You don't have to be in New York City very long to hear someone rave about their walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world's most daring feats of engineering and beloved landmarks, and strolling along its wood-planked Promenade is a quintessential New York experience. This is no accident: John Roebling's genius 140 years ago was to contrast iconic stone towers and graceful steel cables with the warmth and softness of a wooden boardwalk to create the ultimate setting for the pedestrian.
From its opening day in 1883 when more than 150,000 people walked across it, the Promenade boardwalk has been a defining feature of the Brooklyn Bridge. The boardwalk ensures that the bridge is a place for people as well as a piece of vital transportation infrastructure. Attracted by this public architectural wonder, over one million people (tourists alongside lifelong New Yorkers) walk or pedal across the Bridge every year. Each of these people is a potential partner in the Brooklyn Bridge Forest.
One mile long, the Promenade is decked with 11,000 planks, each approximately 4" wide and 16' long. These planks must withstand extreme conditions of climate and usage - from snowplows to sun and salty air, from roller blades to baby strollers and bicycles.
The tropical hardwood that is used for the Promenade planks lasts for more than three decades, supporting multiple generations of visitors without using any harmful chemicals and requiring very little maintenance. Through the Brooklyn Bridge Forest project, each of these planks would be an opportunity for a sponsor to contribute to the forest that supplies the wood, and in so doing, have their signature etched onto a plank for its entire lifespan.
We believe that individual people acting on sound evidence and their convictions, in partnership with accountable, transparent and creative government bodies, is what will make the difference in improving the future of our planet. The Brooklyn Bridge Forest would be one way to demonstrate this combination of personal commitment and public transparency.
The Landmark - Brooklyn Bridge
Over one million New Yorkers and visitors walk or pedal across the bridge every year. Image: Billy Powers.
"What a grand place to stretch your legs...! To go from shore to shore in one straight and jolly tramp, with the sky for a roof and the breeze for good company."
- 1883 pedestrian, The Great Bridge by David McCullough