FROM THE BROOKLYN TO THE BAYONNE
It was fine when WIT's focus was urban transportation policy and the place of walking within it. With the Brooklyn Bridge as backdrop, it was clear the blog's focus was broader than a single neighborhood or borough, or even a single city; the bridge as national icon helped link WIT to transportation as an issue of national significance.
The switch last December to more personal content--with commentary on politics and culture--has made the blog's home base, Staten Island, a more frequent topic and Staten Island locations a more frequently used visual reference. I think it's time the introductory photo reflected where this blog comes from.
So . . . as soon as we can schedule it, my friend Steve Nutt--almost as talented a photographer as he is a potter--has agreed to take a new photo of me for the introductory post on the walkway of the Bayonne Bridge, which connects Staten Island to Bayonne, New Jersey.
as seen from Faber Park,
Port Richmond, S.I.,
overlooking the Kill van Kull
(Photo by Ed Mahala)
A BETTER BRIDGE FOR WALKING
The Bayonne is an arched bridge of structural steel designed by the famed engineer Othmar Ammann, who played a significant role in every bridge constructed on Staten Island in the 20th century, from the Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals bridges of 1928 to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge of 1964.
Like most bridges built before World War II, the Bayonne has an accessible and commodious walkway. Unlike most modern bridges, however, the Bayonne's beauty comes not from massing or decoration or lofty towers or graceful draping of spun cables. The Bayonne's visual drama is more stark, its source the engineering underlying the bridge, expressed in structural steel. Alight at night, seen from a distance, it's a stunner.
By day, standing on the walkway at its apex, midway between New York and New Jersey--nearer Newark Bay than New York Bay but close enough to each to feel connected--you have a sense of being alone at the top of the world. There are no gaggles of tourists, no racing cyclists whizzing by. And despite all the motorized traffic on the bridge, water and shorelines, there is a hush, a stillness up there that one seldom experiences on the walkway of the bridge named Brooklyn.
If you'd like to try the Bayonne Bridge walkway now that the weather's warming up, you'll find the entrance at the end of a path alongside Morningstar Road south of Walker Street in Elm Park. A word to the wise, however: Like most "quiet residential neighborhoods," the area on the New Jersey side of the bridge is clean and safe and pleasant, but not very interesting.
In this case, the bridge--not, getting to the other side--is the attraction.