The Manhattan Bridge.

The Manhattan Bridge is not the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, both bridges cross the East River and connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. On the Brooklyn side, you can walk from one to the other in just over 5 minutes. They’re brothers separated by 26 years. (Sisters? I’m never sure about the genders of inanimate objects.) The Brooklyn Bridge is iconic, though. There are 2027 bridges in this town, but the Brooklyn Bridge is the one that immediately comes to mind when someone from the other side of the world hears the words “New York City” and “bridge.” The Manhattan Bridge is bigger, younger…and bluer, painted the color of Dutch Delft tiles.

I love the Manhattan Bridge.

Top (1908): Eugene de Salignac, New York City Municipal Archives
Middle (1974): Danny Lyon, National Archives and Records Administration
Bottom (1984): Still from Once Upon a Time in America, Directed by Sergio Leone

Tucked under the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side is my new part-time neighborhood, DUMBO. My apartment is really close the the bridge–it’s in a factory built by Robert Gair (inventor of the corrugated cardboard box) in the 1880s. You can see the building in all three of the photos above, and it still looks pretty much the same in 2012 as it did in 1908.

Whether I’m walking home from the subway, talking the dogs out for their evening stroll, or talking a little time to myself on the little beach in the park, I cannot get enough of the Manhattan Bridge. The more time I spend in DUMBO, the more I get to know this big blue friend from all angles. It doesn’t have a bad side. I take a photo of it almost every day.

On Friday I wrote a little bit about the passing of Adam Yauch and about having been a Beastie Boys fan for two and a half decades. The Beasties are New York for me…they are Brooklyn. That’s why they’re on my “Summertime Jams” and “Hustle” mixtapes: They signify energy and sunshine and attitude. Walking down the street feeling like a badass. A badass with a sense of humor.

I can’t separate the Beasties and MCA from Brooklyn, and combined with my new-found love for the Manhattan Bridge, I was pretty excited last night when Neal Brennan uploaded some previously-unseen footage of the Beastie Boys performing “The New Style” on a boat in the East River in 2004. It was supposed to air on the third season of Chappelle’s Show (which of course never happened). The best part is Ad-Rock yelling out “let me clear my throat” just before a subway rumbles overhead on the Manhattan Bridge…a sound that sings me to sleep every night I’m in Brooklyn.

Kick it over here, baby pop…

EDIT: It’s back!

EDIT: Sorry guys, the video is being repeatedly yanked by Viacom. Here’s an article about why. If Neal Brennan can find a way to get it out there legally, I’ll re-edit it back in. Sad…

  1. Jenna @ sweetfinedayMay 7, 20121:52 pm

    I love old photos of New York. It’s astounding really, to think that these structures that stand today, that we use everyday, was built a century ago. That 3rd photo still is amazing.


    Anna @ D16 /

    Agreed. Sadly, I don’t think the same will be said about the majority of structures built today in 100 years’ time…

  2. J+H @ Beyond The StoopMay 7, 20121:56 pm

    i’m so jealous of your neighborhood! and that VIEW!!

    any chance your building has the sweet clock-tower on top? do you know what building i’m talking about? i saw an episode of “selling new york” on HGTV for the penthouse in that building in DUMBO where the clock-tower is, and it was selling for $25 million!! craziness!! it was SO cool though…


    Anna @ D16 /

    No, that building is a block over! My theory is that the price tag is just a gimmick to attract attention to the developers’ other properties—they own many buildings in DUMBO. It’ll never sell. I think they lease it out to Esquire magazine as event space.

    J+H @ Beyond The Stoop /

    ah man! yeah $25 mill is just crazy! that place IS pretty sweet though. using it as an event space is still pretty cool though… maybe i’ll get invited to a sweet party there someday ;)

  3. DromterMay 7, 20122:02 pm

    I absolutely love those little date marks on the photos!
    And I must say; I’m falling in love with New York and her bridges (:


  4. querenciaMay 7, 20123:05 pm

    you make me more aware of design and then I love it more, thank you.


  5. SherryMay 7, 20124:02 pm

    I can see why it was in a movie, it’s beautiful there, the bridge, the river, the park. Unfortunately, the video seems to be taken down. I’ll definitely have to try to hunt it down elsewhere! Thanks for sharing Anna.


    Anna @ D16 /

    Rats. I figured the video would be taken down eventually! Brennan was co-creator of the show, which is why he had the footage…I’m guessing Viacom wasn’t too happy about that. Glad I caught it while it was up.

    Anna @ D16 /

    New link in the post now! Hurry… ;)

  6. Will @ Bright.BazaarMay 7, 20124:24 pm

    Beautiful post. When I was in NYC recently I shoot in that exact spot and took some shots. A great structure, indeed.


