Walk to Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square: Literary & Dramatic Connections

Another great day of walking with so much valuable input from our New York literary guides. Today we headed first to Brooklyn and then on to Midtown’s Times Square. Our guide filled us in with some interesting historical background to this area of New York:

high-street-brooklyn-bridge-station

And here is the fabulous Bridge about which Hart Crane presented his visionary poem celebrating this technological creation as something almost divine:

dressed-for-winter-reading-hart-crane

This is where I had the priviledge to read the introduction “To A Bridge” to Crane’s seminal poem:

Brooklyn was a quiter, more reflective space than Manhattan from where we had come, but it was also filled with literary icons. Here is where W.H. Auden wrote his amazing poem “September 1, 1939”, on the eve of World War 2. Here is our guide:

auden-lived-here

Here is the house in which Truman Capote wrote his work:brooklyn-architecture

And here is one of the many beautiful, quiet, back streets of this town that looks reflectively across at New York City on the other shore of the water:brooklyn-side-street-near-february-house

Nearby is this park celebrating one of the greatest early poets of the district:

walt-whitman-park

This is what you see across the street- you can see Brooklyn Bridge on the far right and in the distance on the left- the Statue of Liberty- which Hart Crane also alludes to in his poem. Walt Whitman of course knew this view before this bridge was built, and from that vision came that wonderful visionary poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”.

panorama

In the afternoon we headed back to Manhattan to explore the literary and cultural contexts of mid-town around Time’s Square. One of the first icons was The Empire State Building, one of the many structures in Art Deco style-  built at the time of the Great Depression – just after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s heyday:

empire-state

Here is our guide waxing lyrical about this icon:

. See also: The New York Art Deco Society

And further down the road is this powerfully contrasting creation, the Catholic Cathedral where F.Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda got married:

cathedral-where-f-scott-and-zelda-married

Or was it actually in the Cathedral where they got married? Here is our guide:

Nearby is the astonishing Rockefeller Centre- an all Art Deco Construction that fills several blocks. Here we are gathered at the centre- with tour guide Robert against the tree:

at-the-rockefeller-centre

The icon of this construction is Atlas- art is here handmaiden of the new vision of a technological future:

atlas-holding-up-the-rockefeller-centredescription-of-atlas

And here is the Ice-Skating Rink at the foot of the tallest building in this Art Deco extravaganza- the Rink that was visited by Holden Caufield near the end of Catcher in the Rye:

exact-spot-where-holden-caufiled-went-ice-skating

Here is our guide on the Rockefellers:

And again:

Down the road is this hotel the Algonquin which was visited regularly by Dorothy Parker (author of “Observation” in our Anthology p.49). And here are some of the quirky anecdotes about Dorothy shared by our guide Cedric:

dorothy-parkers-hotel

Here is the amazing New York  Public Library on-route to Times Square- the fourth largest library in the world:

new-york-public-library

And here finally we arrive at Times Square where our guide Kia waxes lyrical:

kias-passionate-reading-in-times-sq

After another day of around 20km walking we arrive back at the hotel ready to take a break before heading out to our second Broadway Production Jittney. Seated at the centre is our wonderful guide Cedric who had so many great stories to tell. long-days-walk-with-cedric-one-of-our-fabulous-guides

  1 comment for “Walk to Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square: Literary & Dramatic Connections

  1. January 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I have never held a desire to travel to USA. Now that you have succeeded in perking my interest, I have decided that should I go there, Brooklyn would be my destination. 20km walking??? Glad I didn’t make this trip. The Atlas statue looks amazing; and to think that the artist and designer collaborated to discuss also which way it should face and the significance of facing it the way they did. Your trip sounds amazing.

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