The Geography of Nowhere

Ian Frazier writes about Route 3 in the new issue of the New Yorker:

On long walks through suburbs whose names I sometimes can’t keep straight — Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Brookside, Nutley, Passaic, Garfield, Lodi, Hasbrouck Heights, Hackensack, Teaneck, Leonia — I’ve encountered the New Jersey miscellany up close. Giant oil tanks cluster below expensive houses surrounded by hedges not far from abandoned factories with high brick smokestacks; a Spanish-speaking store that sells live chickens is near a Polish night club off a teeming eight-lane highway; a Greek church on a festival day roasts goats in fifty-five-gallon drums in its parking lot down the road from tall white Presbyterian churches that were built when everything around was countryside. Neighborhoods go from fancy to industrial to shabby without apparent reason, and you can’t predict what the next corner will be.

Funny thing is, I had the same sensation of unpredictability when I was wandering Paris in October 2002.

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