GES173 - Williamsburg Bridge, USA
Not the most impressive of bridges in New York, but one that carries a lot of history. I have a deep love of New York City, and have been over twenty times over the years. I particularly love seeing the city in films, especially old films, to see how it's changed. One of the films I watched as a teen, long before I ever set foot in the city, was Naked City. I loved the documentary style approach to what was a simple crime film. One of the final scenes see's the killer, Willie Garza, climb the bridge. I was amazed at how easy it seemed, and never thought I'd end up climbing it. Fast forward 20 years, and daydreams became reality.
The Will!amsburg was completed with a fireworks display in 1903. The bridge is 2.2km long, The span's high point over the river is 41m, and each tower is 102m high. The bridge held the world record for the longest suspension bridge span until 1924. Along with the Manhattan bridge, it's the only one to carry vehicles and trains.
Like the Manhattan and Queensboro bridges, the Williamsburg is a mass of cold steel, that I feel defines cities like New York and Chicago as tough cities. This is one of the towers with now blocked off stairwells visible. Climbing this bridge now means a good head for heights and a lot of balls, mainly because it's very easy to be seen climbing it. GE074 was with me in NYC for this one, and very enthusiastic to get up there, not being especially good with heights, I was a little less so!
On reaching the top, one is denied the chance to get to the top of the bridge. It can only be reached to my knowledge by walking up the cables. On reaching the top of the open section of the tower, a ladder leads up into this room under the top of the bridge. When the bridge was easier to access, parties were held in what's called the Saddle Room.
It was annoyingly spitting with rain when we climbed, and I couldn't take a shot out of the window on the Brooklyn side in the saddle room above. This is the view out of the window on the Manhattan side. The lit up tower in the background is the Freedom Tower, at the time of climbing this bridge, it had just surpassed the Empire State as NYC's tallest skyscraper.
Climbing down from the saddle room, there are a few gantries. Due to nervousness of being spotted, these are all hand held or balanced on rail shots. No time for tripods. Looking at the Brooklyn side, the dark stripe in the middle of the bridge is the rail tracks. The pedestrian and cycle paths sit either side. They were only added in 1999.
A classic shot from this bridge, wish I could have taken a tripod shot.
The Manhattan tower and suspended section. The vehicle section on the outer side of the bridge on the left lit up.
At the base of the ladder from the saddle room. There's no connection to the far side of this tower, seen in the background.
Looking down the stairs from the top gantry to the various transport lanes on the deck below. The dotted road on the right side of the deck is the cycle path.
The North side of the Brooklyn tower and midtown skyscrapers in the distance. The Empire State peeks over the safety wires on the cable walk, having just ended it's second period as NYC's tallest building.
With barely 5 minutes on the exposed gantry, we sadly had to leave. The risk of being caught up here would have led to consequences too high, namely cell time and huge amounts of money handed over. in NYC, they don't mess about!