They say New York is the city of cities, too small to be a country, too large to be a town. The city of possibilities. The city of everything. The city of right angles and tough, damaged people. The city of wakeful dreaming, fortunate accidents, random meetings and sudden engagements. New York is the city of the 20th century.
I have to admit that I haven’t experienced much of this yet. But alas, this is the world according to Google and so NYC according to The Muse Hotel, Amazon, New York Safety and Survival Guide, Lyrics007, the Michigan Land Use Institute, all and all a motley crue (fine, it’s really crew, but I can’t help one 80s reference in this entry).
Of course, what I have experienced is that New York is the city of smokers, and more specifically walking smokers.
LTJ and I were recently discussing this phenomenon. No where have I seen more people walking and smoking than in NYC. They are everywhere at all times of day, but most annoyingly on the way into work.
My morning pace could be described as just one notch below running. I weave through the jammed sidewalks and subway stations like a race car driver on the edge, willing to do anything to reach the finish line first. People who think they are walking fast in the tunnel between Port Authority and Times Sq drop their jaw in disbelief when I breeze past them on the left quickly darting into the oncoming melee to slide back into my lane just in time to avoid a head on collison. No joke.
There is a fine art to the New York commute and most mornings I am on my game. There are only a few things that can gum up the works:
1) People parked in the fast lane: Yes, New York is full of tourists and none of them seem to realize that the left lane is the fast lane and if you are either slow or stopped you better get in the right OR ELSE. This rule applies to escalators, subway tunnels and sidewalks.
2) People with broken tail lights who pull the e-brake: Do not stop immediately after a turnstile, escalator, subway door, or subway platform. Not only is this extremely frustrating, it can also lead to serious accidents. Wake up people!
3) Inconsiderate riders who enter the train while people are still exiting: This is also very dangerous. In fact, one time the subway doors closed on me while I was trying to exit because people pushed me in while entering. I had to force the doors open to escape and it left black marks on me. NYC subway waits for no one!
4) Walking smokers: As I previously mentioned, I walk as fast as possible to work. One of the worst things is getting stuck behind a smoker. Not only am I breathing in lungfuls of air, they are full of smoke. I’m seriously starting to think that banning smoking from the streets wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Gosh, why do I always write about commuting? Anyone?