Gotham, The City that Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, The Empire City, The Metropolis, The Capital of the World… I could go on, but you get the picture. New York City is perhaps the most important city on the face of the planet and I love going there more and more. For some reason I feel right at home in New York City; it could be the awesome food, the amazing architecture, the people, or the museums and art galleries. Or could it be the fact that I could spend the rest of my life photographing this great city and never grow tired of all the incredible sights? Maybe all of the above, and countless other reasons that make NYC the incredibly cool place that it is.
The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Augustus Roebling, a civil engineer of German origin. He suffered an injury to his foot when a ferry crushed it against a piling, and as a result the foot had to be amputated. Shortly after the amputation, Roebling developed a tetanus infection and died. Just before his death he placed his son, Washington Roebling, in charge of the bridge construction.
As if the bridge was cursed in some way, Washington too suffered a crippling injury due to decompression sickness, commonly known as the bends. In the aftermath of his injury, his wife Emily Warren Roebling became an intermediary, between her sick husband who was unable to to be on site and the on site engineers. Guided by her husband’s teachings, she developed an extensive knowledge of strength of materials, stress analysis, cable construction, and calculating catenary curves. In 1883, with Washington still listed as Chief Engineer (mostly due do Emily’s devotion), the Brooklyn Bridge was completed. Emily was the very first person to cross the bridge, just before the official opening.
At the opening ceremony, Emily was honored in a speech by Abram Stevens Hewitt who said at the bridge was “…an everlasting monument to the sacrificing devotion of a woman and of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred.”
I knew I wanted this angle on the bridge for a photograph but I almost didn’t get it. I had been up since before sunrise, shooting for a magazine article and had walked from midtown, all the way to Canal street, and back up to Greenwich Village. My poor feet were bruised, blistered, and killing me, as is so often the case when I walk such distances on hard concrete sidewalks. But it was such a productive day for taking photos, that I couldn’t stop myself from continuing. So I went on to take the subway to Brooklyn and headed down to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) to get some shots like the one I previously posted. It was late, my feet were throbbing, and I still had not taken my Brooklyn Bridge photograph. So I sucked it up and followed my nose (quite unsuccessfully) to try and find the on ramp to the bridge. Note to self: Stop listening to Nose, he obviously knows nothing about directions. Lucky for me that I found a police officer in his car who gave me the proper directions, without consulting his nose whatsoever I might add. As I stood there with one of those stupid grins I get on my face, the kind where I know I’m just about to take a special photo, I stopped to take in the moment. It’s as if at that moment, all was right in the universe and my feet had completely stopped hurting. I had a sense of ahhhh, that is until ahhhhh turned to AAARRRRRGH!!! My sense of peace and tranquility quickly ended, as some guy on his bike nearly knocked me, my tripod, and camera over as he yelled at me “get out of the bike lane asshole!!”
So, now I know there is a bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge…
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