I found myself in furthest Queens on Sunday, walking along the freeways and access roads that envelop JFK. Since the area surrounding the airport was originally a marshy wetland adjacent to the ocean, you can still find overgrown places (more than you’d imagine), and picturesque landscapes all offset by the roar of cars and buses on asphalt.
The roar of incoming airplanes, too, and the feel of invisible effluence descending on a poisonous, beautiful scene. We saw a kestrel and almost became tangled in razor wire. After the sun sets, the lights that guide the pilots to the ground form a glowing grid that looks like so many diodes on an illuminated brain.
After hours of walking into the night out in that netherworld, we arrived at the most improbable of places: a village with houses on stilts, across the highway from a strip mall and entirely quiet. It was some time before we began the long journey back home. Sprinting to buses to catch the next shuttle. Driving back on the roads we’d walked. Three trains and then the familiar.