Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brooklyn Walking Tour

On my way to the Brooklyn Bridge for my regular walk/run, I pass this little garden on Henry Street. I stop to look at it every time, and there is always something blooming, which is clever in this tiny space - everything is perennial - no annuals. I skulked a bit to take this picture: there's an elderly lady sitting with her feet up on a chair, reading, in the little livingroom in the basement apartment. I'm sure it's her garden. Then again she could be stuffed, and something sinister could be going on.

On the Bridge over the East River- I love it when I see these little yachts passing beneath. I wonder where they've come from and where they're going. They can sail all the way up the Hudson, then via canals, to the Great Lakes (one of my dreamtrips), but I'm not actually sure whether yachts or any watercraft, can get to the Hudson on the so-called Harlem River, which connects the (so-called, again) East River (it's a tidal strait) to the (correctly-called) Hudson River. Phew.

Yeah, it was a bit of a shitty, hazy day. Looking south from the bridge, the beginning of New York Harbour, Governor's Island in the middle of the picture.

Pointing towards Brooklyn. These feet, or caissons, for the Bridge, killed the second (Washington) Roebling, son of the architect, John, who himself died after having his foot squashed at the Fulton ferry landing below (gangrene). The son got the bends (then christened caissons disease) after descending too many times into the depths of these massive footings, which must have been pits of hell for the workers shovelling mud up and out. But they made a beautiful, moving thing. I always find myself thinking of Whitman when I walk over this bridge. He walked and walked and walked here. In Manhattan, in Brooklyn; using the ferry, friends with the captains, in ice floes and clear weather, and at last walking across this bridge when it was completed in 1883. It was as wonderful to him then, the city, as it is to me, over 100 years later.

I want to touch these cables the way I want to touch some trees. Although they are silent you almost hear them, humming.

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