Tuesday, May 27, 2014

77th Anniversary of the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

Photo:SF Chronicle

Dennis and I went to the celebration walk for the 50th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge twenty-six years ago. It was one of the most frightening events in my life. The people in charge had hired a firm in Los Angeles to estimate the potential crowd. Evidently they based their estimates on how many buses and parking spaces were available. They hadn't considered that people would walk. Dennis and I left the house about 2:30 or 3:00 AM, took public transportation for as far as we could, and then walked the last two miles or so. We were near the front of the crowd. It started off as a lot of fun. But instead of staying to the right of traffic, pedestrians covered the entire bridge from both sides. We got to the middle, and there was complete gridlock. For over an hour, we could move only a few feet. It was very claustrophobic.

Photo: SF Chronicle
At the end, I was half expecting some people to jump just to get away from the crowd. The police prevented several hundred thousand more people from joining us on the bridge. Even so, the weight was so heavy, that the bridge leveled, and started to sag. I've since heard that there had been concern that the bridge might collapse. It would have been one of the great catastrophes of the 20th Century! I don't think anybody did make it the whole way across that day. Eventually, the police were able to evacuate the bridge, and we left to get something to eat.
It was the final day of the Decorator Showcase at Melvin Belli's place on Broadway. I suggested going. Dennis said: "Are you crazy? I'm not going to wait in line for anything today!" You'd never know from the colorful posters of the event, what a disaster the Fiftieth Anniversary walk across the Golden Gate Bridge turned out to be... and the catastrophe it almost was!


last year I missed the anniversary because I was in New York City before going to my Yale class reunion, where after the fact I became a member of the Whiffenpoofs of 1972! So to compensate I planned to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. But since I was coming from the Brooklyn side, after having breakfast with a friend, I somehow got on the wrong bridge!! But on Tuesday May 29th, I rented a bike and rode back and forth on the BB.

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