You could wear headphones on your walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, but I really would advise against it. If you wore headphones, you’d be eliminating the effect of one key safety device that might otherwise protect against a catastrophic bike-pedestrian collision.
It’s that little metal bike bell with the lever that you push to make the shrill cha-ching sound.
The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is great, but you are sharing the narrow walkway with other walkers, joggers, people pushing baby carriages, people taking photos, and cyclists. And the cyclists are usually in a hurry to get to work or to get home. They labor up one side of the path to and then across the bridge, but when they hit the downslopes they really take off — and if you stray from the walker side of the road you risk getting run over.
This is where using your ears comes in. On the wooden part of the walkway, the approaching cyclists make staccato thundering sound as they charge across the planks. But on the asphalt sections they’re like a whisper in the wind — which is why the little cha-ching bells are so important. On several occasions I heard cyclists use the bell to warn people to move over as the bikes came rolling past.
I don’t think I’d ever heard bicyclist use the little metal bells before, but every bike in New York and Brooklyn seems to have them. And thank goodness they do!
If you walk from Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan, you will find the Brooklyn Bridge Park at the end of your journey. With its worn and comfortable benches, its shady vistas, and its beautiful fountain, it’s a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee on a cool and bright autumn morning. Fortunately, there’s a Starbucks nearby, ready to fill that need. (Isn’t there always?)
Well, the questions about the “confessional” signs in my Brooklyn hotel lobby have been answered — apparently.
I noticed lots of techie types and Bluetooth-wearers and clipboard-carriers and beefy guys wearing “security” shirts in the lobby yesterday morning, and when I walked outside there was a barricade and people waiting in line behind it. I asked a security guy what was going on, and he grunted “American Idol tryouts.”
“Wow,” I thought, “is American Idol still on?” Apparently so.
Walking past all these excited wannabes in the morning, you couldn’t help but notice how they all tried to have a distinctive look — but nevertheless pretty much looked the same. In this crowd, skinny jeans on skinny legs, bulky shoes, and extreme pompadours and coiffures were the norm. My business suit would have stood out like a lighthouse on a foggy morning.
When I returned to the hotel last night a few stragglers remained. Maybe they had made the first cut and were making arrangements, or maybe they were just the last to sing their songs on a long day. The “confessional” no doubt had been well used.