The weather was perfect for a long walk — cool, a stiff breeze blowing fog up off the harbor. I decided to walk to Fairhaven via Coggeshall St., returning via our usual walk along U.S. 6. When you walk in the city, you usually see lots of people, but not today.
I walked north, roughly following the old railroad siding at first. On the other side of the railroad yard I could see that the parking lot for the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry had lots of cars. It felt empty on my side of the railroad yard. There were a few trucks parked outside the Wharf Tavern, but all the other parking lots were mostly empty. One man rode his bicycle past on the other side of the road; he looked like he might have been one of the Mayans who work in the fish processing plants.
Off one corner of the old mill building at the corner of N. Front St. and Kilburn St., someone has fenced in a small yard; you can barely see a couple of picnic tables through the stockade fencing, and some green weeds growing around the bottom of the fence. As I walked by (at about five o’clock on a Saturday), I heard what sounded like twenty or so women talking in that little yard, and I could smell the cigarette smoke.
I walked under Interstate 195, and turned right onto Coggeshall St. A man walked towards me, swinging his arms across his body as he walked. He looked down as he passed me. I dodged my way across the entrance ramps from Coggeshall to the interstate, and then over the bridge across the Acushnet River (that far up, you can’t really call it New Bedford Harbor). A dozen boys on bikes, all about ten years old, rode up the sidewalk and the side of the road on the the other side of the bridge. They stopped to look down in the choppy waters of the river.
Once in Fairhaven, I cut down Beach St., and under the interstate via River St. Down one street, I saw a boy riding around in circles on his bike, but aside from that I saw no one. I climbed over the stone wall around Riverside Cemetery. Through the trees I saw a man walking his dog; and a couple of people tending a grave, the hatchback of their car open as they took something out.
From Riverside Cemetery, I walked down Main St. The only person I saw was a man standing on his front porch with a power blower, blowing dust into the bushes. Cars whizzed by on the road, but I had the sidewalk to myself.
The swing span bridge on U.S. 6 started swinging open to allow a deep-sea clam boat to enter the inner harbor. There were two young men waiting on the other side of the opening, and on the north side of U.S. 6 from me. As the bridge swung counterclockwise back into position, the two young men jumped onto the bridge’s south sidewalk as it swung past them, walked briskly across, and jumped off where I was standing as the bridge eased back into position. They were obviously proud of their daring, and talked boisterously, and drew deeply on their cigarettes.
Four or five people were fishing on the wharf on the New Bedford side, next to the ice company, wearing warm jackets against the stiff breeze. One young woman sat in the car and talked to the young men, maybe in Spanish or Kriolu.
They were the last people I saw until I got home. Not many people think cool, windy, foggy weather is perfect weather to be outdoors in.