Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

How AOC turns a weekend hike into a powerful message

Ndubisi Okoye / For The Times

On the first weekend in May, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went backpacking. According to an Instagram story posted from the trail, the Democratic congresswoman took up hiking in January, soon after the attack on the Capitol, during which her office was targeted by rioters forcing her to hide in the bathroom — an experience she later described as “trauma.”

“Last weekend, a lot of you asked … how I take time off, how I care for myself, which I appreciate the question,” she says in the video, speaking to the camera with blue sky behind her and a pack on her back. Then she turns the phone to show the larger scene: a large, flat-rock outcropping with the landscape falling away behind. “This is one way, we started backpacking right here in New York.”