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.
Last week, I walked to the Village neighborhood in downtown Jersey City for the first time since the pandemic began in March. Although this slice of the city is only a twenty- or thirty-minute stroll from my home, I felt as if I was embarking upon a great quest or journey. During the past five plus months, I have left my immediate neighborhood no more than a half-dozen times. Since I don’t own a car, my few trips have been on foot.
Like many Americans, my daily life has centered around my home since the pandemic began this past spring. I miss seeing friends and family and sharing traditions and moments with them.
The pandemic has slowed life down for many of us, and that might be a welcome change. Rarely venturing beyond my own neighborhood provides me with more leisure time to spend with books, films, and shows. Continue reading →
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than three months ago, my physical life largely exists within the four walls of my home. I imagine that I’m living in a remote monastery or an arctic scientific outpost. That somewhat helps. Fortunately, my home has a small yard, allowing a safe space for fresh air and a connection with nature. Continue reading →