Posts tagged nyc
Posts tagged nyc
What ‘concrete jungle?’
Enjoy some pics of a glorious Springtime in NYC - just try not to have an allergy attack while viewing:
Cause sometimes you just feel tired; feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to NOT give up
And NOT be a quitter
No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse…
I DID IT!!!! Today I ran in my first (uh, and most likely last) race: a 4-mile run in Central Park for the Lungevity foundation. You might be thinking, 4 miles? Really? Big deal, I can run that in my sleep.
WELL I CAN’T AND THAT’S A LOT FOR ME, OKAY?!?!
…also, you run in your sleep? That’s weird.
I’ve never been a huge fan of running; I can do a mile or two and then I throw in the towel. But it was important to me that I do this and cross it off my list, and the cause I was running for made it even more important. There’s something really symbolic about doing a run — a run that requires strong healthy lungs — for a lung cancer charity.
I woke up nervous and also exhausted (getting up at 6:30am on a Sunday is blasphemy!!!) and headed over to the park with Matt and my parents. I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of people, the energy and the good vibes. I no longer cared about how long it would take me to finish the race; I just wanted to do it. I was ready.
It definitely wasn’t easy, and around Mile 3 my body started rejecting the activity I was forcing it to endure, but I soldiered through. I walked when I needed to, and sped up when I felt motivated. I also didn’t vomit on the side of the road, so that’s good.
Uh, and whoever described the route for the race on the website as “fast and flat?” I don’t know what your definition of “flat” is, but this was not it.
I tracked the race and my running speed with a Nike app on my phone, so I was able to tell when I was nearing the finish line. I was definitely ready for it, and felt a huge sense of pride, accomplishment and euphoria when I finally saw it — and then crossed it.
Today was a beautiful, cloudless, sunny day in Manhattan, and it was the perfect backdrop for a great morning. And I know there were a few people that were ‘with’ me during the run today, and I hope I made them proud.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go ice my shins.
And I’m also ‘bout to get some frozen yogurt. I think I deserve it, no?
What is it about 2013?
Every other year before this, I was unadventurous, non-risk-taking, and continuously played it safe. I didn’t like to step outside of my comfort zone and I definitely, definitely didn’t like being challenged.
But something happened in 2013. Instead of just THINKING about my ‘bucket list,’ I actually started doing things on it.
And that, ladies and gents, is why I’m running in a 4-mile race at the end of this month.
Yes! Me! The girl who often blogged about the trials and tribulations of exercise, the girl who — since childhood — has never really been able to commit to any hobby or activity, and the girl who certainly does NOT like to run.
And yet, here we are. ”Run a 5K” made it onto my bucket list in 2013, AKA the Year of Challenging Myself, and one day I started doing an internet search for races in Manhattan. ’The Color Run?’ Running while people throw colored powdery substances all over you during the race? Sounds fun, and also messy. I also have sensitive skin and am allergic to everything, so the idea of possibly breaking out in a skin rash or hives made this sound unappealing.
Oh, what’s this? The “Run for Your Lives” race? Let’s see what this one entails:
Spend one of your last weekends of summer running for your life from our gruesome brain-hungry zombies! On top of zombies being after you, you and your fellow hopeful survivors must triumph over countless obstacles that you will face along the 5K obstacle course.
Oh HELL no.
Jesus, can’t I just find some nice, normal race — maybe even for a good cause? It’d be nice to be part of an event that had a personal meaning to me.
And that’s when I found it.
On April 28th, in Central Park - I’ll be running in the ‘Run As One’ event for the Lungevity foundation; an organization that funds the most promising research into the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer. Which, unfortunately, is the disease that has taken three of my family members away from us way too soon.
I can’t think of a better way to honor their legacy, while also challenging myself to do something I have never done.
Speaking of, I’ve worked pretty hard to prepare for this event and just my overall health initiative in general. I’m in the gym 4-5 nights a week and constantly pushing, pep-talking and motivating myself. Matt and I went for a run outside this weekend, and I experienced every possible physical feeling from euphoria, to nausea, to OHGODMAKEITSTOP to… OK, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.
