On this recent Labor Day, I opened the “HTTH” app at the northern tip of the park, was suddenly catching comments on the rock climbing wall and the cacophony of standing under the Manhattan Bridge. “I guess people come here to get away from the city, but still be in it,” one woman murmured in my ear. As I approached a panoramic view of the Brooklyn Bridge, I heard a man crack that “It’s gotta be intense to be a bridge next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Are you singing back up in that band?” Others remarked on the number of photographs that must be taken here each day, or spoke authoritatively on its history (the app has a caveat that it “reflects the musings and opinions of everyday people, not factual accuracy”).
As I crossed beneath the Brooklyn Bridge and wandered into the denser greenery where ponds reflect the sun and trees shade paths, I caught speakers discussing the impact of global warming on cherry trees, and the surprising diversity of birds that visit the park. Being in this place, one person noted, “allows you to stop and listen, to look, to encounter, to rediscover the city you think you know so well.”