July 15th, 2007

abstract butterfly

A Stroll in New Jersey

Monday I attend a meeting in Newark, so today I travelled to New Jersey. I am staying at an airport Marriott, at which I arrived by mid-afternoon. I had reserved a rental car, but confirmed that I could dispense with one. When I arrived in my hotel room, I began to research places I could visit. It is relatively easy to go to New York City by rail from here, and I was sorely tempted by the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. I decided, though, to try one of the local nature parks.

I went to catch a taxi to Jersey City, where Liberty State Park is located. The fellows in front of the hotel quoted me one-way prices in excess of what I thought a round-trip should cost. I changed my plan, took the free shuttle back to the airport, and decided to take a train somewhere, anywhere.

I remembered something about a town called Rahway, so I ponied up the funds to take the NJ Rail to Rahway. The town proved to be a small suburban town with very high population density as opposed to Texas. It proved not to be the nature park adjacent place I recalled from the phone book, but instead to have a small arts center, sadly inexplicably not open during its announced hours.

I stopped and had cheese pizza by the slice at Michelino's, where 2 slices of pizza and a diet coke were the inexpensive sum of 4 dollars and 25 cents. I strolled downtown Rahway, which had lots of interesting stores, mostly closed.

I reckon, in life, that every place is a parkland if you just imagine it to be. I went strolling down sidewalks on Irving Boulevard, which turned into something like Whittier. I passed numerous pizzeria's, each with someone's first name followed by "pizzeria".
I passed tons of one and two story homes, each with a small yard, some with giant trees, and all surrounded by liberal sprinklings of sparrow and starling. I then passed by all sorts of businesses with names like "import/export" and "wholesale". Then I was in Linden, and all the businesses said "Polska Agencia", "Polish Deli", Polska mechanic, and, for contrast, "Soul Food". I walked through the John Russell Whittier city park, where young men in pads played tackle football--a blue team against a red team. I found myself at the Linden train station, from which I took the train back to the airport.

I like little jaunts into places which are the opposite of tourist-y. I liked the Dutch fellow on the rail terminal platform, holding forth to the locals about new high-speed trains where he lives. I like "no fat" vanilla yogurt from Carvel, served by a cute teen with a Polish accent. I like having that sense of being somewhere, anywhere, everywhere, and nowhere.