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Great bridge, great race

The Brooklyn Paper
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Time was, the Brooklyn Bridge was so powerful a symbol that protesters would only march across it to complain about Really Big Things: police brutality, civil rights, abortion rights, war.

But in the past two weeks, the bridge’s pedestrian walkway has been commandeered so many times — by a candidate for an assembly seat; by participants in an Easter Passion play; by homeowners on Duffield Street who are upset that their homes may get torn down; and, most recently, by supporters of transit union boss Roger Toussaint, who walked him to the Tombs to surrender for his 10-day jail sentence — that some of us at The Brooklyn Papers wondered if there was a reason beyond mere symbolism.

Perhaps, we surmised, walking across the bridge is actually faster than taking the train (an irony, considering Toussaint’s job). So in the spirit of investigation — and with a nod to the great tabloid tradition of having a reporter on foot “race” a traffic-clogged crosstown bus — we conducted the first-ever competition pitting the Brooklyn Bridge footpath against the subway.

The Participants
Hypercaffeinated editor (and tabloid veteran) Gersh Kuntzman vs. young (and, frankly, somewhat dubious) reporter Dana Rubinstein, tired from a day at the office.

The Route
Participants started at the DUMBO offices of The Brooklyn Papers. Kuntzman took the footpath to the City Hall police booth on Park Row while Rubinstein took the A/C train from High Street to Chambers and walked the rest of the way.

The Race
6:10 pm: Both participants arrive at the footpath, where Kuntzman climbed the stairs and Rubinstein headed for the subway one block away. Kuntzman walked at a leisurely stroll, observing the traffic backed up on both sides of the bridge (thanks to the omnipresent — but unmanned — police cars parked in the fast lane that drive everyone crazy). The view of the harbor and up the East River was fantastic.

6:12 pm: Rubinstein arrives at to the A/C station.

6:16 pm: Kuntzman reached the midway point of the bridge and took a moment to appreciate the tourists walking by dressed in their summer clothes. Mick Jagger lives.

6:19: Kuntzman sees two friends coming towards him on bicycles. He waves hi, appreciates how nice it is to run into people you know in such an often-impersonal city, and keeps on walking.

6:20: Rubinstein’s A/C train arrives (yes, she waited eight minutes during rush hour). She is forced to stand between a guy who could be the “before” photo in a Dr. Zizmor ad and a woman doing Su Doku.

6:22: Kuntzman arrives at City Hall.

6:25: Rubinstein’s A/C train arrives at Chambers Street.

6:30: Rubinstein arrives at City Hall. Kuntzman checks his watch and gloats.

But he also tells his young charge that their mission has taught a valuable lesson: Just because people are marching over the Brooklyn Bridge doesn’t mean there’s any important symbolism involved. It may mean they simply chose the fastest route.



Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at gkuntzman@cnglocal.com
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

samul allen from —— boy says:
I love dicks
May 15, 2014, 11:07 am

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