The Acosta Bridge splits off of a six-lane ribbon of Interstate 95. It's a quick interchange-- six lanes down to three, there's a drop, an incline, and suddenly you're floating up over the river. A purplish line of light runs the length of the el train track to your left side, while the Jacksonville skyline cuts through the blacknes on your right. It's probably only about ten blocks at most worth of big-city skyline, like somebody cut-and-pasted a little chunk from Manhattan to the banks of the busy St. John's River. After the bridge is a little junction-- the kind with knots of concrete and lanes that go in every direction, one on top of the other. A place where it's clear that at some point in history, somebody had to step in and figure a complicated structure because too many cars wanted to be in that one spot. The slip that I take to get home is one-lane wide and the highest layer. Nothing above but black and stars. As it banks down to reconnect with ground-level traffic, it offers a sweeping view of Riverside Avenue stretching out before it. Half a mile of city road is visible- a bold, dark path through dim buildings.
Sometimes you get lucky, and I can't describe the feeling-- it's incomparable to any other I can think of-- when every light you can see along the empty night street as you roll down the dipping ramp