Sometimes you discover love in the most unusual places.
Recently I found myself on an urban hike of sorts – probably the only way to describe walking in New York City. Moving in and out of cool shadows cast by the tall buildings above, I couldn’t help but notice how life moves a bit faster in the town that proudly refers to itself as The City That Never Sleeps. This town, at least to an outsider, is all business.
That is until I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Looking across the familiar expanse of steel cables and masonry towers, I found myself drawn to explore this massive structure from the inside. And it was there – above a river of water and traffic – I discovered love hanging around.
There are literally thousands of cables running in every direction between the limestone and granite construction. Each one plays a very special role in keeping the world’s first suspension bridge in place. But it is on these very cables where people declare their love for eternity.
At first I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. Stopping in place about halfway across the bridge I noticed what appeared to be small locks hanging from cables. Leaning out over a beam, my eyes began to notice no two were alike, no two the same.
Behind me people were rushing past – this city stops for no one. But as I leaned out more closely I could begin to see initials either etched or written on the locks. While some were more ornate than others, each represented a couple that’d walked out onto the bridge with the intention of clasping a very personal – and permanent – symbol of their love to the bridge.
One in particular, “Daniel and Diane” appeared to be written in White Out across the face of a gold lock. Another, a larger red lock, was professionally inscribed with etching tools. Some carried dates while others simply projected initials. But each represented a moment in time and a commitment for two people.
The decorated cables are actually quite beautiful when you think about how they’ve come to be.
Looking down the cables you notice how the older ones might carry a bit of rust from years of weathering. Beyond those I could easily make out the letters I noticed older ones being obediently pushed down like unused hangers in a closet. And the more I looked around, the more I saw.
Honestly, this is one of my very favorite memories of New York. Here is one city that represents its nickname well. People are everywhere – and each with place to go.
But for a few, they’ve taken time to swing by the local hardware store and plan a declaration of love no court in the land can undo. Once they write their initials on the metal surface, snap the U-bolt down and slide into place, their love will forever be tied to Brooklyn Bridge.
There are a few things I plan to do should I ever get the chance to return to New York City – but none more important than carrying a small engraved lock the next time I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
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