On Black Friday, I wanted to check out my favorite record store in Bushwick, Human Head, because they were having a great sale. I arranged to meet David at the Kellogg's Diner in Williamsburg, and decided that it would also be a great day to walk the Williamsburg Bridge. I've only walked it once—on a scorching day back in 2013—and it was always something on my list to do again.
The Williamsburg bridge connects the Lower East Side in Manhattan with Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and spans the East River. The 7,308-foot suspension bridge was the second to be built over the river (after the Brooklyn Bridge and before the Manhattan), and when it opened in 1903 it held the record for the longest suspension bridge on Earth (a record it held until 1924).
In the 80s, the bridge fell into disrepair and by the end of the decade more than 200 of its suspension cables had snapped, and it was closed completely for a few months in 1988 after it was judged to be structurally unsafe. In the '90s and 2000s, it was mostly rebuilt, and now it is the most heavily bicycled span in North America (the separate pedestrian walkway was added in 1999).
Along with the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg is the only other suspension bridge in New York City to carry both car and subway traffic, and several M and J trains went by during my walk. It's a longer walk than the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges, but the Williamsburg bridge has a feel all its own. The city views aren't as spectacular (there are better views to be had on the bike path) as the other bridges' and it might not be as iconic as the Brooklyn Bridge, but like an often-overlooked middle child, its unique charms are worthy of a second look.