The Brooklyn Bridge is best experienced from a distance. Walking across it is a noisy, dangerous slog. As the cars speed over the traffic lanes made of metal grates, they make a helluva racket. And, the aggressive, gluten-free cyclists take no prisoners. But, viewed from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, especially at twilight, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most beautiful structures in the world.
Another great way to see the bridge is from below via the Wall Street Ferry which runs from the foot of Wall Street to Greenpoint, Red Hook and beyond. The ferry travels right below the bridge and affords a fantastic view of lower Manhattan. It costs the same as a subway ride!
Board the ferry headed to trendy Red Hook where you can find a few bars and shops worth a quick stop. Then cross busy Hamilton Avenue into bucolic Carroll Gardens famous for its brownstones with front gardens and Italian flavor. Then walk down Henry Street or Clinton Street thru Cobble Hill and into Brooklyn Heights. Check guide books for houses of note and restaurants en route. Sit and stroll on the Promenade and enjoy the spectacular view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then catch a subway back to your hotel or home.
Be sure to meander up and down the streets of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights. Follow your nose. You can’t get lost. They are among the most gorgeous neighborhoods in the world!
John A. Roebling, who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, built an earlier, similar version of it in Cincinnati. That bridge spans the Ohio River between the stadiums where the Reds and Bengals play. I had never heard about this bridge so when I first saw it in person, I felt as though I’d fallen into an alternate-universe, Brooklyn Bridge Twilight Zone.
Carrie’s body was found at 5:30 AM by a milkman. Imagine. Brooklyn still had milkmen in 1973. A tenant reported hearing something at about the time of Carrie’s murder. It wasn’t a scream or a scuffle, just a “something.” There were reports of suspicious cars seen in the area but the cops checked and dismissed that angle. Remember Carrie’s street was a Dead-End so a getaway car was unlikely. No. Carrie had been followed from the subway. The cops were sure. They questioned people who’d been on her train, “See anything strange?”
No. No one had. The murderer had probably been lurking near the subway station in Brooklyn Heights. A crime of opportunity. Of impulse.
Committed in a minute.
Carried out in a frenzy.
That was the headline.
Tell me I’m dreaming. This is a movie, right?
The Daily News and New York Post ran the story big. For a few days. Carrie’s smiley 8×10 photo filled their front pages. For a few days. A pretty someone I knew was a tabloid headline. A pretty someone whose death I foresaw. A pretty someone from Indiana. Slain. The streets of New York became a B-movie nightmare-montage in which I saw Carrie’s face everywhere. She smiled at me from every newsstand I passed and from every TV screen in every bar. I found her smile abandoned on subway seats. Discarded in trashcans. Thrown in the gutter.
Mayor Lindsay took a big interest in the case. For a few days. Crime and New York had become synonymous under his libtard administration. He appointed extra cops to the hunt and invited Carrie’s parents to stay in the Mayor’s mansion. I could give him the benefit of a doubt but I won’t. He felt guilty and obligated.
“Dear God,” Handsome John Lindsay whined to his campaign manager “not another Kitty Genovese, not on my watch, not in ‘Fun City’.”
Then the faces of other murdered girls pushed Carrie’s smile from the front pages and from memory.
I told the cop who was interrogating me that a few days after seeing Carrie walk through Needle Park in a trance, I learned that she and her roommate’s possessions had been stolen. They had packed their car for the move from tenement, roach-infested Hell’s Kitchen to toney, roach-infested Brooklyn Heights. But, they’d committed a cardinal sin. They had loaded their car full of their stuff. I imagined a portable TV with a mouse-ear aerial wrapped in aluminum foil sitting on the back seat next to a hair dryer with the cord wound around it. I saw a bag of hair curlers. I saw Earth Shoes, sandals, magazines. I saw hangers. Everything they owned safely stowed and ready for transit, the girls laughed up the stoop, through the vestibule and up the five tenement flights to check they’d left nothing behind.
I’ll bet they felt like they were in one of those “kooky girls come to New York” movies – My Sister Eileen or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But, when they came back downstairs, their car was empty, the trunk wide-open like the maw of a hippopotamus. When I learned of this theft a dizzying dread crept up my spine. Did my hair stand on end? It may have. I know that I felt helpless against some deadly force, some irresistible undertow, some relentless riptide pulling Carrie under.
I’ll let you in on another secret; the cops tell me that whoever stabbed Carrie thirty-eight times could have done it in a minute – their arms a blur. Bruce Lee dies on the same day Carrie is murdered. You ever see Bruce in his Kung-Fu prime, his arms a wind-milling blur? Picture Bruce with blades attached to his flying hands punching Carrie thirty-eight times. People who have been knifed say it feels like a punch. You feel the fist of the attacker hitting your body as the blade goes in up to the hilt, not the blade slicing into your flesh.
That’s a big number. That’s more than three-dozen stab wounds. And, it takes the murderer only a minute to do that. He has to be in a frenzy to accomplish the task. You think it’s easy to stab someone thirty-eight times in a minute? Try it. Try stabbing a pillow thirty-eight times that quickly or a watermelon or a piece of meat. See if you can do it without breaking the blade or cutting your fingers off.