The Brooklyn Bridge is New York's Most Famous Protest Bridge

From AIDS Awareness to "Occupy Wall Street" Protests, It's the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge at Sunrise
••• Anne Strickland Fine Art Photography / Getty Images

The Brooklyn Bridge is New York City's most famous, most frequented bridge for protests and marches.

It's no accident that when organizing political marches, fundraising walks and other public events that organizers often choose a route that includes a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the summer, there's often at least one such walk or demonstration every Saturday and Sunday.

Here are 5 reasons why the Brooklyn Bridge is New York City's bridge of choice for organized groups seeking to make a point, create social change, raise awareness or money for an issue, or otherwise gain public attention.

  • 01 of 05

    The Brooklyn Bridge Makes for a Great Photo Shoot

    First, let's face it: the Brooklyn Bridge is photogenic. As in the old saw about "if a tree falls in the woods....,"  if a fundraising or protest march happens in New York City, and nobody hears about it, well, then did it really happen? Well, not exactly.

    The Brooklyn Bridge alone makes a beautiful photograph. It's a great backdrop for a video or photo featuring a march, whether ​it's a march of hundreds of vegans or thousands of school teachers.

  • 02 of 05

    The Brooklyn Bridge Has That Big, Wide, Beautiful Pedestrian Walkway

    Unlike other NYC bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge boasts a wide pedestrian walkway, broad enough to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, tourists and an organized march — all at the same time.

    That's great because it means the march can go on, without disrupting traffic, business, tourists or other New Yorkers who are on the bridge for other reasons.

    In fact, there are organized walks and marches — fundraisers, awareness-raising events, protest walks, celebratory walks, you name it — on the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway just about every Saturday and Sunday in the summer.

  • 03 of 05

    In Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge Ends Near New York City's Civic Center

    The Brooklyn Bridge, on the Manhattan side, is conveniently located near to the places that many people want to take their grievances: City Hall, the courts, and NY Police Department headquarters.

    It's also close to Wall Street.

    However, the Brooklyn Bridge is some distance from the United Nations and the foreign consulates clustered around it, most of which are located on the east side in Midtown Manhattan.

  • 04 of 05

    The Brooklyn Bridge Connects the Civic Centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan

    Of course, Brooklyn was once an independent city, and so has its own civic center, centered around Borough Hall in Brooklyn Heights, as well as courts, and various municipal offices, including the headquarters of the NY Fire Department.

    In some cases, people seeking to exercise their first amendment rights find it useful to connect the two civic centers, in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

    The Brooklyn-Manhattan route works. In contrast, it's impossible, or at best very inconvenient, to make a similar march, say, from the civic heart of the borough of Queens to the civic heart of Manhattan. And from Staten Island or the Bronx to Manhattan, or over the George Washington Bridge from Jersey? Fuggedaboutit.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Brooklyn, with Working Class Roots, Has a Tradition of Progressive Activism

    Brooklynites aren't shy.

    With its immigrant roots, socio-economic and ethnic diversity, a culture of tolerance and strong labor union history, Brooklyn has been a political hot spot since the beginning of the 20th century.

    There are plenty of local issues, from income and health disparities to education and municipal services, around which Brooklyn residents can and do mobilize.

    And so, regardless of whether a march or walk is going to or from Brooklyn, Brooklyn's a good recruiting ground for organizing people with strong opinions.

    So, if you have something to say, you can say it on the Brooklyn Bridge. But be aware, should you want to hold a walk or march: it's smart to check with the NY City Police Department well in advance to learn about requirements, rules, and permits. And, unless you've got a permit, or want to engage in civil disobedience, stay on the pedestrian walkway, and away from the traffic.