Is it time to ban tourists from the Brooklyn Bridge?

brooklyn bridge
Locals only? via Flickr user David Papworth

The Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful architectural jewel, a feat of engineering impressive both when it was built and 131 years later as it still stands. It’s also, for better or worse, a tourist attraction that brings out of towners, in love with the view and the aura of the bridge, clomping across it in huge numbers every day. It might be time to reexamine the relationship New York City allows tourists to have with the Brooklyn Bridge though, in light of yet another asshole deciding to make the bridge his own personal jungle gym. This is hardly the first crime committed by tourists against our iconic span lately, so the question must be asked, and we’ll be the ones to ask it: Is it time to ban tourists from setting foot on the Brooklyn Bridge?

We can already see your eyes rolling, and that’s understandable. On its face, banning tourists from the Brooklyn Bridge sounds unfeasible, discriminatory and kind of senseless. Hear us out though. This weekend marked the second high-profile incident¬†of a tourist climbing on and then up a restricted area of the bridge, as if there wasn’t a large fence blocking his way. This is disrespectful enough, but the fact that other tourists haven’t stopped with the goddamn love locks, going so far as to tie their trash to the bridge when they don’t have locks handy is just travesty that will probably never be fixed by public shaming.

This cavalier disrespect for a New York City marvel is astounding, but not entirely surprising. Why would some Frenchman or Okie care about what happens to our bridge after they’ve tied their tattered Duane Reade bag to it or caused a public panic by climbing on it? They won’t be here next week to deal with the consequences. Just because we’re not surprised by these instances anymore, doesn’t mean that we should just sit back and let it happen. So like we said, perhaps its time to institute a program where only locals can use the pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge.

How would this be enforced? We’re thinking some kind of ID scan at the entrance on both the Manhattan and Brooklyn sides of the Brooklyn Bridge. Or, if we wanted to avoid bottlenecks of people walking or biking across the bridge, New York City could also invest in futuristic mind-reading technology, or something to that effect, that scans the minds of people approaching the Brooklyn Bridge to determine whether or not they really live here.

We’re just trying to start a conversation here though, we understand we don’t have all the answers. Maybe instead of making the Brooklyn Bridge a locals-only bridge, the city can institute a program where tourists can only walk on the bridge with a local as an escort. Maybe when their plane lands, tourists should be forced to take a class explaining what is and isn’t considerate behavior on the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe anyone caught climbing on or attaching a lock or a pair of earbuds to the Brooklyn Bridge should be hung upside down from the span for a significant amount of time, but not a significant amount of time that the punishment is fatal. We don’t know, we’re just asking questions and trying to start a conversation here, in the hopes that we can avoid another story about someone climbing the Brooklyn Bridge in broad daylight like a fucking idiot or tying their dirty toilet paper to it as some kind of sick way to commemorate their visit.


  1. Matt H

    You forgot about the cyclist perspective here.

    Who do you think will be walking 7 abreast on the whole of the path (not just the pedestrian side, fully blocking the bike side as well), with no notion that their behavior might be galling or dangerous? That’s right, the tourists.

    Really the DOT ought to take a lane away from the autos and repurpose it as a bidirectional bike route, and give the whole elevated pathway to peds.

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