My Grandfather (who I never got to meet), my Uncle Dan, and My Aunt Kathy all had a horrific disease that first affected their lungs; and I think about that every time my own lungs feel like they’re going to give out on me. I can’t quit. I have to do this for them. And, truthfully, I have to do it for me, too.
Only a few weeks to go… let the training commence!
My personal fundraising page: http://events.lungevity.org/site/TR?px=1753240&pg=personal&fr_id=3940&et=4vikfggRC-qRiIdQrFjlnw&s_tafId=22851
As a self-proclaimed book nerd; I’m always looking for new things to read.
While perusing GoodReads for the next novel, memoir or biography that I could order for my Kindle, I stumbled upon a book — well, it’s an essay, really — called ‘Here is New York’ by E.B White. Only 58 pages long, it was published in 1949 and it’s considered to be a famous “love letter” to New York City.
I was sold.
I read ‘Here is New York’ in about two days, and one thing that struck me right away is how so many things about my beloved city were once so drastically different, and yet so much has remained the same, 64 years later. The author describes the city in such beautiful and accurate detail (the good AND the bad), and often notes all the changes that have taken place since he had visited Manhattan as a child.
The essay got me thinking. What is it about NYC? The pride and hubris that comes with this city is larger and more powerful than any other place in the world. Although I had grown up in a town in Long Island that’s only about 40 minutes away from Manhattan, I didn’t come here often as a child. Field trips, sure. The occasional Broadway play or heading to see the tree at Rockefeller Center at Christmas? Yeah, I did all that. But I didn’t really get a taste for the Big Apple until I graduated college and started working here, playing here, and quite frankly; loving it here.
I immediately knew it was where I belonged. Unlike some, I loved the hustle and bustle, the chaos, and the fast-paced nature. I loved the lights, the sounds, and the tall buildings. I loved the culture, the different and unique kinds of people, and the liberal and accepting nature of the island. I loved often seeing and running into famous and notable people. And years later, those are all of the things I still love about this place.
I’ve worked in Manhattan for about nine years (with some small little breaks in there) and have lived here for almost four. I often find myself walking around and thinking to myself, I can’t believe I actually live here. It’s easily one of — if not THE most — famous cities in the world, and I get to reside in it. So many people dream of coming here; of making something of themselves here, or even just getting the chance to visit, just once. And it’s never lost on me that I am able to write down “New York, New York” as my address.
There’s a reason there are countless songs and television shows and movies either written about or taking place in NYC. I’m not hearing many songs written about Albuquerque, New Mexico or Omaha, Nebraska. No offense to those places.
The truth is, people write and sing about New York for a reason. It’s a remarkable place and something that I’m truly proud to be a part of. One of my absolute favorite parts of living here is the fact that you never need a plan. Just walk out your door, and go. Excitement and adventure will find you.
I know that New York isn’t for everyone, though, and that not everyone shares the same love and affection I have for this town. It isn’t perfect; it can be a tough and scary place, and I do understand why some people would NOT bode well here. Sometimes I get to see it through other people’s eyes when out-of-towners come to visit, and it’s not always the glamorous, luxurious place you see in movies. Sometimes, it stinks. Literally and figuratively.
Living in New York means being in a relationship with New York. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, and love and hate.
But in the essay ‘Here is New York,’ E.B White describes why New Yorkers put up with the things we do. I’ll let him explain:
Mass hysteria is a terrible force, yet New Yorkers seem always to escape it by some tiny margin: they sit in stalled subways without claustrophobia, they extricate themselves from panic situations by some lucky wisecrack, they meet confusion and congestion with patience and grit — a sort of perpetual muddling through. Every facility is inadequate — the hospitals and schools and playgrounds are overcrowded, the express highways are feverish, the unimproved highways and bridges are bottlenecks; there is not enough air and not enough light; and there is usually either too much heat or too little. But the city makes up for its hazards and its deficiencies by supplying its citizens with massive doses of a supplementary vitamin —- the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled.
This was written 64 years ago… and yet I couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you live in or around Manhattan, it’s essential that you partake in all the activities, history, culture, and unique experiences that this great city has to offer.
