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Listen, I like trees and grass and all that stuff just fine but I am a city person through and through. I get cooped up very easily and I like to be able to walk out my door and immediately get smacked in the face with red-hot cityness. Walking on rocky, uneven terrain weirds me out (as it should everyone I think, but apparently some of you weirdos are into feeling like the earth is crumbling beneath you as long as you get the payoff of standing on top of a hill, to which I say “pffff”) so I’m mega into a nicely-paved sidewalk. But I still appreciate nature and find myself wondering at its vastness often, like some kinda way dumber but with nicer shoes and hair version of Walt Whitman, and sometimes I need to take a break from getting jostled around all the time and rolling my eyes at people and their stupid clothes that I hate. Enough of the tiny attempts at man buns, dudes! Your hair is not long enough and you look like a weird alien with a teeny-weeny antenna! Just own your short hair! Anyway, when that time comes, I set out for the extreme ends of the city and take walks along the river. The Hudson River has been a constant player in my life from my wayward (not really) youth in Northeast Jersey to my adult life living in various western bits of Manhattan. Whenever I’m in Brooklyn (which is getting more and more frequent lately–do you guys know Brooklyn? Maybe it’s just me but I think that place might catch on!) I hang out by the East River because it is equally rad. I guess if there’s one thing you can say about Ol’ Alex, it’s that “the man loves a good riv’!” Thank you, I do. What’s up, by the way?

When I lived in the West Village I made it a point to hang out on Hudson a couple times a week as a response to the psychic horror show that is millennial American college-going. Those little pier/park things they build on the sides of rivers are such a great allocation of the city’s resources and I love them dearly but I guess I can’t wish that there were more of them because hey, there are only so many rivers in the world and if we were to start making more rivers that would be weird and probably unnecessary? I don’t know, I’m not an expert. No matter what, these things are never overly crowded, unlike all these other more proximally located parks that are awesomely desolate (prime skulking terrain) in the off season and then annoyingly full of these bozo-shows snappin’ and grammin’ once the weather gets nice. Again I say “pffff.” While you’re all taking the googolth photo of the WSP arch (which is really magnificent don’t get me wrong but also be quiet!) I’ll be strollin’ in the breeze along a pseudo-boardwalk unfettered by phone-tographers taking in the immense beauty of some real-deal juxtaposition between urbanity and nature.

The Hudson is wide open, man, like some other types of bodies of water. I guess they are called “seas”? But rather than face that existential nightmare that looking out at an endless ocean with no horizon line, you’re treated to a wonderfully finite vastness because you always have a clear view of a city skyline. An…Urban Skyline. Ha ha ha. Wonderful joke, Alex. Thank you, Alex! What’s up, by the way? It’s kinda crazy (if you think about it, just like everything in the world because everything is always weird but sometimes fun) to see the massive sky and water and then this big bunch of buildings and concrete and metal hanging out in the same shot, and more than anything to me this type of view serves as a reminder that nature is an unstoppable force. Like, there’s a reason we call things “forces of nature”. You can chop down trees and pave over dirt but what are you gonna do to a river, you idiot? Throw garbage in it? I mean, yeah, you  probably could…oh no yeah, you totally do that actually. Like all the time. But no matter how much filth and plastic and bodies line the river floors it remains persistent in its wetness. You can’t stop a river, man!

It *is* important to get in touch with nature from time to time, I guess. I was wrong a couple hundred words ago. I love the convenience of going from a big-ass urban environment to a tiny ocean in the span of one block, and I REALLY love the hyper-awareness of everything ever that you get from looking out at the overload of both a city larger than several countries and a bottomless mass of water and a giant blue light refraction of a star that’s visible during the day. New York is so much fun and so huge! And so is everything else! And maybe everything’s neatly connected or maybe it’s violent absurd chaos but either way, one thing remains–I am skulking alongside a river and partying so hard.

By Alex Mercuri
Photo taken by Jason Tompa

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