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There’s a consistency among the impressions of those who have dared the climb up the Manhattan Bridge. First and foremost, there’s something transcendent about the experience, not just from being up high and well, trespassing, but being able to take in the activity of lower Manhattan while simultaneously not being a part of it. Recently photographer  headed up to photograph the Manhattan Bridge, telling us “At the top it’s like having New York City in the palm of your hands, and with one slip you could lose it all.”

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Author Moses Gates of Hidden Cities, one of the most thoughtful books on urban exploration out there, describes his own experience on the Manhattan Bridge this way:

I realize at this moment we are more tenuously connected to the city than any other human being within its borders…Out of the million and a half people crowded onto the thirty-four square miles of the island of Manhattan, none of them–not David Rockefeller, not Donald Trump, not Michael Bloomberg–have this sheer vastness of space to themselves that we have right now. But even with this removal I feel intensely, electrically connected to the city. Counterintuitively, these two feelings–removal and connection–aren’t at odds, instead reinforcing each other. It’s an amazing, almost spiritual experience.”

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Climbing any of New York City’s suspension bridges gives “a refuge and a vista together, a story both personal and universal, and a place that’s completely devoid of monetization,” Gates continues. The top of the Manhattan Bridge is about six and a half feet wide, Gates describes in his book, a spot where you can just lie down and dangle your feet up top.  tells us being on bridge also gives you insight, up close, to the bridge interior, “piece by piece, what’s holding it together. What beam connects to what and the actual height of the bridge itself. Amazing views but not for the faint of heart.”

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Next, check out urban exploration atop Hell Gate Bridge in NYC, as well as photos of 15 NYC Bridges Under ConstructionGet in touch with the author @untappedmich.