Go to the museums, famous landmarks, parks, and bridges. Take in a Broadway show or head to Lincoln Center for the Ballet. Go to a taping of the Daily Show or a concert at BB Kings.
Orrrrr, ya know, go to a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness, are served by blind waiters, and have no idea what you’re eating.
…Say what now??
I’m still not quite sure how the hell she found out about this place, but when my sister-in-law Nicki sent me the link to ‘Dans Le Noir’ I *literally* laughed out loud at my desk at work. After clicking the link I immediately stumbled upon this sentence:
“Dinner in the total darkness, guided and served by blind people, is a unique experience that changes our perception of the world by reversing points of view.”
You’re kidding, right? What do you mean ‘served by blind people?!’ Like, BLIND blind? Ray Charles blind? And you eat in a pitch black room?? What the hell is this place?!
Needless to say, I love an adventure.
Fast forward one week later, and Matt, my brother Mike, Nicki and I were sitting at the bar at Dans Le Noir (which, in French, translates to ‘In The Black’) being instructed by a blind host and a man from Barcelona about how our night was gonna go down. Waivers were signed, our personal belongings (especially anything that emitted light) were put in lockers, and we were told to select one of the four menus: White (Surprise), Red (“Land Animals,” AKA- meat), Blue (Seafood) or Green (Vegetarian).
Matt and Mike were brave and chose White, so I did too. Nicki hates seafood, so she went with Red to avoid getting anything from ‘Unda Da Sea.’ The nice Barcelonian (not a word) man instructed us that while we won’t know what we’re being served, this ain’t an episode of Fear Factor, and we wouldn’t be dining on Cow Eyeballs or Flamingo Testicles or anything like that. So, that was comforting.
He also explained how we all tend to ‘eat with our eyes,’ meaning we identify what our food is by seeing it, which then affects how we think it tastes. For example, I can SEE I’m eating salmon, so that’s why I know it TASTES like salmon. But, if I’m served salmon in TOTAL darkness and I can’t see it? There’s a good chance I don’t have a clue WHAT I’m eating. He told us that in the dark, people often think they’re even drinking red wine when it’s actually white, and vice versa. Sounds implausible, but don’t underestimate the power of vision.
That said, what’s the deal with the blind waiters then? Well, sure, it’s a way for the guests of the restaurant to get a feel for what it’s like to be in their situation, but even more important, it becomes an interesting role reversal where the blind server actually becomes YOUR guide. They know what it’s like to be blind; you don’t. They know their way around the restaurant; you don’t. They know how to eat, drink, walk, work and get around without the luxury of sight. You don’t.
Gives new meaning to “the blind leading the blind.”
Before heading to the dark dining room, we met our awesome and hilarious (and of course, blind) waiter Sam. Sam gave us the low-down of how we were going to find our way to our seats: you’d put your left hand on the left shoulder of the person in front of you, and make a ‘human train.’ (NOT to be confused with a Human Centipede, which Matt grossly made a joke about.)
So, we began to move. We made it through the big velvet curtain and BAM! If you want to know what it looked like in the restaurant, well, here you go:
I’m. Not. Kidding.
Until you experience something like this for yourself, you really can’t properly explain it. Once we all were individually shown to our seats, we had to rely on our four other human sense organs to figure out what the F was going on. We learned how to pour ourselves water from a pitcher (Folks, that ain’t easy. Let me tell ya.) and had to feel around for our utensils. Have you ever tried to use utensils when you can’t see a damn thing? OF COURSE YOU HAVEN’T. And it’s goddamn impossible!!!!
Once the first course arrived, we realized we had to dig in — no, literally, I mean with our hands — to feel around for what was on our plate. You’d also attempt to use your sense of smell to determine what you were about to shove in your mouth as well. And that’s when, quite frankly, shit got hilarious. Conversations at our table sounded like this:
“OK, I just ate something cold and round… what is this? Like a stuffed mushroom or something?”
“Yeah, I had that too. It’s definitely a stuffed mushroom.”
<Side note: we found out later that it was NOT a stuffed mushroom.>
“What is the meat? Is it chicken? It might be chicken. Oh wait, no, it might be steak. Is it steak?”
