The Brooklyn Bridge is part of any Brooklyn tour: it's a treasure, for residents and for visitors. It's a legacy of 19th century ingenuity (and hardship), and it remains vital infrastructure that requires money and effort to maintain.
So there's no reason--other than selfishness--to mar this awesome, venerable, and precarious piece of public property with "locks of love," a trend that has plagued Rome and Paris (and other world cities) in the past decade. Paris even has a group called "No Love Locks," which has helped get officials to remove locks and make bridges lock-proof.
"Just a month ago, we had an overhead wire that people had hung so many locks to that it snapped under the weight,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told CBS, which noted that last year the city had to remove 11,000 locks, which cost $116,000.
So, if you want to memorialize your unbreakable love, please don't mar the Brooklyn Bridge with a lock, or even a lighter piece of fabric. It will just have to be cut off by the Department of Transportation and tossed in a landfill. And now there's a $100 fine and signs warning "No Locks. Yes Lox."
As Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams tweeted, "If we care about preserving the #BrooklynBridge for another 133 years, we'll heed @NYC_DOT's call and lock hands or lips, not #lovelocks."
Since 2000, I've led visitors around Brooklyn, and my two most fundamental tours, Brooklyn 101 and Brooklyn 202, go through Park Slope and cross Prospect Park West, usually at the Garfield Place stop light. When we cross, I advise people to look right and left in case bicycles approach.
Then, on the sidewalk adjacent to Prospect Park, I describe the controversy over the Prospect Park West bike lane, which raised the ire of Borough President Marty Markowitz and some long-time (and well-heeled) residents of buildings along the block. I point out how, given the media megaphone focused on Park Slope, the controversy has made international news.
The visitors are generally incredulous. It seems a very reasonable trade-off to add a protected lane for bicyclists, thus narrowing a roadway conducive to speeding from three lanes to two. Yes, it may be less esthetically appealing to have vehicles park away from the curb and, yes, it may add a small degree of hazard for those crossing or parking/unloading. But, overall, it seems intuitive--and obvious--that the bike lane enhances safety.
There's still a lawsuit going on. (Update: It was finally abandoned in September 2016.) Below is a view of the "alarming" changes, via Gothamist.
Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.