On our last Saturday walk we aimed for a ridge that stretches along the northwestern side of Manhattan like a spine. It features Inwood Park at its northern tip, then the Cloisters and finally a section of the Upper West Side we had never really explored.

A gigantic cathedral greeted us at the top of a flight of stairs through a narrow park. The Cathedral of St John the Divine, isn’t. It is huge, though, and fenced by a barbed wire perimeter, the tall stone walls begging for a cleanup and garbage accumulating in the vacant space all around. Within its enormous bowels, Chinese dragons are lit by a complex grid of high-strung spotlight rails, giving the nave a museum look. We walked out.

Then we briefly explored the nearby university campus. It’s fascinating to think about all the money swirling around on a campus of this prestige, long ethereal tentacles spreading far out of the parents’ pockets to sustain the climb to power of the ivy prodigies. I felt poor. We walked out.