|Well it’s official, New York Local Tours is 2 years old today! It’s almost hard to believe that our company has only been around for such a short time. This morning Alex and I got up to vote, and we started to reflect on what an amazing year 2016 has been so far. We’re so grateful to all the new friends we’ve made through this journey, as well as to all our old friends who’ve been nothing but supportive of us. We’re also so excited about giving a whole bunch of kick-ass tours this past year, too.
Today, 2 years ago, is the day that we gave our very first tour, a tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve been thinking about doing a special Bridge blog lately, so I thought this might be a perfect opportunity, in order to celebrate our birthday!
For those of you who have been following our blog for a while (looking at you, Mom) I did an earlier piece on why you shouldn’t put your “locks of love” on old bridges. The tradition started in Paris, where you would write your lovers name on a lock, put the lock on the bridge, and throw the key into the river to symbolize your everlasting love blah, blah, blah. But this added weight from the locks has begun to create a dangerous situation where the extra weight from the padlocks had actually begun to weaken the old bridge. On top of that, if one of these locks fall off, it could shatter a windshield which then could cause an accident. So in New York, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has to go around, about once a month, and cut all the locks off.
People started to catch on. I spend so much time on the Brooklyn Bridge that I’ve noticed when things have changed. I saw a dramatic decline in the amount of padlocks affixed to the guardrails. I think people were tired of shelling out money to buy a lock only to have the stupid thing cut off a week later. But what I did notice was a whole bunch of freakin’ garbage tied to the side of the bridge instead. Hair ties, paper, candy wrappers, and a metric shit-load of earbuds. So many earbuds. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the issue was, and why the Brooklyn Bridge was covered in garbage.
Finally, I found a great article that the Wall Street Journal wrote about the phenomenon. It was essentially what I thought; the garbage was meant to represent the ever-lasting love of some dickhead who thought defacing a National Landmark was okay, but doing it in such a way that it didn’t cost any money. Whatever they had in their pockets ended up going directly onto the bridge.
But now, things have changed, and the DOT is no longer messing around. It is officially a crime to put a lock or tie garbage on the side of the Bridge. If the police catch you, you are fined upwards of $100, and your trinket is cut off and thrown away. The DOT is also stepping up its game in terms of cutting things off the Bridge immediately. People are getting the message, and the Brooklyn Bridge is a lot cleaner now.
For those of you thinking about doing it anyway, let me introduce you to John Roebling, the original architect of the Brooklyn Bridge who died during its construction. John had a reputation for being incredibly difficult to work with, often raging against the people who annoyed him. He also, it was rumored, had the ability to communicate with the dead. Now that he himself is dead, who knows what powers he has? So, for those of you thinking about putting nonsense on the bridge, take a minute and gaze into John’s cold, grey eyes and ask yourself, “is being haunted by the ghost of the angriest man in Brooklyn worth defacing his masterpiece?” I don’t think it would be. The Bridge is perfect; leave your garbage in the trashcan.
With that crabby note, (I know Alex will be rolling her eyes over this one!) thank you to everyone who made this such a wonderful second year! We have so much planned for the coming year and cannot wait to share New York with you!