<It wasn’t either of those.>
“What’s the jiggly thing on the lower left part of the plate?”
“What jiggly thing? I don’t have a jiggly thing!”
“Guys, what’s the thing that’s like a mini thimble that you can stick your thumb in?!”
<Yes, that was me.>
“Hahahaha you stuck your thumb in something?!?!”
“I’m not gonna lie, Al — I stuck my thumb in it too.”
<Andddddddd that would be my brother.>
“ALI ARE YOU STILL THERE?”
“Yes, where the hell would I go?! I can’t see shit! I’ve just been concentrating on trying to refill my water glass.”
“Oh, crap, I definitely just spilled food on my shirt.”
“Okay I am totally eating spaghetti with my hands right now.”
“You just hit me in the head!”
“Are these meatballs?”
“Haaaaaa, Ali, I know you hate onions but I’m pretty sure that bread thingy had onions on it!”
“Do you guys have your eyes open or closed?”
For 60+ minutes, we laughed like little schoolgirls, chatted with the other people at our table, and ate three different plates of mystery food, including dessert. Sam also provided us with not only assistance but some comic relief as well — when Matt asked where he was at one point, Sam gave him a deadpan response: “I’m right here; what are you blind or somethin?”
I won’t divulge any details about the food we ate (they show you the menu after so you can identify everything) in case you ever decide to brave Dans Le Noir yourself. I have to say, it was SUCH an eye-opening (ha!) and cool experience and I totally recommend that you go if you can.
Prepare to be terrified at first, then to laugh your ass off, and then be completely disoriented when you finally get to emerge back into the light (not gonna lie; it feels like you’re staring directly into a Solar Eclipse).
But Sam was right when he said, “You’ll go out to eat at other restaurants in the future, and I promise, you won’t forget about Dans Le Noir.”
It’s true; it really was unforgettable.
…but it’ll be nice to be out to dinner and NOT have to eat rice with my hands.
Monday morning. President’s Day. I SHOULD have off from work, but I don’t.
I step outside my apartment building around 8:30am and immediately feel the biting, piercing cold. I cross over 1st Avenue and within seconds I hear a quiet yet commanding voice: “EXCUSE ME!!!!!!!!!!“
I look to my right and there she is — a very old woman, sitting in her wheelchair outside of the senior center across the street from my apartment. ”Can you give me a push?” I look around and yep, I’m the only one there. She is talking to me.
I walk over to this woman, who is tiny and wrinkly like a little shriveled up raisin, and am prepared to move her wheelchair slightly for her. Maybe the sun was in her eyes and she wanted to have her back to it. Maybe she wanted to face a different direction. I don’t know. As I place my hands on the wheelchair handles she asks me where I’m going. I tell her I’m headed to the subway.
“Perfect,” she says.
Whoa, wait. Perfect? Does this little old lady expect me to push her three avenues and three blocks to my subway stop? And then what happens? She’s getting on the 6 train with me?! Where exactly is she headed? I don’t want to commit to this. I immediately look at a man in a janitor-type uniform who is sweeping around the area for guidance. He shrugs.
“HELP, let’s go - I’m FREEZING!!!!!!!!” she screams at me.
IT IS WAY TOO EARLY FOR THIS SHIT.
It then immediately dawns on me that it’s totally strange this elderly woman is lounging outside on a freezing cold morning, unattended. Is she a resident of this senior center and plotting her escape? Am I her accomplice? Even worse, is she some kind of scam artist?
I pictured me innocently wheeling this woman around the Upper East Side and then getting put in ‘cuffs for ‘Attempting to Steal an Old Person.’ And I assure you, I do not want an old person. A puppy, maybe, but not an old person. And ESPECIALLY not this one; she seems cranky.
I know the man with the broom has observed my encounter with Granny, so I call him over and explain to him that I don’t feel comfortable taking this random old lady for a joy ride, and that I don’t feel comfortable just leaving her, either. She now changes her tune. ”I HAVE TO GO TO THE FOOT DOCTOR!” she demands. OK, enough of this.
