Park Under the Parkway

I’ve driven over the marshes of New Jersey since I was a little girl. My father and brothers would get excited about the planes landing right next to the highway! at Newark Liberty International, and we would tease my sister about “that Elizabeth smell!” that does not, it turns out, originate in the little city of Elizabeth at all. But more than that, one of my favorite things about driving through Jersey on my way to Grandma’s house in Maine was the section of the New Jersey Turnpike that hovers above the marshland of what I now know to call the Meadowlands.

And for the last several years, whenever my partner drives me up the Turnpike, say, to visit his uncle’s house, as we’d pass over the Meadowlands I’d always wonder, Can you walk down there?

It turns out, you most definitely can!

Though it was late in the day and we didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, and it seemed like it would be too cloudy to get good light, but I hustled him into the car and we headed up to DeKorte Park, nestled right in the crook of the Turnpike and the Bergen Line of the commuter rail.

For starters, the sky was actually quite spectacular in it’s late-day cloudiness.

While it was late in the year for flowers, and late in the day for birds, I think I saw a turtle at the start of the Marsh Discovery Trail, and we definitely saw some several Great Egret, lots of ducks that might have been Mergansers, some mallards, marsh wren, swallows and what looked like late-season tadpoles at the water’s edge.

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