A Railway to Somewhere

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.

(Photograph by author)

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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A Dispatch from the Study

Quiet solitude is the natural environment for most writers. However, the grinding isolation and stress of the ongoing pandemic tests everyone’s psychological mettle. Then came the Capitol insurrection last month. The future remains, at best, unsettled. Most days, frightening.

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