I did indeed visit Little Island with my cousin yesterday. I loved it's layout and design, loved the warm color of the wood used for its amphitheater, loved the sparkle of the river showing off its diamonds under a clear blue sky, loved that you can get everywhere, even to the highest lookout points, without climbing a single stair. Instead, you can meander along perfectly graded upward paths, which curve through beautiful plantings of trees and flowers and grasses, the entire setting wonderfully designed to accommodate the mobility challenged, people like me whose structural impairments make stairs difficult, painful, slow, sometimes just not doable.
Most times, when faced with flights of stairs (assuming they are optional, because sometimes they are not), I’ll say to my companions, you go on ahead, I'll catch you on the way back down. I don’t want to hamper or hold them back. Yesterday, I didn't have to worry about that. I got to explore every corner of the park built on top of weird tulip-shaped silver pylons standing in the Hudson River. The curving paths upward beckoned me on, with gratitude for the makers who understood that people like me would want to take in the view from the highest points, too.
That's me at the top of the southwest lookout with my cousin in blue. In my youth, I did ballet. Though chubby even back then, I was so flexible, my third and fifth position feet impeccably placed, my splits pure, my kicks higher than anyone else's when doing the Can-Can. I remember sprinting up stairs in my twenties, taking them two at a time, trusting my body to do my bidding without a thought. When did that change? It came on by degrees, my two legs different lengths since birth, the left hip slowly crumbling, both knees progressively shredded by falls through the years, so that now I walk as if broken, because that is the truth of it, parts of me are broken, but I can still climb to the top of Little Island along a beautifully engineered upward slope. It's crazy how happy it made me to be exploring that park with my cousin, navigating to every corner, included.