Brooklyn Bridges Walking Tour

Walking Tour of Bridges in Brooklyn

Free NYC Tour? Walk, Jog, Bike Brooklyn Bridges

Take a free, self-guided tour of NYC. Bike, hike, walk or jog across Brooklyn’s many bridges, starting with three bridges to Manhattan, and two small, historic bridges.

“The best things in life are free,” they say. And it’s true, walking or biking across the many (and very different) bridges of Brooklyn is a fun, family-friendly way to explore New York City, whether as a tourist, newly arrived college student or a lifelong resident.

Bikeable, Walkable Manhattan – Brooklyn Bridges

The Original Brooklyn Bridge

This mile-long bridge first spanned the East River in 1883, at 7,308 feet long with a 1600-foot span. If there’s only time to walk one way, head toward Manhattan’s skyline; it’s wildly romantic at sunset.

  • Where it goes: Between Manhattan’s City Hall and Brooklyn Heights.
  • How to go across: Drive it, bike it, walk it, or dance across it.
  • What to do nearby: On the Brooklyn side, you’re near to DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, for food, shops, and (in DUMBO) art galleries.

Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009.

  • Where it goes: From Flatbush Ave. across the East River to Canal St. into Chinatown.
  • How to go across: Drive or train across. Walk, jog, bike on the top level.
  • What to do nearby: The Brooklyn side is near to DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn, where there are food, shops, and (in DUMBO) art galleries. Slightly further down Flatbush is Junior’s restaurant and Fort Greene.

Williamsburg Bridge

The views of NY Harbor, the skyline, and the Manhattan Bridge are spectacular. Built in 1902, this bridge enabled immigrant Jews and Italians to work and living in crowded conditions on the lower east side of Manhattan to start a new life in less-populous Brooklyn.

  • Where it is: The walkway entrance is at Driggs and Broadway in Williamsburg Bridge Plaza; on the Manhattan side, it’s at Delancy Street.
  • How to go across: Drive, walk, jog, bike.
  • What to do nearby: On the Brooklyn side, it’s fun to explore Hassidic Williamsburg and the cafes and galleries of arty Williamsburg. Or, one can enjoy a steak at Peter Lugar’s (reservations are required months ahead of time).

Small Historic Bridges Within Brooklyn For Biking, Walking

Carroll St. Bridge

Brooklyn’s quaintest, this tiny 1889 bridge spans the Gowanus Canal, linking Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. It is also a national landmark. The bridge is the oldest of four so-called “rectile” bridges in the US (referring to the mechanism whereby the bridge slides along tracks on the shore, allowing boats and ships to pass below).

History buffs note: A sign reading “Any person driving over this bridge faster than a walk will be subject to a penalty of five dollars for each offense” is a replica of a sign once marking this bridge.

  • Where it goes: Between Hoyt and Nevins Sts.
  • How to go across: Drive, walk, jog, bike.
  • What to do nearby: The gentrifying area near the canal, called Gowanus, offers interesting architecture. Smith Street is filled with restaurants and boutiques.

Union St. Bridge

This bridge has a cool mechanism, called a “double-leaf Scherzer rolling lift bascule”

  • Where it goes: Over the Gowanus Canal, between Nevins and Bond Sts.
  • How to go across: Drive, walk, jog, bike.
  • What to do nearby: Park Slope and Carroll Gardens are full of shops, eateries, and landmarked architecture

Bikeable, Walkable Bridges to Queens

Marine Parkway Bridge, AKA Gil Hodges Bridge

This bridge, with lovely water views, is a fisherman’s favorite. It’s near the Atlantic Ocean and named for Gil Hodges, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ first baseman and Mets manager.

  • Where it goes: From Beach Channel Dr. to the end of Flatbush Ave.
  • How to go across: Drive, walk, jog, bike.
  • What to do nearby: Explore Floyd Bennett Field, shop at Kings Plaza, walk or cycle across to the beaches in the Rockaways.

Pulaski Bridge

Named after Polish freedom fighter Casimir Pulaski (1747-1779) who was recruited by Benjamin Franklin to help the colonies fight the British, the Pulaski Bridge is a six-lane drawbridge over Newtown Creek, which divides Brooklyn and Queens.

  • Where it goes: From Freeman St. in Greenpoint, crossing into Queens at 50th Ave. and straight into Long Island City (LIC).
  • How to go across: Drive, walk, jog, bike.
  • What to do nearby: On the Brooklyn side, there are lots to explore in Greenpoint, from great Polish bakeries to historic architecture. In LIC there are museums and restaurants.

Car-Only Bridges: Kosciusko and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

The Kosciusko Bridge spans the Brooklyn-Queens Expwy where it meets the Long Island Expressway. They say that 170,000 vehicles a day cross the Kosciusko Bridge, so-named in honor of after an 18th-century Polish engineer who fought against the British in the Revolutionary War and later served as chief engineer of West Point. Note the two eagles atop the bridge towers, one Polish and one American.

Check out the elegant Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island, another Brooklyn beauty.

For an active outing—and a free tour of New York City’s borough of Brooklyn from a different angle—bike, hike, walk, stroll or jog across the Brooklyn Bridge, but Brooklyn’s other bridges.

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