I have a crush on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and on the part of the Brooklyn Greenway that runs parallel to it. It has no idea I feel this way, because I visit so rarely, and haven’t told it about my growing affection, but since my last stop there I’ve resolved to spend more time enjoying the area.
The idea for the Brooklyn Heights Promenade was developed when Robert Moss was planning the route of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway back in the 1940s. Wealthy residents of Brooklyn Heights protested his scheme to have it barrel straight through the neighborhood, and instead he stacked the expressway near the water, with the Promenade, a narrow park walkway, built over it, presumably to muffle the noise. It works—at the east edge of the park, traffic is dulled, where by the railing overlooking the Greenway the noise picks up to a more noticeable level.
The Brooklyn Greenway will someday be a fourteen mile path, but currently is made up of small stretches, including one near Brooklyn Bridge Park. On the Promenade there are benches, and down near the water, along the Greenway, there are more benches and a grassy space from which to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
What is most impressive from the Promenade and this particular bit of the Greenway is the view. From here there is a spectacular perspective of the harbor, from Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty over to the Brooklyn Bridge nearby, with lower Manhattan laid out in between. On a clear day in the late afternoon, the setting sun makes everything sparkle.
A few pieces about falling out of love with New York, and being priced out of New York, came across my Facebook feed this week. One said something about how we convince ourselves that we love New York partly through those kinds of cinematic moments I’ve mentioned on this blog. Seeing that gave me pause, and made me wonder if I’m trying too hard, if I’m trying to talk myself into something.
But here’s the thing: Beauty is important to me. I get the same shivery, heart-tightening joy from looking at the sweep of skyline between island and bridge as I did sitting beside a lake near a mountain in Wales or lying on my back in a field in Connecticut looking up at the stars. If taking time to really notice those moments, to write them down and remember them, lets me hold on to that joy for a little bit longer, then it’s worth it.
Plus, maybe my written declaration will help convince the Promenade I’m not going to cheat on it with Battery Park. No promises, though.