I head towards the senior center and barge into the front door to find a woman sitting at the front desk, conversing with a man who appears to be an orderly of some sort. I begin to explain my situation.
“Hi, so there’s a woman outside in her wheelchair --“
“Yep, Francis.” The woman at the desk interrupts me.
“OK well she is asking me to take her somewhere in her wheelchair and I felt bad just leaving her —”
“Yes, I know. She does this every day. She actually can walk you know, she just doesn’t want to. She’s fine, don’t worry about her.”
(WELL I HAPPEN TO HAVE A GOOD CONSCIENCE SO SUE ME)
“Uh, okay. It’s also about 15 degrees out and she said she’s freezing, so…”
The woman turns to the orderly and says, “Bring her back in here, will ya?” He obliges and walks me out, giving me the back story on my friend Francis. ”She’s 100, you know. She refuses to walk but she can. She also always tries to get random people on the street to take her somewhere.”
Yes, I gathered that. So as Francis was getting wheeled back inside, I said goodbye to my new friends and continued to my walk to the train — all while thinking to myself, I hope I drop dead before getting to that point in my life.
And for added measure, I made it to my subway stop (still frazzled from earlier events) to find a ton of signs everywhere: ”NO LOCAL DOWNTOWN TRAINS TODAY. PLEASE WALK TO 59th STREET.” (Which is another 10 blocks away).
So I took a cab, and entered a desolate, deserted work building — because every other company is off today.
So that was my morning………………….. how was yours?
As you may know, the Northeast got pummeled with a blizzard yesterday/early this morning. This snowstorm, warned by our local newscasters to be of epic proportions, was named after a fish from a kid’s movie:
This is the opposite of intimidating.
While those unlucky suburb dwellers had the unfortunate task of waking up to shovel and snow-blow this morning, us lazy city folk (as usual) didn’t have to do a damn thing.
So, what does one do after a blizzard in Manhattan? They go to Central Park.
Central Park; a glorious place that is the heart of New York City, and yet doesn’t feel like a part of it at all. A place with trees, grass, playgrounds, baseball fields, and something you’re not used to seeing in the concrete jungle: NATURE.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love the park, but I haven’t had the opportunity to visit the snow-covered version before today. And I won’t even try to describe its beauty in words: I’ll let you see for yourself.
I’m on the subway this morning. As usual, it’s crowded. I’m standing with my fellow commuters, shoulder to shoulder, and uncomfortably close.
I start to feel someone’s eyes on me, so I look up. A large black woman with a shaved head is staring at me. Hard.
I look down. Did I step on this woman’s foot when I got on the train and not realize it? Is she now ice grilling me because she is plotting her revenge? I briefly look up again. Yep, still staring. Now she’s talking to her friend about me.
This went on for a few minutes, and I just kept doing that thing where you avoid eye contact while simultaneously checking to see if the person is still looking at you.
Finally, I hear the subway speaker announcement: “This is 23rd Street.”
Phew, that’s my stop! Let me get off this train before this one-sided staring contest with Baldy escalates. I go to exit the train and I feel someone touch my arm. It’s her.
I look at her face, and that’s when she says it.
“I LOVE your shoes.”
So, let me get this straight. This woman was basically looking at me and trying to get my attention for nine whole minutes, just to give me a compliment? NOT to kick my ass, as I had wrongly assumed??
I started to think back to those moments when a random stranger complimented me or just merely said something nice. I recently was in CVS and the cashier told me she really liked my necklace. A girl in the locker room at New York Sports Club complimented the royal blue blazer I was wearing.
Moral of the story? I wear REALLY cute stuff.
Kidding! The point of this is, some of us (read: me) have a fear of communicating with strangers and saying nice things to people we don’t know. But a compliment goes a long way, and it makes people feel really good. When my friend on the train told me she loved my shoes this morning, I instantly smiled and thanked her. It was nice.
I’ll often see girls around the city whose outfits I love, whose hair I think is gorgeous, or whose shoes I, too, admire. But I NEVER say anything. I guess I feel like I’d come across as some creepy weirdo, but it’s not like that at all.
