While venturing beyond my own Jersey City neighborhood for only the second time in 2021, I stopped at an overpass above an abandoned rail corridor, the Bergen Arches. Several local organizations are advocating for this space — unused since 1957 — to be reactivated as part of the East Coast Greenway. This would connect Jersey City with surrounding municipalities and provide both a recreational pathway and park to residents. It would be transformative.
Policy proposals and infrastructure investments aside, I was momentarily transfixed by the railway for a very different reason: it hinted at travel, exploration, and adventure — experiences denied to anyone behaving mindfully and responsibly since the pandemic began. Although overgrown and neglected, the rails still cut a path to a larger world impossible to discover at the moment.
Until the pandemic subsides, the Bergen Arches and other such sights will have to satisfy any longings for escape. I just need to keep my eyes and imagination open.
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The arrival of spring brings with it a cautious sense of renewal this year. With the increasing availability of the coronavirus vaccine and a presidential administration valuing public health, science, honesty, and compassion, one might begin to imagine our lives transforming into something recognizable.
Paris stands as one of the most explored and romanticized cites in arts and letters. Anyone loving painting, literature, film, history, fashion, or food yearns to make a pilgrimage to the city once in their lives. At a time when leisure travel is impossible, Lupin allows viewers to visit the City of Light in the company of a master thief, or, as the protagonist styles himself, a gentleman burglar.
Although I’m deeply immersed in my biography on horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and his years in New York City, I’m finding time for smaller writing projects this winter. My desk is my favorite place at home.
Much like many people penned up in their homes and attempting to behave responsibly during the pandemic, I’ve been streaming an inordinate amount of television shows and films over the past year. Such programs provide me with more than entertainment and distraction: they allow me to travel to places and enjoy experiences impossible at the moment. Simply put, stories on the screen grant me an escape.