Couples: Please stop attaching padlocks to the Brooklyn Bridge

The city is cracking down on this most pointless of romantic gestures

Photograph: courtesy creative commons/NilsPix/flickr

According to this piece in the Daily News, the city is begging people to stop clicking padlocks onto the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a tradition that began in Italy but was popularized in Paris, at the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor footbridge over the Seine: Couples write (or engrave) their names on a padlock, then clip it onto the railings as a symbol of their undying love. Because that's cute! Writing your name on something as intrinsically romantic as a piece of metal designed to keep the door of your smelly gym locker closed, and then dangling it above traffic! Hooray for romance!

The city's argument for couples not doing this is—predictably—a safety concern, although the Daily News article notes that when questioned about the potential dangers of adding thousands of locks to the structure, no one was able to point out a specific incident in recent memory. This blogger claims that adding all those locks can add a significant amount of weight in unexpected places—"over 330 pounds to a single section of metal grate"—but the biggest cost to the city right now is simply the cost of removing thousands of the irritating locks (over 5,600 since the end of last summer).

Before you question why they're bothering to remove the locks at all when the safety concerns seem negligible, just ask yourself: Do you really want the Brooklyn Bridge to look like this? It's one of the most beautiful structures in New York City—would it really be improved by a clunky gold coating of cheap, Magic Marker–daubed padlocks? There are other ways to express your love, people. And that goes double for the jerks that throw the keys into the river once the lock's in place. Don't do that.

Photograph: courtesy creative commons/Courtesy Daniel X. O'Neil/flickr

Instead, do one or all of these three things, which all cost the same or less than buying an engraved padlock (which, according to this ridiculous website, will set you back about 12 bucks).

1. Buy a delicious sandwich

Mmm, sandwiches. You’ll forget all about that padlock within minutes of leaving it dangling as a danger to all motorists beneath it. A delicious sandwich? That’s a memory that lasts a lifetime.
Average cost: $10

2. Drink an amazing tiki cocktail

Sure, none of us can afford a romantic tropical getaway right now. But we can afford rum-based fruity drinks, and that’s almost as good!
Average cost: $12

3. For God’s sake, just stay at home and have sex

You’re a young couple in love, what the hell are you doing on the Brooklyn Bridge with a padlock anyway? You could surely put it to far better use in your bedroom. Uh, if that’s your thing.
Average cost: If they love you, nothing