A few months ago I began to walk to-and-from my new gig.
I’m sure this must baffle people considering NYC has the greatest public transportation system in the world and related sister services like PATH, NJT, MetroNorth, LIRR and the ferries aren’t too bad for getting around with either. OK, so maybe the MTA and NJT aren’t among my most favorite organizations ever (not by a long shot!), but they more than serve their purpose in making transportation mostly easier in-out-an-around the city.
It’s not about circumventing my disdain for over-crowded subways since the sidewalks of Manhattan are often infinite masses of disambiguated humanity. Some people trudge along with such little conviction I mostly just want to push them in front of a taxi to put them out of their misery, while others are so unaware of the rest of the world around them that they probably should end up in front of the taxi of their own doing.
Dodging stupid on the streets of New York is a little bit of a mission of futility but it honestly is more relaxing than being packed like a sardine in a subway car or sitting in an endless line of traffic going nowhere. For about an hour while I walk I feel calmed and when I am done refreshed and I might even go so far to say healthier (that’s despite sucking in what has got to be some of the foulest air on the East Coast).
I love the walk because I can absorb the sights and sounds (yep, and smells) of Manhattan. The juxtaposition of old brick tenements wedged up next to glistening, glass skyscrapers and the trees, flowering still this time of year, separate the six land turbulence of the avenues from everything else. There’s the corner bodegas with the smell of stale coffee wafting over the endless buckets of roses and tulips and the Halal carts competing with the fresh fruit stands for nostril time. The rowdy Rangers fan, sulking Mets fan, the random person wearing a Red Bulls jersey and the endless stream of tourists defiling the sights by bringing their teams gear into this fanatical town (wait, I wear my Washington gear out sometimes, dammit!). It’s a nice reminder why I chose to call this home for now.
The whole affair is relaxing and keeps me sane when I would otherwise probably want to chastise everyone around me for their quirky flaws. The 9-12 miles I walk a week now might not really make up for weekend hiking the way I used to do it, but it’s good enough to provide that same outlet for mind-wandering. It is, after all, what inspired this post.