Preserving Brooklyn Bridge with a shmear

Preserving Brooklyn Bridge with a shmear

Like many romantic gestures, the practice of lovers leaving locks on bridges has long-term structural implications, if not deep historical roots. Wikipedia explains that “the history of love padlocks dates back at least 100 years to a melancholic Serbian tale of World War I,” but the practice really took off after an Italian novel published in 2006 featured it. The gesture is popular with lovers and tourism officials, but engineers complain that the weight of thousands of metal locks adds up and can bring down bridges.

Indeed, padlocks left on the Brooklyn Bridge are blamed for a wire that snapped in September, leading to hours of repairs and traffic delays.

So New York City’s Department of Transportation started a crackdown, imposing fines and erecting a not-on-this-bridge sign with a New York twist. The sign reads: “NO LOCKS YES LOX.”

The “yes lox” sign features a photo of an everything bagel from Leo’s Bagels in Manhattan’s financial district, near the DOT’s offices.

If an official city sign with a bagel on it seems unexpected to you, you aren’t alone — sign maker John Jurgeleit told that even he was surprised that the DOT ate the idea up.

“We did regulatory signs and then [city officials] wanted something a little more whimsical,” said Jurgeleit, who reportedly makes between 85,000 and 100,000 signs for the city each year. “As a goof, I came up with this and sent it over and our [Transportation Department] commissioner, who has a great sense of humor and a love of signs also, she loved it — she went with it … to my surprise.”

But city officials should be careful what they wish for — there’s probably enough lox in Brooklyn to weigh down a bridge.

This isn’t the first time that officials showed a little chutzpah in picking Brooklyn street signs. In 2000, Borough President Marty Markowitz had the DOT install a sign on the outbound Williamsburg Bridge reading “Leaving Brooklyn. Oy Vey!”

JTA Wire Service

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