These ‘random acts of kindness’ can go beyond just giving compliments to strangers; it can be something simple like smiling at someone, helping a person out in some way, or just simply TALKING to people you don’t know. I admittedly can be the Queen of Anti-Socialism, and in public often just avoid and ignore EVERYONE.
I’m going to try and change my ways and become a bit more outgoing, kind, and complimentary to those around me that I’ve never met. And moving forward, I won’t assume that someone looking at me on the 6 train wants to murder me… and instead, might just want to say something nice.
I’ve written about the subway a couple of times. I don’t sugarcoat how I feel about it; I think it’s one of the worst places and experiences on the planet. Riding the subway for many years now has me accustomed to armpits in my face, cranky and/or irate passengers, overcrowding and awful smells. It is what it is.
Not many people know this, but one of my biggest NYC-related fears (aside from pigeons) is the fear of being pushed onto the subway tracks. I remember seeing a Dateline type show when I was in college, and a young girl was violently thrown onto the tracks and killed by an oncoming train. Turns out it was just a crazy person who was off his meds and just like that; he pushed her and she died. Done. She never saw it coming.
If I can pat myself on the back for a minute, I’ll say one thing I am the opposite of is oblivious. I am VERY aware of my surroundings and I am suspicious of everyone (probbbbbbably because I think everyone is going to murder me). I observe, I watch, and I’m on alert. The other night I was waiting for the 6 train and a weird guy was approaching where I was standing. He had a bizarre look on his face, and just looked “off” to me.
My first reaction was that this could be the kind of guy who pushes someone onto the train tracks. So I watched him like a hawk, I firmly planted my feet on the ground and got in a stance that would make it hard for a person to toss me anywhere. I clenched my fists, took the headphones out of one of my ears (can’t be distracted by music if something’s about to go down), and I get ready.
…And then he continues to walk by. And the train arrives. And nothing happens. At least you can’t say I wasn’t prepared.
The sad thing is, I do this about once a week.
Just today, though, my biggest fear was realized. It was all over the news this morning that two men got into an altercation on a subway platform here in Manhattan yesterday, and it escalated to a point where one of the man threw the other down onto the tracks. A train arrived a minute or two later, striking and killing him. So, yeah. People do this.
It’s not the man’s fault that he was pushed, but if I had any advice for my fellow New Yorkers, it would be to TRUST NO ONE. Just assume that everyone in this city wants you dead. Don’t look at anyone funny, don’t say anything to anyone, and don’t participate in any arguments. There are a bunch of lunatics gallivanting around The Big Apple, and it’s our job to just stay out of their way.
It was only one day before this incident that I was reading about ANOTHER subway brawl that occurred (ON MY SUBWAY LINE!); involving two women who got into a spat. One of the women in her dramatic fit of rage was trying to stab the other with a Bic pen.
Guys, be careful out there. We’re all cranky on the late and crowded trains, but I don’t think it’s worth catching a ballpoint pen to the jugular for.
And if the person coming towards you on the subway platform looks suspicious, get into a good self-defense stance like I do every day.
This cover is really tactless, New York Post, even for you.
For your reference:
The lady that went ballistic and tried to stab a woman with a writing instrument:
The Dateline story I saw in college that triggered my fear:
The good news: my apartment/building has power, there is no significant damage to the Upper East Side, and Matt and I are safe.
The bad news: downtown Manhattan is a war zone, subway and train service are suspended indefinitely, and tons of people in NY are without power, including my parents in Long Island. Other towns in Long Island near my childhood home are experiencing some tough times and destruction.
The worse news: my beloved town of Long Beach, NY is in trouble. They got slammed in the hurricane and there is an extensive amount of damage. I’ve been able to get a live stream of the local news and I can’t believe what I’m seeing there. It is unsafe, devastated and majorly flooded. My brother and sister in law live there, as well as many other friends and family. I grew up as a child spending summers in this town, I have lived in this town, and it holds a special place in my heart. I’m sad to see these disturbing images of the destruction, and the town itself and everyone in it are in my thoughts today.
I also heard that at least 30 people have lost their lives because of this storm; so please be cognizant of that when you post things on Facebook and Twitter about how this hurricane wasn’t really a “big deal.”
