Brooklyn, Queens and a bridge

I crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for the first time today after picking up a load on Long Island. The bridge connects Long Island and Staten Island and was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1981 when the Humber Bridge in England was opened. To reach the east end of the bridge I drove through Queens and Brooklyn on I-495 and I-278. These highways run through the most densely populated areas I’ve ever seen. There were numerous buildings whose second or third stories were level with the elevated roadway and only a few feet away. Can you imagine living with the continual rumble of traffic outside your window? I passed mile after mile of row houses, brownstones, shops, office and apartment buildings. It seemed as though every building had at least one wall entirely taken up by an advertisement. Some of the larger buildings had signs ten stories tall. There were neighboorhoods that had incredible quantities of graffiti on every fence, wall and overpass. Traffic was so heavy it took me two hours to drive forty-five miles. As I approached the west end of Long Island the buildings became taller and newer and through the gaps I could see the hazy skyline of Manhatten. I’ve got to go back someday when I can stay longer.

As you can see through my dirty windshield, there are many trees in Brooklyn.

Let’s go to Mars

Some people say we should send people to Mars because we need to learn how to survive on other planets. One day Earth will be uninhabitable and we’ll have to go somewhere else. Even if Earth becomes uninhabitable I doubt it could be much worse than Mars. The atmospheric pressure is a tiny fraction of Earth’s. If there is any liquid water we haven’t found it yet. The atmosphere contains almost no oxygen. And the temperatures are far colder than Antarctica. So I think, if we go to Mars it should be for the pure joy of exploration.

Toledo, Spain

I’m reading The Pillars of the Earth, the 1989 novel by Ken Follett. The book mentioned Toledo, Spain so I looked for it on Google Maps and I was fascinated by how crowded the city is. It looks like many buildings don’t have square corners. Also notice that most of them have a kind of courtyard in their center.