Thursday, May 22

125 Years Old

2:45am  On a whim, we decide to see what it's like to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of the night.

All is dark and expected.

Then we ran into this guy, who we assumed was fixing a faulty bolt on the bridge.
He works for the Department of Transportation, and he kept asking Anita what was in her Victoria's Secret shopping bag. (Her shoes.)

Then the bridge lit up in this amazing light display.

The DOT guy told us that the bridge is turning 125 years old.
To celebrate, they are putting on a light show for the next 5 days.

We had arrived just as the lights were being installed.

We felt like we'd stumbled upon something magical that nobody else knew about.

But just as we got to the top of the bridge...we discovered we were not alone.

These are the dudes who make it all happen.
We're told that the guy on the far right is the Commissioner of the DOT for Bridges and Tunnels.
The other guys let us know that his position is a very big deal.
Anita became starstruck and started to list her favorite bridges to him.
He laughed and said, "Yeah, bridges," as he walked away.
He must hear that all the time.

Anna asked a professional photographer, who was there taking his own light show photos, to snap a picture of us. (You can see his tripod at the far left.)

The guy with his arm around Anna told her that he loves working at night, but only because he's outdoors.
Frank, who is standing to the right of Anita,  decided he had a lot in common with her because they both like all kinds of food and all kinds of music.
He felt the connection so strongly that he ended up getting down on one knee and proposing marriage.
Caught up in the moment and the beauty of the bridge, it almost sounded like a good idea.

But instead we walked away into the sea of lights.

Wednesday, May 21

It's a Man's World

Livery drivers, garbage men, busboys and bartenders, construction workers and night watchmen--the faces we pass on our nightly walks are almost exclusively male.

One night, we walked past this woman operating a forklift at a construction site. When she smiled for this picture, she seemed happy to see us.
We smiled back.

Wednesday, May 14

Cab Fare

Getting out of work in the middle of the night, we've taken a lot of cabs. We often ask drivers why they choose the night shift, and they invariably say, because they hit less traffic and make more money.

After Anita gets out on the Lower East Side, there's still plenty of time for conversation before Anna arrives in Brooklyn.

This driver opened with: "Do you like pork?"
Anna said, "Not really," but he pressed on and pointed out the many places in Chinatown where a good, cheap pork meal can be had.
Then he asked: "Do you like crab?" An affirmative answer led to a long and very detailed account of where, when and how to procure discount crabs, and what to do with them.
1. Go online to Crabs-R-Us and reserve a bag of crabs.
2. Meet the crab truck in Chinatown at 6:30am, and also pick up a large bag of clams from another truck while you're there.
3. Then buy lots of garlic, parsley, a bucket of ice, and a large tub of butter.
4. Tell all of your friends to come over with beer, and you have yourself a big party for less than $100.

Anna took notes.
She thought that sounded like a good, good time.

Nighttime Companions

When we first started this job, we would get creeped out leaving the building.
We would jump into the first cab available.
But after weeks of walking home, the nighttime streets now feel friendly to us.

Our usual route down 9th Avenue.
Each night we pass this lonely stretch by the post office warehouse.

Just outside the frame on the right there are homeless people sleeping.
On several nights we've seen one man tuck in his companion.

This is the night watchman at the warehouse.
He told us his shift is from midnight to 8:30am.
He asked us if we were religious.
Anita shrugged her shoulders; Anna said no.
He paused and looked at us. The moment felt tense.
Then he said with a big smile, "That's okay, Jesus loves you anyway."
It was oddly reassuring.

This man is the warehouse custodian.
We were struck by his proud pose.
He said, "It takes a certain temperament to work at night."
We all nodded in agreement.
Before we walked away, he added, "It's nice to see pretty faces walking down the street this late at night, and not King Kong."

People get lonely at night. They are more apt to talk. And so are we.