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A Railway to Somewhere

(Photograph by author)

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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