The Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge—Graffiti or a Symbol of Love?

A controversial trend from Paris has come to New York. (Photo: Getty Images)

Attention, romantics: The Brooklyn Bridge is no longer for lovers, at least when it comes to “love locks.”

According to the New York Daily News, city officials aren’t fans of couples attaching locks to the bridge and then throwing the key into the East River.

A symbol of eternal love to some, the padlocks have become a major headache for maintenance crews, who have already cut off 5,600 locks from the national landmark since July, New York City Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nicole Garcia confirmed to Yahoo Travel. But the amorous just keep adding more.


About 5,600 of these have been cut off in Brooklyn since July. (Photo: Brainbitch/Flickr)


To New York officials, these love locks are just graffiti. (Photo: Kevin Case/Flickr)

Maybe it’s the warmer weather that inspires more people to venture out and express an attachment to someone special with a padlock. To the city, it’s just another piece of bridge debris to clean up.

“The number of locks left on the bridge in recent weeks significantly increases the expenses required for this and diverts crews that would otherwise be assigned to other maintenance operations,” Garcia told Yahoo Travel.

“The locks also potentially pose a safety risk for workers or motorists on the lower deck, and thus these periodic maintenance efforts also occasionally require the temporary closure of traffic lanes,” she said.


(Photo: © Lapo Belmestieri)

Perhaps Brooklyn is worried that it will become more like Paris — and not in a good way. The city of love must deal with bridges that have become loaded down with thousands of locks — 700,000 by some estimates — all in the name of love.

“Our eyes are on this one,” Lisa Anselmo, co-founder of the “No Love Locks” campaign in Paris, told Yahoo Travel. “It’s spreading all over the world,” she added, noting that the locks have cropped up on bridges in Sydney, Prague, and London. And now, New York.


Love locks in Paris. (Photo: ©No Love Locks)


Love locks on a bridge in Oberhausen, Germany. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

“We applaud the (New York City) mayor for taking this stance for preserving the history of the city,” the New York City and Paris resident said, adding that she would like to see a love locks ban on the bridge — and anywhere else tourists might think to attach these keepsakes.

“Today the Brooklyn Bridge, tomorrow the Empire State Building,” she said, noting that locks have even popped up on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

No word on where those keys are tossed.

Claudine Zap is a writer for Yahoo. She got her start at the company tracking web trends. Since then, highlights have included blogging the royal wedding of Kate and William, covering the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and reporting on any and all red carpet events. With family in New York City but settled in San Francisco, Claudine considers herself happily bi-coastal.

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