Locking in love on the Brooklyn Bridge

Newlyweds Matthew Latcham from England and Amanda Suarez were looking for a small symbol of their big day. A lock - and the Brooklyn Bridge - did the trick.

"The bridge itself is quite a good symbol for our love and clipping a heart shaped-lock to the bridge kind of just shows the strong bond, really," Latcham said.

Their lock isn't alone. Hundreds of padlocks crowd the bridge's fences and steel cables -- left by couples to symbolize the strength of their bonds.

Couples leave padlocks on the Brooklyn Bridge to symbolize their love
CBS News

Love locks started to appear in Europe more than a decade ago. Tens of thousands of locks now hang from bridges in Paris - and not everyone is a fan of "The City of Love" becoming "The City of Locks."

"I think it's stupid," said Jerome Boulaud, a Parisian. "Paris is a very beautiful city, but it's not necessary to put all this thing."

Sections of the famed Pont des Arts actually had to be replaced last summer, weakened if not by all the love, by all the locks. Tourists are now being asked to send "e-love locks" instead.

Newlyweds Matthew Latcham and Amanda Suarez left a heart-shaped lock
CBS News

Now that visitors have brought the tradition to New York City, officials are faced with a costly problem. In Europe, the locks were attached to foot bridges. In New York, that's not the case. The city's Department of Transportation says it has cut 5,600 locks from the Brooklyn Bridge since last summer, worried they could fall below onto vehicles.

"If it really is damaging the bridge, then I would want to preserve the bridge," said one woman, Kayla O'Dea. "I guess people should find another way to lock in their love."

But Latchum and Suarez are both content to have a piece of their love live on this bridge, and resigned that it won't last forever. Their lock. Not their love.

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the anchor of the Saturday edition of the "CBS Evening News" and a national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" and other CBS News broadcasts.