Brooklyn-Queens caress-way: Locks on freeway pedestrian bridge mark lovebirds’ bonds

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The trend of lovebirds affixing padlocks to Brooklyn’s scenic bridges has spread to a decidedly un-picturesque pedestrian bridge over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Carroll Gardens.

One romance expert who has long railed against the so-called “love lock” fad suggested that sweethearts swooning in the cloud of freeway exhaust would do better to mark their love with actual criminal activity.

“I don’t think it’s a good way to show your love,” said Dave Colon, editor of the website Brokelyn, who has long used his platform to attack the practice. “If you want to vandalize something go whole hog and carve your name in it or something.”

About two dozen of the locks hung from the chain-link of the overpass between Monsignor Delviccio Place and Summit Street on March 12. Some had been there long enough to have rusted thoroughly.

Lovers and haters of the locks may argue over their merit as a symbol of undying commitment, but to road officials, the mementos pose a hazard. When Department of Transportation workers took to the Brooklyn Bridge last summer to take down legions of the locks, the agency warned couples that the devices threaten the span’s structure and motorists passing below. A department spokeswoman reiterated the agency’s stance last week.

“DOT discourages people from leaving locks or any other objects on any of our bridges, as doing so can pose a danger to the structure,” she said.

Some argue the practice is an import from Paris, where problem is so pernicious that the City of Love’s tourism website once pleaded for visitors to find other ways to express their everlasting bond, and workers had to remove sections of a footbridge’s railing because it was in danger of collapsing under the locks’ weight. Last summer, the tourist-embraced trend took hold on the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, and as far afield as Prospect Park.

Despite the strong feelings the fasteners engender in some, most passersby we quizzed on the bridge could give a hoot what people do with their padlocks.

“If people want to do it, I guess it’s okay,” Carroll Gardens resident Paul Cerato said.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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