Monday, August 29, 2011

New York, after the storm.

If you're able to, every once in a while you should walk to work.

I went to sleep last night thinking the New York City transit system would still be smarting from Hurricane Irene. So I decided that rather than deal with over-crowded city buses (the world's slowest form of transportation) I'd walk the just under four miles to my desk.

It turns out the trains were running this morning, but I was up early, had no pressing deadlines and the weather was nearly perfect, about 65-degrees and clear as a bell, so I decided to stick to my plan.

I don't know where I read it, but long ago I happened upon this quotation: "If you walk on concrete for too long you start to think like a predator." There's nothing but concrete for me to walk on, but I still felt rejuvenated by my walk.

New Yorkers, those who weren't on vacation on this the week before Labor Day, or weren't hiding under their covers from the storm that bypassed the city, were bleary-eyed this morning. As if we were blinded by the sun we had been some days without. So both auto and pedestrian traffic was light. Even midtown, even Times' Square was without the wall-to-wall tourists which so clog our sidewalks.

In the week just past, New York had survived both an earthquake and the remnants of a ferocious hurricane. Both signs, according to some, that god was telling us to repent or somehow reform our wicked ways, our pursuit of Mammon.

Some people see my city as a dark and foreboding place. I see it as hard-boiled hurly burly, fast-paced, frenetic and fun. Where you hear string quartets playing in Central Park or a black man saxophoning "Hava Nagila," in front of the Met. I see New York as a little slice of amity in a world filled with hate.

And a place where, if you're lucky, you can walk to work.


glasgowdick said...

Way to make me homesick.

I find myself missing the self-talkers, the fragrance of people who don't own soap and the random pools of sidewalk vomit.

Tore Claesson said...

Well, where I live, Maplewood, NJ, a leafy town half an hour from Manhattan, we were not so lucky. My home is badly damaged, as are many others, by flood water, by trees, etc. They estimate we will not have electricity, gas and water in a week, maybe more. I find it hard to enjoy the clear skies right now. Although they are certainly better than the day and night before.

peggy said...

it can also be very peaceful and quiet, especially during a storm, on film