The Empire State Building and the midtown skyline is in the background. Had the projects not been built, the gradual rise from short to tall buildings would have appeared natural. In order for you to get a sense of that, walk all the way to the Manhattan side of the bridge.

The immediate skyline is also going to change. One Manhattan Square, a new luxury development that replaced a supermarket, is currently going up. It is a deeply unpopular project and has been stopped twice on safety grounds. The fact that a 800+ tall building is being built so close to the waterfront, on reclaimed land, should have been under tighter scrutiny, but somehow this one made it through the needle.

While the Manhattan Bridge’s iconic vantage shot of the Empire State Building under it’s lower arch appears safe, questions about saving such views have come up before with the erection of the Pierhouse on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. That is something I’ve covered in my previous post on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and it’s views. It seems that history will repeat itself but with a taller and garish building. So time is of the essence to document this soon to be lost view.

One downside to the bridge is the loss of the 360 degree view that the Brooklyn Bridge has over the Manhattan Bridge also with four subway tracks roaring across the bridge it can get very noisy. However, the noise and the lack of visible entry points of the walkway gives the visitor more space and leisure time to savor the view.

But if you want to get higher you can take a cab or a double decker tour bus on the upper level which can give you the 360 degree view you are missing on the lower level. It’s pricey and you can’t immediately get off the bus once you’ve done the round trip but as a former worker of those buses, under the right circumstances, it can be one helluva view.

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The Upper Level view.

So who’s the winner well walk it and comment below.

Follow me on Instagram @ayindestevens for past and present shots of these landmarks and on twitter @AJStevens50 on some unrelated tweets of me getting stuck on the subway haha. 

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Of Orchid’s and Cherry Blossoms.

It’s Spring in New York City and that means that days are getting longer, the trees are finally looking green and as always our allergies are kicking into high gear. Yet as an amateur photographer, capturing the changes in the seasons have been a welcome change compared to my usual urban focus. Spring is also so synonymous with re-birth or nature, that watching the slow flowering around the city has been a beautiful experience.

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Nature up close allergies and all.

The first pictures come from the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid show. Marking the unofficial start to the season, the theme for this one was orchidelirulm, named for the Orchid mania that swept through Britain during the 19th century. Orchids were extremely popular and remain so to this day as being some of the most diverse flora ever produced on Earth.

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Some of the Orchid’s on display at the Orchid Show 

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Orchids account for an estimated 6-11% of all seed plants in the world. 

 

The second shot is from Sakura Park in Morningside Heights. named for the Japanese word for Cherry Tree, The park bloomed early last month, the first trees were planted in the early twentieth century, and are part of the 20,000 cherry trees planted by the parks department. Some of those can also be found at the Cherry Walk along the West Side Highway.

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Early bloom at Sakura Park with Riverside Church in the background 

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Blossom Close-up 

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Riverside Park Scene

Another shot comes from the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. This one looked in transition between bloom and post bloom greenery. Well you know the old saying, a tree grows in…

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That Classic Brooklyn Tree 

Not to be out done this beautiful shot comes from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Their iconic Cherry Blossom Festival was held last week and the trees along the esplanade bloomed right on time. While I was unable to attend, this shot is the aftermath of all the rain, which has left a beautiful carpet of pink on the grass.

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Inside the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s Cherry Esplanade

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The Pink Carpet 

The trees next to the Japanese Pavilion trees had bloomed earlier in the month and the one here just hangs lazily next to the pond.

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Hang 10

Lastly, Perhaps my favorite shot are the cherry blossoms from Roosevelt Island. The contrast of the rows of Kwanzan Cherry Trees with the skyline of East Midtown creates one of the city’s most iconic and temporal scenes in the city.

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Cherry Blossom’s with the Ed Koch Queensboro-59th Bridge in the background. 

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Under the canopy. 

Thanks for reading and looking see you soon!