When I was a little boy, we moved from Brooklyn to Yonkers. Most of our relatives stayed in Brooklyn, which was an epic car trip away from Yonkers. On occasion it was just my father and me in the car. On those trips I got to sit in the passenger seat next to Dad, which made me feel very grown up. But more importantly I got to make two choices during the trip that I spent days in advance thinking about. Do we take the Coffee Bridge first or the Chocolate Bridge first?
A coffee roasting plant and a chocolate factory sat near the Brooklyn landings of The Williamsburg Bridge and The Manhattan Bridge. In the mind of a six year old (a very imaginative one at that) they became the Coffee Bridge and the Chocolate Bridge. The fragrances of roasting coffee and chocolate wafted up to the cars on the bridges above. I would lower the window and wait for the first scent on the breeze, generally by 23 Street or somewhere on the Belt as we headed back to Yonkers. Finally there it would be, and did it ever amuse me to be the first to say “I smell it”. The scent would get stronger, more distinct and more delicious by the second, and then slowly fade as we left the bridge. I was in sensory heaven, breathing as deeply as I could. It was always a let down when the smell was gone, replaced by plain old car. But I always had another bridge crossing to think about. Memory is a funny thing, but I think I found it irresistible to take the Chocolate Bridge first, and sometimes twice on a trip.