  7. EstherMay 7, 20124:31 pm

    i love the picture from 1984 with the little person skipping in it (:


  8. AnnaMay 7, 20125:15 pm

    you have absolutley no idea how much you make me want to visit new york even more than i already want anyway.
    but someday i’ll be able to afford that. hopefully! :)


  9. KylieMay 8, 20122:22 am

    I only just learnt that DUMBO means Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, here I was thinking it was called after that children’s movie (that’s a joke BTW)


  10. jeannetteMay 8, 20129:49 am

    heaven. the bargemusic. the beach. the bridge.
    thank you.


  11. KatinkaMay 8, 201210:05 am

    Manhattan Bridge is certainly my favorite building and DUMBO my favorite area in New York. The reason: said bridge. I kept coming back to the area, standing under the bridge, looking up and listening to the traffic above me. Back in Berlin, when I sit on my balcony and long freight trains drive by I even close my eyes and listen, pretending I am in Brooklyn. Every picture of the bridge that appears on your Instagram is a moment of delight. Thank you!


    Anna @ D16 /

    That’s so nice to hear, Katinka, thank you!

  12. NinaMay 8, 20123:17 pm

    I’ve taken numerous shots from that spot as well. Love that you can frame the Empire State Building with the bridges pillars, it only took me a couple of years to notice it though ;) So glad you included the photos how the bridge and it’s surroundings changed over the years, it’s always interesting to see how buildings and the shape of the city changes over time…

    Missed the Beasties video. RIP MCA! Still sad I missed their concert at Brooklyn’s McCarren pool in 2007, would have been great to see them in Brooklyn


  13. BrightMay 8, 201211:13 pm

    I think I have a crush on that bridge.


  14. Sandra@Botany'sMay 9, 201211:18 am

    LOVE NY bridges.Thank you for this sweet post.


  15. LizzieMay 9, 20129:56 pm

    It must be really inspiring to see that everyday, it’s such gorgeous architecture. // Love your boots as well!


  16. JennyMay 10, 20123:55 am

    Anna, this post inspired a dream last night. In it I was visiting NY for the first time, having driven across the US (got nice colour pics in my dream of various landscapes). I was with my Mum. She’s sliding into dementia now, so it was nice in the dream that she was well and happy. We were approaching NY and I tried to take a pic of my first view, but my camera failed me and I got a messy shot (true to life – my camera has a silly delay). I tried again, still no luck. Went on the bridge (in the bus) and got a pic of the inside of the bridge.

    Thanks :-)



  17. LatrinaMay 12, 20122:21 am

    Wow, gorgeous photos. I had no clue there was SO many bridges there. Wow… I’m admirer of great architecture and the Manhattan bridge is breathtaking — I can’t blame you for taking so many pictures of it.

    And thanks for sharing the Beastie Boys video — I’ve never seen it! It made me smile. :)


  18. C.B.May 12, 201210:10 pm

    Ha ha if you become fluent in French, you will never worry again about the gender of inanimate objects. Bridge is masculine so “brothers” fits.


  19. frankyMay 14, 201212:36 pm

    These photos are amazing! the architecture in new york is just mesmerizing.


  20. islaMay 16, 20126:55 pm

    Love that bridge too! Have a shot of it if you ever want to use it!!i=448071722&k=DnTL7


  21. jenniferMay 17, 20129:28 am

    so happy the video is back. love it!


  22. ileanaMay 18, 20126:54 am

    Great photos. Great montage. I’m looking forward to reading more about your new neighborhood.


  23. LisaMay 22, 201211:38 am

    I just saw the same view on a Jeep commercial. Beautiful view!


  24. SaraMay 22, 201212:14 pm

    Did you see this on Apartment Therapy yesterday? Thought of you and this post and your love of the neighborhood!


  25. Grumble GirlMay 28, 20129:08 pm

    I’m behind in my reading here… I hadn’t seen this. The video… I’m nearly in tears again, Anna! Oh, that was awesome.

    And the photos are so beautiful – what an excellent city. The architecture is so… arresting. GREAT post!


  26. christineJul 5, 20124:34 pm

    Man….I want to visit New York. *sigh*


  27. BobAug 1, 20145:34 pm

    In 2009 I have made a painting of the Manhattan Bridge.
    I didn’t know that exactly 100 years ago the bridge opened for public, so it also became the bridges’ 100th anniversary jubilee painting.
    I was wondering, if maybe my painting of the Manhattan Bridge can be placed more above on this website.
    That would be great and I would be very thankful.

    To see the painting copy past link:
    And here is a dutch article about the celebrations at d.u.m.b.o. with a reaction of mine dating from 2009.

    Please inquire for possibilities.

    Dearest regards,

    Bob Smit


Your comment


Door Sixteen is a hate-free, drama-free, spam-free zone.
Wanna be startin' somethin'? Beat it.

Want a little picture to show up next to your comments? Go get a Gravatar!