I walked over the Williamsburg Bridge, this past Saturday, entering on the Manhattan side at Delancey Street and walking until I reached the end stepping into Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The weather was perfect and I was looking forward to shooting the aerial views from the pedestrian side of the bridge. This proved to be a challenge since the entire walk way is protected by chain link fencing and that there was no opening in the middle of the walkway, as there is in other bridges I’ve wandered over. I was definitely disappointed but, looking around me I saw that this bridge is truly amazing in that it seems as if you are walking through a giant Erector set. I was enclosed in a webbing of steel girders and metal fencing.
The traffic on this bridge is equally amazing. Aside from the two walkways on either side of the roadway; one for bicyclists and one for bipeds, running straight up the middle on the upper lever is the J, Z & M subways and below that, cars, trucks and other vehicular traffic. When a train shot past, the whole bridge seemed to rattle and shake and I thanked whoever it was who invented image stabilization.
Overhead was a maze of crisscrossing metal, at my feet a worn graffiti painted road and from left to right more steel and the ubiquitous chain link fencing. It was time to get clever with the camera as it was going to be an abstract kind of day. I saw lines – lines running vertical, horizontal, perpendicular, parallel, at right angles, forming triangles and bisecting each other as they curved into arcs.
As I mentioned before, the hardest part was keeping steady as I squinted and focused my lens through the tiny square fence links to capture maritime vessels sailing up the river or, one of the huge globe lights that sit on the outer edge of the bridge; making sure the background was sharp and the foreground, the fence, in soft focus. I managed to keep my balance as I bent back in a dizzying stance shooting up into the many riveted trusses and making starbursts of the sun peeking through them. The people crossing the bridge were great subject matter too, with bikers, runners, skate-boarders, and walkers like myself, in all manner of dress and all happy to be out and about on a gorgeous spring day. Unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge is less crowded and attracts more locals than tourists and since the bikers have their own lane there was less chance of getting run down, allowing me to divert all my attention to my photography.
Until one day, when you can walk the bridge yourself, walk with me now through my words and imagery across this notable historic New York City Landmark.