Brooklyn Weekend

 

Manhattan Sunset

I have a good friend who is from Brooklyn.  I called him from Brooklyn as we were enjoying the above  Manhattan sunset from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  He gave me some Brooklyn wisdom, "Manhattan may have everything but Brooklyn has the view!"  And what a view.  We have driven to Brooklyn for the wedding of Marilyn's niece, Marina Seitz, to Matt Ford.  We arrived late Friday afternoon after a harrowing transit through the city.  I had anticipated managing my way over bridges but instead, I was subjected to the challenges of not one but two tunnels:  Holland Tunnel from New Jersey to Downtown Manhattan and then the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Red Hook.

The wedding was in Williamsburg in a small and very trendy hotel.  Most out-of-town guests stayed at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge which was right on Brooklyn Bridge Blvd less than two blocks from the beginning of the walkway over the bridge.  After we settled in, we took a quick ten-minute walk to the Promenade, also known as The Esplanade.  While Brooklyn Heights is a naturally occurring geographic feature--a high bluff at the East River gradually descending to the east--the Promenade is not.  It is a 1,826-foot-long platform and pedestrian walkway cantilevered over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.  Its location was a compromise reached during World War II about the path of this needed expressway.  It was constructed shortly after the war.

It was a short visit because we had dinner reservations at Forno Rosso for our first meal in Brooklyn.  It was a small Italian eatery filled with dinners of all genders, races, colors, and sexual orientations.  June is Pride Month and the 2021 parade was the same weekend we were there.  We saw evidence of this celebration wherever we went over the next two days.  We had delicious dinners. Marilyn ordered pizza which we were going to share until I heard about the risotto with calamari special.  I couldn't resist.  However, when it arrived, it was black!  In my rush of enthusiasm about calamari and risotto, I didn't hear or ignored another ingredient, squid ink.  

I'm glad I didn't let any reluctance about squid ink keep me from ordering this delicious dish.  At one point I asked our waitperson what made the risotto black.  He politely informed me, again, about squid ink.  In fact, as we were finishing up, he came to our table with a paper bag and presented me with a jar of squid ink since I was a special guest, or perhaps the only one to have ordered the dish that night.  Now I need to find some recipes that combine squid ink and my Ninja Foodi.

Marilyn's photo 
After dinner, we walked back to the Promenade to catch the sunset.  As you can see at the top of the blog, we timed almost perfectly.  We walked the entire length and back.  We admired the prolific hydrangeas throughout the walkway.  We also noted that several on the piers on the river had been converted into sports venues and parks.  We saw soccer games, basketball, tennis, outdoor handball, four square but no pickleball!  Marilyn got a great photo of one of the sports venue piers with Manhattan in the distance.  Click here to see more photos of our first evening in Brooklyn.

I got up early the next morning and walked back to the promenade hoping for some nice sunrise views.  Unfortunately, the temperature had been rising through the night and the differential between the air and water generated a nicely fog-shrouded Manhattan.   By the time we got going, however, the fog had cleared.  After a pleasant outdoor breakfast at Cafe Metro, we descended into the depths to take the C  train over to Manhattan.  But then there was something that most New Yorkers are accustomed to:  track maintenance that disrupted the normal schedules.  The C train wasn't stopping in downtown Brooklyn this weekend.  Happily, though the A Train was and we followed Duke Ellington's advice.

We got off at 14th Street and walked a couple of blocks to visit The Little Island.  This is the newest addition to the Hudson River Park.  It is located where Pier 54 used to be.  Some of the Pier 54 pilings were left so as not to disturb the aquatic habitat.  Here is a description from the HRP website.  "Components of the pier, nestled among more than 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs, include a 687-seat amphitheater and an intimate stage and lawn space, along with dazzling views of other portions of Hudson River Park, New York City and the Hudson River. Little Island was designed by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, with landscape design by Signe Nielsen of MNLA. The landscape provides a visually surprising and inspiring experience as visitors walk across the park. The plantings are varied to provide an environment that changes with the seasons, with flowing trees and shrubs, fall foliage and evergreens. More than 66,000 bulbs and 114 trees have been planted, some of which will grow to 60 feet tall."  It was opened to the public on May 21 this year.  Marina gave us a tip about it or we might not have found it.  Click here to see some more photos of this unique urban park.  Since it right down on the Hudson, we also got some nice views of New Jersey, Hoboken, that is.  That name apparently came from the original Lenape name for "Hobocan Hackingh" or "land of the tobacco pipe."

View of Jersey City, downriver from Little Island and Hoboken


Marilyn  relaxing above the
street in a green oasis
We left The Little Island--a park on the water-- and got on The High Line--a park in the air.  The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City. It opened in 2009 and was just expanded.  We visited in that first year and we were struck with how it has changed.  Twelve years ago the vegetation has just been installed and there were brilliant splashes of color from the annuals that were widely planted.  Now the dominant color is green as the trees and other woody plants have matured and now dominate.  The park is on an elevated railroad spur that was used to deliver and pick up freight from the lower west side of Manhattan.  By elevating the railway, it bypassed the congested Manhattan traffic.  Now it provides a pleasant walking path with plenty of shade and views of the city streets that are otherwise not available.  Click here to see more photos of the High Line and its views.


We walked the entire distance and got off where it ends at 32nd Street.  At that point we encountered a most unusual building and then another architectural structure that is difficult to describe.  The first is called, rather simply, "The Shed."  It is a $475 million dollar arts center and performing space.  But, wait there is more.  It is inside of a billowy-looking skin and is on wheels and can be moved to created even more space.

