Sunday, May 17, 2009

Manhattan Bridge

Let me say something that might come as blasphemy: As a runner in Brooklyn, there are times I vastly prefer running over the Manhattan Bridge rather than its next-door counterpart.

To be sure, the Brooklyn Bridge is world-famous. David McCullough has written an awesome book about it. If you have friends from out of town, the Brooklyn Bridge is a highlight walk. I love the Brooklyn Bridge.

But running on it? During the summer? (Unless it's, say, before 9)? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Between the shared walk/bike path (which tourists routinely mess up) and the massive tour groups, trying to put together a consistent run over Brooklyn is virtually impossible, unless you go during non-peak hours, over the next few months.

My Saturday run took me over Brooklyn, and then back over Manhattan, where there were virtually no people. At the time of day we went (8:30 a.m.), it wasn't too bad, but you could already see the tourists starting to appear.

(I love to travel, so I'm often a tourist. But I hate tourists. Actually, that's not true -- I do try to rack up tourist-help points during the summer. But, you know ....)

Anyway, I digress. The Manhattan Bridge approach on either side isn't that steep (5% grade), but it's long -- you can get a nice, sustained 5-6 minute uphill run just on the bridge itself (more if you come up from the water on either side, though on the Manhattan side you have to deal with the Chinatown traffic). And, most important: There's virtually no one on it. No tourists. Very few runners.

Once you're in Manhattan, you can can cut across Canal Street to the West Side Highway, head down to the East River, or just head uptown (for the more adventurous souls who don't mind battling traffic lights).

No, it doesn't have the charm. And it does have the subways. And it doesn't have the wooden-slat-interlude. But for summer training: Manhattan is the place to be.


dengaterade said...

You've got that right. I love going across the Brooklyn, but won't dare try unless it's earlier than 7 a.m. or raining. Then you have the bridge to yourself. Any other time, you have fantastic views from the south pedestrian walk on the Manhattan--and a clear path ahead.

ChickenUnderwear said...

Not blasphemy, It is the best place to enjoy the view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

It is dangerous: First,the tourists have no idea that the Bridge is used to get from one place to another, they are all over the place. Also, the bike line needs some better publicity, if it is your first time on The Bridge you have no idea it is there. Third, there are actually vendors or the Brooklyn Bridge; water, art.

Never after 9am, unless it is raining hard.

Anyway, I get a rush from the subway roaring next to my head!

Mike said...

I'm with you about the Brooklyn Bridge, my usual Sat. morning run takes me over the manhattan Bridge and back to Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge. When I hit the Man. Bridge at around 8 am, it was just me and another runner, but when I hit the Brooklyn Bridge, it was already getting crowded. My only issues it that the Man. Bridge is a little noisy with Subway passing right by you.

Brett said...

Agreed. The MB is better because the runners and bikers are segregated, you can get further uptown because of the diagonal and the Brooklyn Bridge is LOUD! You can't listen to your iPod on it.

Anonymous said...

I actually avoid the Brooklyn Bridge because of the cyclists, not the tourists.

I used to assume people on bikes were friendly productive people with healthy minds and aware of the environment.

Instead I've learned most of them are a bunch of mental midgets on power trips and may as well be driving SUVs.

Case in point. On a recent afternoon I witnessed a biker premeditatedly slap a middle aged woman on the shoulder because she had the audacity to enter into the bike lane by about a foot. Then he sped off before I tried to rip him off his bike. Hate them.

They should eliminate the bike lane, make it all mixed use, and force bikers to yield to pedestrians.