There’s a greenway that runs along the Hudson River, from Battery Park at the southernmost end of Manhattan, to the George Washington Bridge roughly six miles north. This particular stretch, far west of Greenwich Village, I think of as my backyard.
I try to come down here every night after work because being on the river calms me down and puts everything into perspective. Maybe it’s because the play of light on the water provides a sense of spaciousness even as it creates optical illusions, turning three dimensional shapes like a ferry boat into two-dimensional scrims like the backdrop on a set
After 9/11 it was hard for me to walk along the river. I could only make it a little ways downtown before I would start to cry and have to sit down on the path and wait until I could collect myself. As the weeks and then months passed, I could make it a little further before breaking down, but I would always be arrested by the sight of these old pilings, poking up out of the water. They looked to me like sentinels, or ghosts. Fingers pointing up to the sky.
Now I walk along the river, and sometimes I don’t even think about that day, the bright blue heavens, and the bodies falling through it.