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It might be possible that the landmark people associate most with NYC is the Statue of Liberty. Alternatively, I think it’s very likely that the landmark that most NYC residencts associate with NYC is the Empire State Building. Second place could be the Brooklyn Bridge.

I’ve decided that my favorite landmark is the Brooklyn Bridge. I think it has come to symbolize not only the start of my life but also my family’s heritage. I had family come through Ellis Island, but I haven’t gone yet–mostly because the subway doesn’t stop there.

Anyway, I love the Brooklyn Bridge because it represents, to a certain extent, the American Dream on my father’s side. On the other hand, my mother’s half French and half Swedish–both sides have been in America for over 100 years and in Connecticut. There’s nothing symbolic of aspiration in Connecticut except colleges. My grandmother raised four kids in Brooklyn and moved out to the suburbs. That’s the American way, right? I expect, after this year, I’ll live in Manhattan and move out to Brooklyn. That’s the new American way, right? I won’t take my wife and kids to move to Crown Heights, but I’ll definitely be looking at places like Williamsburg and Park Slope.

I’m convinced the Brooklyn Bridge is magic. It has become that odd sort of symbol that can make me proud of my neighborhood even when I’m not. (Then again, Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. make me more proud to live in my neighborhood than the cooler/more expensive areas.) It makes me think of Brooklyn as the seminal locale for my family’s growth in America–even though that’s pretty clearly Ellis Island. It has proven that I do indeed want to buy into this crumbling, faltering economic system even after all these years of talk of living in Orvieto, Italy and thriving (starving) on the salary of a freelance writer. It has given hope to a career in music (even though most bands “from Brooklyn” are, more specifically, “from Williamsburg,” which is under the Williamsburg Bridge). It is, oddly enough, my constant source of optimism; everytime I see it, I smile.

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2 Comments

  1. next time you’re there at night, stop partway across and look through the cracks to the water below. it’s crazy. report back.

  2. Oh, I’ve already checked that one off my list, believe you me. So good.


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