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The View From Weehawken
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In her journal, S.J. Rozan writes often, with beautiful restraint, about gazing out over the water from Manhattan. Reading the entries reminds me of how I used to look in the opposite direction, from New Jersey.

For a few months, while I was going to school, I lived in Weehawken, on Boulevard East, down in the cut where the highway begins its descent toward the Lincoln Tunnel. If you walked up the Boulevard, out of the exhaust fumes, to the top of the hill, you could make your way onto a street that ran behind, but far above, where my apartment sat. It would have been possible to reach the street by pulling yourself over the retaining wall and crawling up the steep earthen bank behind the apartment, but then you would have had to cross someone's backyard.

The houses up on the ridge had spacious backyards, not to mention swimming pools and tennis courts. From up there you could see the whole sweep of the Manhattan skyline, if you could afford it.

The street came to a dead end, a turnaround where the macadam dissolved into gravel. Beyond, a footpath led through weeds and trees. It's not the sort of thing you see in the city -- a path leading into the woods.

It didn't have far to go. A few steps and I emerged into a clearing, a flat rock half covered with moss and grass, edged by spindly saplings. The adventurous, or foolhardy, could have proceeded further, down to a bare rock outcropping, but the view from where I stood was startling enough for me.

I was at the end of a spur. Below, on one side, sunlight glared off the small, distant roofs of vehicles crowding silently toward the tunnel. On the other, across the water, rose the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

The scene must have been an illusion because I was in a forest clearing. Around me were only trees and space. The rock underfoot, reflecting the heat of the sun, created a pool of warm air, smelling of earth and dry grass. Insects darted and glistened in the sunlight. It was not a spot from which you should be able to see a great city.

I found maps and aerial photographs on the internet which seem to bear out my often unreliable memory of the place. The area is what is called King's Bluff.

I wonder if that untamed bit of land still survives?

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