I have always wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, it was on my list of things to try by myself in 2011, but I never got around to it. It is probably something I should have done on my own! My kids had a terrific day in Brooklyn, but walking across the bridge was their least favorite part of the day.
We invited my parents to come with us on our little journey. As native Brooklynites, I thought they would enjoy going back to their hometown and spending some time with their grandchildren. Besides, I am completely incompetent when it comes to parallel parking, so I needed to bring someone who could do that for me.
We drove into Brooklyn Heights in the late morning and took a tour of the lovely neighborhood. Well, technically, it wasn’t a tour. We were searching for a parking spot for nearly 30 minutes, so we made the best of it and admired the brownstones.
Since I wasn’t sure that walking across the bridge would be exciting to my children, I told them that we would try the world-renowned Grimaldi’s Pizza after we completed our walk. My children are true pizza lovers, so they couldn’t wait.
As soon as we stepped onto the bridge, it was easy to see that we were not the only people in New York City who thought it would be a beautiful day for a walk. The bridge was crowded with tourists, joggers, and bicyclists. We enjoyed looking out at the skyline, and Luke particularly enjoyed seeing the nearly completed Freedom Tower. Both kids enjoyed touching the thick cables that suspend the bridge and marveled at how these strong wires could support the entire bridge.
When we arrived on the Manhattan side of the bridge, my plan was to turn right around and head back to Brooklyn. As soon as I explained this idea to Luke, he had a major meltdown.
“Why, oh why, oh why, did we ever leave Brooklyn?” he whined, “If the pizza is in Brooklyn, we should have just stayed there!” He swore he couldn’t walk another minute.
My mistake hit me like a lightning bolt, and I understood why he was having this tantrum. I told the kids that we were going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and then get pizza. I omitted that we needed to walk back and forth over the bridge. Big mistake. At this point, we had no choice but to walk back as Luke continued to whine.
Luke dragged his feet for a bit until he noticed little reflectors placed about every 10 feet on the bridge. Suddenly, he and Leah started racing to each reflector, jumping up and touching it as they passed. Thank goodness for the small pleasures in life. Crisis averted.
When we got back to Brooklyn, we strolled over to Grimaldi’s, a coal-fired, brick oven pizzeria. Once again, we were not the only people with the same great idea. The line to get in the door snaked down the street. My father thought it was ridiculous to wait in line when there is a pizzeria on practically every street corner in Brooklyn and wanted to try another place. My mom and I overruled him. The Travel Channel and Zagats rated this the best pizza in all of NYC, so we were willing to wait. My dad took the kids down to the pier where they threw pebbles into the East River and played at a small playground while my mom and I waited exactly an hour and 15 minutes just to walk through the door.
We were lucky to be shown to a table upstairs where the kids had a bird’s-eye view of the pizza making process. They loved watching the pizza dough being stretched and kneaded, the cheese slices placed on the dough, and the sauce quickly swirled on top. We noticed that the cooks put the cheese on the pie first and then added the sauce. We might try this method the next time we make pizza at home.
The pizza was incredible- crispy, cheesy, and quite simply the best we’d ever had. It truly was worth the wait. Luke told me he wanted to come back to Brooklyn for pizza another day. Even my dad had to admit it was delicious, but Leah said it best. “I don’t ever want to walk over that bridge again, but I will come here for pizza everyday.”
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