Completed in 1883. At the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world
When Alice came to the city she had a hankering to go over the bridge into Brooklyn, which got her talking about the time in the 70s, when her artist husband, Chris, had a studio in a backwater neighborhood located between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Later, one of their friends came up with the name DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), to discourage developers from moving into the area.
Lot of good that did! DUMBO is now one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Brooklyn. So yesterday I went to see for myself, setting off across the Brooklyn Bridge with about a thousand other people—mostly French tourists.
Halfway over, I met a young poet sitting on a Benjamin Moore paint can, with "poems" written on a cardboard placard, attached to his sweater; his name was Robert. He looked like he'd just stepped out of Bloomsbury London, circa 1927, or perhaps a Steinbeck novel about the Great Depression, but actually he was a student at Brown, getting a Masters Degree in Literary Arts.
The Poet with his Royal
For an unspecified donation, Robert said he'd write me a poem. It seemed like a good idea. I stood patiently by, while he attacked one key after another, resting between each stroke. Finally, the poem was finished. Here it is, to be shared by poetry lovers everywhere:
Die Woge (The Wave)
nights with her own arms
The poem is profound I think. Or if not, then, at least, is the poet sitting on the bridge, and I slipped him a nicely sum under his papers.
Once over the bridge I walked down the cobblestone streets of DUMBO, passing boutiques and storefronts that had homey names, like, "The General Store," which in this case turned out to be a white table clothed eatery. At Front and Washington, I found a great used bookstore, where I bought three books, had a double macchiato at a little French bakery around the corner, and then caught the subway home— sweet funky Canal and Broadway home. May the old and the smelly, the historic and the dilapidated, of Canal and Broadway never change!