Walking Cities

I walk. A lot, and often alone. It always surprises me how strange this is to others when I’m somewhere that isn’t a “walking city,” yet walking is sometimes one of the best ways to truly understand a city. The depths of its sadness, its heart, its secret joys.

In Kansas City, the concierge seems shocked that I’d take a twenty-minute walk rather than a car from the hotel to the taco place I’ve heard great things about. It’s dark out, but I do, and after three tacos and one cocktail, I walk back, full, content.

After dinner in LA with a friend during a business trip, I walk to my Airbnb, two miles and change, down Beverly Boulevard, down La Brea. I hand my leftovers to a homeless man, one of four people I see on the way, also all seemingly homeless.

The walk from the Borgata to the Atlantic City boardwalk is roughly one hour and fifteen minutes, and at ten on a Tuesday morning there is but a soul on the streets in between. I pass houses with loose shingles and slanted porches. A bus driver slows down beside me, his bus empty.

“You walkin’?” he asks, and I’m not sure why an answer to the question is necessary, but I smile and say, “Yup.”


“I like my morning walks! I’m from New York, it’s what I do.”

“Okay then,” he laughs, and drives off. 

Emmy Favilla is a New York–based writer and editor whose essays, reported pieces, and weird lists have been published or are forthcoming in Teen Vogue, BuzzFeed, Tenderly, Pigeon Pages, Ellipsis Zine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and other publications. She is also the author of a book about the intersection of language and technology called A World Without “Whom” (Bloomsbury, 2017).

See more of her work in 8.3