Venturing Outside My Small World

BRIDGE.jpg I was uptown yesterday for a New York Cares volunteer thing. All I had to do was sit and talk to people learning English, but it felt awkward because they don’t give you any training and I couldn’t tell how much was being understood. Maybe it helped.

I was extremely curious about the lives of the two women from Nicaragua I was with, but the other volunteer seemed impatient with my questions, and he was actually very prepared. He bought stories and vocabularies, and I didn’t want to get in the way of him actually helping them.

Anyway, I loved being in Washington Heights. It feels like the Manhattan of my youth up there. Not as pretty, but more alive and exciting, and more normal people on the streets (by normal, I mean not wealthy). And I’m sure there’s pretty areas. Washington Heights is way northern Manhattan, where I never go. Inwood is above that, almost in imaginary territory, and Marble Hill is the most northern spot in Manhattan, although I think it’s not really attached. I have to google it. I’m dying to explore these places now, except I know through researching my last book that there are a lot of unsolved murders in Inwood, so, there’s that. Not good.

(The picture is of the George Washington Bridge, which was near where I was volunteering. I started to walk over it, but I’m afraid of heights and I got a little nervous and there were other places to explore so … I bolted!)

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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