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:: Walking Albuquerque: 30 Tours of the Duke City's Historic Neighborhoods
Walking Albuquerque: 30 Tours of the Duke City's Historic Neighborhoods
Given its history and massive sprawl, we must admit that unlike Nancy Sinatra’s boots, Albuquerque was not made for walking. But it wasn’t always that way. From the time of its founding in 1706 to the arrival of the railroad in 1880, Albuquerque was, by lack of choice, a pedestrian town. Then from the establishment of “New Albuquerque” a new way of life would evolve. Trolly lines sprang up, soon to be replaced by private automobiles. Route 66 brought in more traffic than it could handle. By the latter half of the 20th century, Albuquerque found itself in the crosshairs of two major interstates. It had also become a hub of aviation with its air force base and international sunport. More aerial traffic would come in the form of an international balloon fiesta, which soon grew into the world’s largest. In short, the town is heavily dependent on mechanized transportation.
However, that doesn’t mean the art of walking has met its demise here. Far from it. A resurgence in plans and efforts to make it walkable again indicates that the city is on the verge of a pedestrian renaissance. In the meantime, navigating it by foot requires some local guidance and expertise. That’s where
by local author and explorer Stephen Ausherman comes in handy. With 30 routes mapped out in valley, the heights, and beyond, it’s the first guidebook of its kind to cover the entire city and surrounding areas, including tourist sites and famous filming locations, along with several hidden treasures most locals don’t even know about. Rich in history and obsessive in detail, the book is written to encourage readers to take the next step and make each walk an enjoyable little journey.
The art of walking involves a particular sense of relating to the cityscape, an ecological view that connects us to its natural and cultural environment. Walking is storytelling in motion, a narrative unfolding not in a chronological order, but rather a spacial sequence of layered events. The “spatial story” is a device that allows connections to be made between a specific place and the people who occupied it at various times. Whether exploring graffitied alleys between downtown highrises, strolling along irrigation ditches on urban farmland or promenading down the shaded sidewalks of a Victorian neighborhood, walking is a way of discovering a city and your place in it.
About Stephen Ausherman
Stephen Ausherman has worked as a public health assistant in Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, a teacher in Korea and China, and a journalist in India and the United States. He was a Writer-in-Residence at Buffalo National River in Arkansas, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, and Bernheim Forest in Kentucky. His books include
, an award-winning collection of travel stories, and
Fountains of Youth
, a novel. Born in China and raised in North Carolina, Ausherman took an unscheduled detour to Albuquerque in 1996. He has lived there ever since.
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