Walking the Brooklyn Bridge with Kids
I had this vision once we’d moved to NYC of exploring all the boroughs, tackling every movie-esque attraction, and taking the city by storm. I was easily distracted by those ideals one evening as a stale cheddar bunny fell from my bra. Instantly, I recalled the two toddlers I schlep around don’t share my patience or ability to handle emotions. Images of me chasing child #1 down, while #2 empties my wallet simultaneously disabling my phone (these creatures are magicians). I’d rather eat stale cheddar bunnies from my closet. However, doing it myself is one thing, but when I have my husband home with his two muscular hands and fatherly capabilities, it’s the optimal time to pull out my bucket list and throw down the YOLO card.
For months, I’d been wanting to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Taking family portraits along the way, sipping an iced Americano and watching the kids wave at the passing boats. My husband has always voiced his reluctance on the idea and shuts me down once I get to “Let’s walk the Br…”. He would go on to paint a visual of a disastrous haul down to the Lower Eastside, followed by an equally awesome time making the trek across the bridge with tired toddlers. “Shorty that sounds f**king awful.” I’d then get a flashback of the cheddar bunny night, and we’d both look at each other and say, “Central Park?.
Well, as you can see from our photos, we finally made the trek! We hopped on the subway from Grand Central and got off at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall stop. I was a proud veteran subway commuter in Tokyo, but I can count on my fingers the times I’ve gone underground in NY. “It’s not as stroller friendly.” I like to tell people. Nonetheless, the ride was painless and the kids behaved. Our reasoning for finally taking on the Brooklyn Bridge ultimately boiled down to the fact it was Memorial Day weekend and the city was a ghost town. Central Park was quiet, Grand Central even quieter, but as we crept from the underbelly of the station near the bridge, we were in shock to see the masses of people lined up to walk. Without delay, my husband looks at me with raised eyebrows and pursed lips like, “I f**king told you so.” I glare at him and tilt my head to say, “Well, we are still f**kiiing going.” The kids can’t hear the non-verbal profanity in body language. Don’t judge.
As we embarked on the bridge it truly wasn’t all that bad. Vendors crowd the entrance from the Manhattan side with tourists tchotchkes and cold water, but once you break away into the wider sections you can actually breathe. Sure there are people with selfie sticks, rude manners and “people of importance” stopping dead in their tracks to read an email, (it is still New York City), but the views were uncanny and worth the chaos. Of course, guess who had the most fun? Yes, my husband. Him and Maya were hand in hand the whole time, laughing, singing and doing races at the park. “Told YOU so, David.”
Once we crossed the bridge, we went straight to Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is filled with old world charm, industrial meets new age architecture and a massive green space with play grounds. Ridiculously kid friendly! The kids jetted straight to the carousal, which is easily the cheapest carousal in the city. For only $2.00 the kids can ride and the parents are free. We grabbed lunch on the pier at a below average cafe, but there are literally TONS of surrounding places to eat. We planted ourselves on the grass and let the kids go wild and burn off their “apartment kid” energy.
It ended up being a great day and I am so happy to check that one off the list. I am ready to do it again, because I realized we missed so many other amazing stops in Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you are looking to make the trek, check out this article for all of the amazing stops along the way. CLICK HERE
After our experience, here are a couple of things I would do differently:
1.) Go in the morning – There are few perks to having to wake up at 5 am with toddlers, one of them being the ability to beat the crowds. Next time I would go the first thing in the morning to catch the beautiful views and avoid the masses.
2.) Bring an umbrella stroller – I clearly have a love affair with our Uppababy, but I wouldn’t take it across the bridge again. The train station and the bridge have stairs, so an easier, collapsible stroller is ideal.
3. Bring more snacks/picnic – I had read online about the plethora of restaurants, so uncharacteristically I didn’t make up my fridge for a picnic. However, once we got there the lines were insane! Apart from kiosk food, there really wasn’t a place to get a healthy snack or small bite.
4.) Walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan – The views headed towards Brooklyn are pretty, but walking towards Manhattan is truly breathtaking. Most of the time we were turning around to take pictures of the city skyline. Next time, we will walk from the other direction.
Apart from those small things, the day was a success. We are looking forward to summer sunshine and checking more things off this bucket list. Who knows, we could end up in the suburbs soon. Need to take advantage while we can!