The first time I started to write this post I deleted it immediately. I had the best intentions and whilst looking for appropriate material to share with you, I discovered a mistake I made for 24 years.
For a better understanding it’s better to begin at the beginning and ignore the mistake for now. You will see it for yourself when you read on (and/or watch the movie at the end of this post):
For most people (especially citizens of New York) it is one of the most common things in the world to walk or drive over the Brooklyn Bridge. Many people do it on a daily basis when they go to work. For me it was an extraordinary experience. I know, it sounds stupid. If you are a psychiatrist you maybe consider right now describing me some pills that will help me through my insanity, because I’ m talking about a bridge. Yes, you are completely right: it’s just a bridge. Not more and surely not less. At least if you look at it in the most rational way.
For me and for many other people who have never been in New York, I guess, it’s more than that. It’s a symbol. Something that appears in so many movies in all it’s greatness (even if in real life it could need some new paint). That’s the reason why I was so happy when I had the opportunity to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, that I thought was in the background of a special scene in one of my favorite movies: Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America from 1984 (24 years ago at the time of writing this). I even thanked Sergio Leone in the acknowledgment of my book Loser – Director’s Cut for his unforgettable shot of the bridge. I have build in a (imaginary) similar shot of the bridge in the story. In my office is a prominent black and white photography on the wall by Andreas Feininger of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1948.
You see, I admire this bridge. The message of this post, if there is a message at all, could have been that you can be lucky with these very small things (like walking over a bridge), what enriches your life. So if you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and you are maybe a little down, just think about it. What is common for you, may be a dream for somebody else in the world.
After writing all this, I come back to my big mistake. Some die hard movie freaks of you will already know, but for those who don’t here it is: for 24 years I admired the wrong bridge. As you can see in the movie picture beneath it wasn’t a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge I had to be thankful for, it was the Manhattan Bridge. Isn’t that funny?
Of course this has a consequence: I have to go back to New York and walk the Manhattan Bridge as well. Gosh, I will be one of the happiest people under the sun.