This weekend was Valentine’s Day, and although I am a touch late, I thought it might be nice to do a corny little blog about it. Alex’s presents still haven’t arrived in the mail yet (whoops), so I better do something or I am going to be in trouble.
For those of you living in New York, or even on the East Coast, you know how damned cold it was. I heard that Central Park hit about zero that day, something that hasn’t been recorded since January 19, 1994. I hope that you were able to stay inside and snuggle up to someone special. Because I didn’t. I spent the whole day on the Brooklyn Bridge, freezing my huevos off. Originally, the tour was going to have a pretty big turnout, which was surprising for the middle of the winter. But as the weather reports came out, and people learned how cold it was going to be, more and more people started to drop out. In the end, only two brave souls were left.
That morning I put on two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, a sweater, hat, scarf and even stuffed myself into a pair of Alex’s leggings that acted as long johns under my pants. (Incidentally, the leggings are mine now and will never fit Alex again. Which is ok by me because I am quit fond of the floral pattern. ) After I was all bundled up, I went to the bridge to spend about two hours in the zero degree temperatures. Dedication to the craft!
My couple arrived, and they were absolutely lovely. We had a great time, even at times forgetting about how cold we were. They told me that the big reason they came on the tour was to put a locket inscribed with their names somewhere on the Brooklyn Bridge, as a symbol that their love will last forever.
People ask me about this quite a lot. This tradition of declaring love with padlocks started on the Pont des Arts, a bridge in Paris over the Seine River. Couples would attach the locks with their names on it, and then throw the key into the river below to symbolize their love lasting forever. Problem is, the bridge was so old it couldn’t handle the added weight of the locks. The Bridge was commissioned in 1801 by Napoleon, and never meant to hold an extra 45 tons in padlocks. (the actual extra weight of all the locks on the bridge) While it became a tourist attraction, the city was worried the bridge would collapse under the strain and removed not only all the padlocks, but also the iron grillwork that made up the sides of the bridge.
This trend has caught on in other cities around the world, but NYC made a preemptive strike by cutting off the locks once a week or so to prevent the dangerous build-up. Because I spent so much time on the Brooklyn Bridge, I always get to see the “locks of love” start to build up, and then one day they are all gone.
So, for all you couples out there who cross the Brooklyn Bridge, your love may last forever, but your padlock will only last about a week.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
PS- for those of you who are interested, the New York Times has a great article about all this, with a video featuring angry tourists.