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Friday, September 23, 2016

Into the Dead End

There is a path to nowhere along the Bronx River. It is a place I investigate from time to time, keenly aware that I tread there only due to my male privilege.

A wide, well constructed walkway passes under an arch of the Gun Hill Road bridge. After passing through the arch, it becomes narrower. It is somewhat overgrown, but well worn. It runs along the base of the retaining wall supporting the street above, which follows the bend in the river. When it reaches Bronx Boulevard, the retaining wall for the street above creates a dead end. I have never understood the purpose of this engineered walkway.

This path is the sort of isolated place where intrepid men may choose to venture cautiously. Despite some confidence my physical size makes me a relatively unattractive mark, I still remain alert to my surroundings. In case somebody with bad intentions tried to block my way out, I am aware of the places where I could scale the wall or cross the river.

Women, on the other hand, know to avoid places like this for their own safety. Never unaware their sex makes them a target, there is too much risk they would not be able to defend themselves from a sexual assault in some secluded spot. Whatever mysteries are hidden in this urban landscape are not open for them to explore. It seems ironic that the most marginal spaces can also be the most segregated by male privilege.

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