My wife and son and I recently walked over the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny Sunday in July. It was an American checklist experience like looking over the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. My son had already crossed over a few times with friends. The world was with us as we moved along above the honking traffic below, as if the crowd had poured out of the United Nations building across town and sifted through the city neighborhoods picking up companions for the trek. Pilgrims go on the road to shrines in other parts of the world. This crossing has a similar feel. There were local people heading home, but for most folks there was something more going on than getting their steps in for the day. I sensed a low-key giddiness, too, with everyone being high up over the water. Only the bicycle riders seemed not to notice the scenery when they pumped along, head forward, past casual pedestrians. An occasional hard-core cyclist got annoyed when a couple would back up the flow by stopping for a selfie with Lady Liberty in the background. Not being an engineer, it's a stretch for me to get the physics and math evident in the bridge, especially for a structure dating from 1883. We crossed Brooklyn to Manhattan, keeping the high-rise skyline in view the whole time. Below is a poem I wrote after an earlier visit to New York City in the 1980s, that time looking out from a different vantage point.
Statue of Liberty Deli
Up in the tall green lady’s crown,
I see Brooklyn and a ship in the Narrows,
And Manhattan, built puzzle with only inside pieces,
The story about millions of people hailing rides,
Heading for a million delis to order sandwiches,
Chopped liver on rye, with a pickle and Bubble-Up.