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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Expedition: The Brooklyn Bridge

The other day, a good friend and her kids invited us to take a hike with them across the Brooklyn Bridge. Her six-year old son had been asking to do it and we had talked about it for months. There were so many routes we could've taken: start from Brooklyn, have lunch in Chinatown or start from City Hall and have lunch in DUMBO. But in the end, we decided to go Brooklyn bound and picnic at Pier Six - a newly developed portion of the Brooklyn Bridge Park with a water lab, swing park and mountain slides. It was Fantabulous!

The morning started off a little shaky when my six-year old literally crawled into my bedroom complaining that his feet hurt. He's been wearing orthopedic ankle braces to correct his flat feet and I assume they were beginning to work. I gave him acetaminophen and packed the scooter to ride in case his feet were too sore to walk.

Once our group of kids got together, however he was like, "Pain? What pain?" The trooper walked the whole day. Friends are the ultimate placebo.

Like any typical day in New York, there were a couple of skirmishes but my friend and I are seasoned New Yorkers - we just stored them in our memories to bring up for entertainment purposes.

Like the Triatholon Wannabe - basically, he's a jerk on his bike. Taxi drivers are rude, truck drivers are crass but bikers are just assholes. Many of them ride their bikes with such apathy towards the human race they make Johnny Rotten look like Forrest Gump. But I understand why - their mode of transportation is neglected and disrespected simply because there's no room for them on the road. This isn't Asia or Europe where riding a bicycle is a standard, this is New York f*cking City. You ride a bike here, you're the Wicked Witch of the West.

Then we ran into the cornflower waif who thought the bridge path was a fashion runway to sport her new summer dress. She got a little flustered when the kids erratic walking pattern caused her to stop in her tracks. Obviously, we annoyed her - I loved it.

In all my life, working and walking in the city, I have never known foot traffic in New York to move smoothly. You have people who talk with their arms in tight spaces, you have a homeless man camping out on the corner of Park Avenue, you have old bats who stop in the middle of a staircase because senility is setting in - you maneuver and move on.

But the best was the fight we witnessed on the Number 5 train home. It was between a white dude who talked like Eminem verses a group of Latino women. The fight was about who bumped into who and lasted between Union Square and Grand Central station. Eminem dude was outnumbered. His argument was weak. He should've let it go but his ego got the best of him and he tried to get the last word. In the end, he got off the train with his tail between his legs.

I turned to my boys and said, "Let that be a lesson to you. Never, ever fight with women, much less Latino women, especially if you're on a Bronx bound Number 5 train - you will always lose."

"Yes, mommy." They answered in unison. If they don't learn it from me, they'll find out when they get married.

But getting back to good times, Pier Six of the Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful, fun spot for kids - although, a bit chaotic. The Water Lab is filled with lots of activities: dams, sprinklers and pumps but the layout of the whole place is nerve racking. You're hard pressed for a place to sit and there's no overall view, so you spend a lot of time trying to locate where your little ones are.

I wouldn't recommend it for little babies because of the rocks and do bring a plastic baggie to stuff your smartphone in because there's no safe spot from trigger happy water guns.

The Swing Valley had awesome rope swings akin to a tire swing, that's something you don't see in the city. And the Slide Mountain area had two super long slides that looked like miles of fun. Of course, you had to get over the metal searing your skin as you went down but when you're a kid, it's all gooooood.

A rest stop on the Brooklyn Bridge - who knew?

Where's the snack stand?

The Water Lab

Bugs looking for bugs

Climbing boulders

Lifting the dam

The sun baked Mountain Slide


  1. Now that looks like fun! I'll bet that slide was a little warm sitting in the hot, baking sun?!

  2. That place is FUN! I hope your kids enjoyed it. I also hear Pier 1 is pretty nice too, if you don't mind the crowd. Though I think New Yorkers should be used to it by now :)

  3. Actually, I expected it to be a lot more crowded due to the summer break. By New York standards, it was "roomy"! And yes, the slide was scalding but that doesn't stop little boys, apparently.