Continuing the ‘exploring at height’ theme, we’ve recently had two brilliant family walks above street level. Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line are both great family days out, offering exercise, fresh air and world-class views – for free.
Brooklyn Bridge is that world-famous icon with the gorgeous stone arches and the suspension wires that often appears in footage of New York.
Several friends had recommended walking across it for the best views of Manhattan, and they weren’t wrong. There is a narrow, two lane footpath above the traffic lanes, with highly photogenic views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and of course the bridge itself. Found the route fairly clogged with people taking photos the whole way along. Rather wished we could copy the cyclists, and blow whistles to clear the way.
On the other side of the bridge, we queued in the wind for ages for a famous Grimaldi’s Pizza, then wandered along Brooklyn Heights Promenade for some ice cream. This is apparently the place to photograph Manhattan; Selfie Sticks, wedding parties and high school prom groups were everywhere. T and B were far more absorbed in the huge wedding and prom dresses than the skyline…
A classmate of T’s had her birthday party at Jane’s Carousel, which is directly beneath Brooklyn Bridge and is enclosed in a glass box to keep the weather off. T really enjoyed searching for another bear to ride, though B was deeply disturbed when her pony started to rise and fall, and made me cuddle her the whole way round.
Tips if you’re thinking of crossing Brooklyn Bridge with your kids:
- There are stairs at each end, but if you keep going a bit further along you can find step-free entrances, making it pram-friendly
- If your kids are old and bold enough, try out Jane’s Carousel on Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dock St
- End the walk with an icecream or hot chocolate from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and enjoy the view of Manhattan
The High Line
The other high walk we really enjoyed was along the High Line. Built in the 1930s, this was a railway line serving the meatpacking district, but has now been turned into something of a wildlife trail above Manhattan’s West Side. Slightly under a mile and a half long, it has fantastic views and lovely plants. It was really refreshing to walk amongst so much greenery and peer down at the streets below. Half way along is a cluster of food stalls, so we refuelled with coffees and perked up the girls with icecreams.
Tips if you’re thinking of visiting the High Line with your kids:
- Start at the north end on West 34th Street, and work your way down so you can then explore the deeply trendy Chelsea Market, on the corner of West 16th Street and 9th Avenue
- There are six elevators from street level along the High Line, so you can take the push chair
- The loos are big, clean, and have baby changing tables
- There’s not much shade, so bring hats and water if you’re visiting on a hot day
This week’s highs and lows:
High: Baking the Christmas cake with T. Lots of challenges getting similar ingredients (they don’t do currants here, apparently), but it’s baked and smells about right. Shared the recipe with a couple of friends here who are all intrigued by the idea of starting the Christmas Day prep so far in advance. I’ve given them Nigella Lawson’s traditional christmas cake recipe, as that’s my favourite. Looking forward to tucking in.
Low: Spending far too long admiring the Flip Fold – a special contraption to help you fold your clothes perfectly. Dragged myself away since we use Wash & Fold here (no washing machine in our apartment – quite common in New York). Couldn’t even buy it vicariously, as my mother has a rule against housework items as presents. Think I may actually have an undiagnosed obsession with laundry. Oh dear.