As if that were not enough, we next encountered Vessel which is "a 16-story, 150-foot-tall structure of connected staircases between the buildings of Hudson Yards, located in the 5-acre Hudson Yards Public Square. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, Vessel has 154 flights, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings, with the total length of the stairs exceeding 1 mile. The copper-clad steps, arranged like a jungle gym and modeled after Indian stepwells, can hold 1,000 people at a time. Vessel is 50 feet wide at its base, expanding to 150 feet at the apex." (Wikipedia)  It opened to the public in March 2019 but was closed to the public in January 2021 because of a number of suicides.  It reopened in May 2021 but individual visitors are not permitted.  Both The Shed and Vessel ($200 million) are part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project.  You can view a video of The Little Island, the High Line, The Shed and Vessel below.




We wished we would have had more time to experience both The Shed and Vessel but we in New York for the wedding of Marilyn's Neice, Marina, and we had to hustle back to Brooklyn and get ready for the 5:00 ceremony at The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg.  We drove there from downtown Brooklyn and luckily found a place to park on the street.  As clear evidence that New York was fully open, the clubs were jammed and parking spots at a premium.  The wedding was held in the penthouse with a rooftop view of the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan.  It was a wedding for family and close friends, small but energetic.  After the ceremony we gathered downstairs for drinks, dinner and dancing.  


Marina is the daughter of Marilyn's brother, Rob.  In this picture, you can see how beautiful she is and how proud Rob is of her.  She married Matt Ford whom everyone in the family loves.  He is a proud alumnus of Syracuse University and is looking forward to introducing their first child, due in the fall, to 'Cuse hoops.  Let's go Orange!
The next day, Marina and Matt had invited out-of-town guests to their apartment Greenpoint for brunch before most of them headed home.  We decided that we would walk the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan Sunday morning before that.  Sunday was the first day of a series of heat advisories for New

York, we wanted to get out early and back before the extreme heat.  Our plan worked except for the fact that the heat got cranked up sooner than we anticipated.  So while we walked over, we took the subway.  But not after we walked to the 9/11 site.  We had visited there in January 2002 on a snowy day.  All accesses to the actual site were blocked two or three blocks away but we could see the remnants of the damage.  I remember taking this photo which summed up much of what we saw that day.

Our walk over the bridge was pleasant and interesting.  The views of the river, Manhattan and back to Brooklyn were memorable.  I remember thinking that John A. Roebling, engineer for the bridge, was ingenious to have included a walkway right from the start.  We walked on a boardwalk one story above the four lanes of traffic whizzing by below us.  Since it was early Sunday morning, the number of people was probably lower than would be the case later in the day.  We shared the bridge with other walkers as well as runners and bicyclists--all going in both directions.  The walkway ended at the Manhattan City Hall Park and the 40 story Municipal Building.  Sadly the park was not open.  Again, a reason to return.

We walked about five blocks to the 9/11 site and spent as much time as we could looking at the Memorials and the Oculus.  "The $4 billion Oculus station house, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, consists of white ribs that interlock high above the ground. The interior of the station house contains two underground floors, which house part of the Westfield World Trade Center mall."  (Wikipedia)  This transportation hub was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.  The new structure is almost ethereal.  The soaring white ribs and the calming music give an almost religious feel.  You can get a better sense from the video below of both the Oculus and the memorial Pools.


Given our time constraints and the increasing heat, we didn't have time to go through the 9/11 Museum.  A staff person said it would take about 90 minutes, time we didn't have.  But again, another reason to come back.  We found the nearest subway and got back to Brooklyn to cool off before heading out to Greenpoint for brunch.  After which, we came back to the hotel to nap and cool off again.
Marilyn with
Manhattan Bridge

Late that afternoon, we walked down to DUMBO or Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.  The place was alive with people enjoying the summer afternoon and cooling off by the East River.  The Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are only three blocks apart in Brooklyn.  Parks, a carousel, entertainment and food venues are everywhere under both bridges.  A new park will be dedicated in September.  It is named for Emily Roebling, John A. Robeling's daughter-in-law who is credited with a major role in the completion of the bridge.  We had a drink in the new Time Out Market located in Empire Stores.  The market has 20 restaurants and three bars.

We had dinner reservations at Gran Electrica located on Front Street where it joins Old Fulton Street, just two blocks from the current and original ferry docks.  We ate in the garden dining area in the rear.  It was still warm but not a hot as the indoor space.  After dinner we walked in Brooklyn Bridge Park, enjoying the view of Manhattan but this time from right down on the water rather than up above on the Promenade.  We watched as the sun set and the lights of Manhattan grew luminous.  Click here to see some photos of DUMBO.

 I want to share two final images.  The first is a sunset shot of Manhattan.


And the other one shows the Brooklyn Bridge and the docks in Brooklyn but extends to Manhattan.  Admittedly I took a few liberties with the color and lighting but I like what it shows.

The next morning we began our drive home knowing that we would visit New York again, many times.  When we arrived home we gain appreciated how fortunate we are to live in a quiet and human-scaled Rochester but within an easy day's drive of one of the world's greatest cities.

Comments

  1. Bill and Marilyn- Great trip, and wonderful photos and videos. Why did the Dodgers ever leave such a fabulous place?

    ReplyDelete

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