Everyone knows New Yorkers are resilient; we’ve been through a lot and always come out of things bigger, stronger and better.
Continue to stay safe, everyone — and please let me know if you need anything.
Some photos of the damage in Long Beach, NY, courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/LongBeachNyHurricaneInformation?fref=ts.
The beautiful Long Beach that I know.
I wanted to take the time to write you an adoring letter to express my gratitude, appreciation and utmost respect for your organization. I would have written this note earlier, but unfortunately I was stuck on one of your trains this evening. A commute on the 6 train that usually takes about 10 minutes, instead took one hour. But, hey! That’s life, right? Things happen!
I’ll start off by thanking you for not having the air conditioning on in the trains in the morning. You obviously noticed that it’s gotten quite chilly outside, and knew all of us straphangers would love to emerge onto a toasty warm, stifling, stuffy train car. Geez, you guys think of everything! I just have to remember to stop dressing for the Fall weather and instead wear some kind of tank top or perhaps even a bathing suit for my commute; especially since I’ve been sweating in your sauna-like conditions lately! And sure, does the lack of flowing air create a stagnant, smelly (who DOESN’T like the smell of fresh B.O in the morning?) and somewhat nauseating odor? Of course, but it’s a small price to pay for all that warmth.
Secondly, the entertainment that your train rides provide is certainly top notch! These musical acts, religious prophets, paranoid schizophrenics and beggars are such a joy while commuting to and from work! I often think to myself, “you know, I haven’t read the bible in a while” and then BOOM! I’m relieved and overjoyed to find that an individual has now entered my train car to speak — I’m sorry, did I say speak? I meant SHOUT — excerpts of the Old Testament. How fun is this!! Oftentimes I don’t even want to get off at my stop since I’m enjoying the show so much! I also enjoy the teenage boys who come into the train with their boom boxes, start doing flips and gymnastics in the tightly packed train car, and almost kick me square in the face in the process. Woohoo!
Sure, I’m a bit tired in the mornings at 8am when heading to work, and even more exhausted at night after putting 8+ hours in at the office and then another hour at the gym, but who doesn’t like to be jolted awake and distracted from their boring old books/iPods/naps for some good ol’ fashioned entertainment? I know I do!
Who said commuting isn’t fun?!
One of my favorite things about riding on the subways in Manhattan is the way the MTA brings the citizens of the city together. Literally. I really love how you guys purposely have the trains come infrequently and/or late to the station, forcing us commuters to stand in a packed-sardine-can-situation. What better way to get to know your neighbors than to have their armpits in your face, their genitals pressed up against your back, their morning breath seeping into your nostrils? It truly is a beautiful thing.
When I think about the cost of my unlimited monthly ticket; I often wonder why it isn’t MORE expensive! I can’t believe it’s only $104 a month to ride in this pleasurable, wonderful and exhilarating subway system! To me, $1250 a year is merely chump change for the chance to ride in Manhattan’s most coveted transportation method.
Lastly, your employees! Where did you find such kind, helpful, cheerful employees?! The level of care and compassion is unlike anything I’ve seen from any other organization. I particularly like their style of “tough love;” the idea that they want YOU to figure out your own way, and they don’t believe in hand-holding or going out of their way to assist. What a genius method of customer service! Like the time my boyfriend’s Metro card was eaten by the machine, and you told him there was nothing you could do about it! It really taught him a lesson in responsibility and taking charge!
In conclusion, THANK YOU, MTA. You really know how to brighten a girl’s day and make life a little more interesting. Whenever I catch myself getting aggravated, frustrated, or filled with utter rage at your late, hot, disgusting trains, I always remember that you’re doing it all in my best interest.
PS- love is certainly in the (hot, sticky, gross) air when riding on the MTA; just see this photographic proof of these two meth addicts PDA-ing up a storm! <3
Ooof, harsh title, huh? Maybe even a little conceited? Let me explain.
I’ve been on the planet for almost 30 years; wandering around, observing people and their everyday habits and routines. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see behaviors from my fellow species that are either rude, inconsiderate, selfish and/or lazy.
So, yep. This is why I’m better than them.
I Shower. Right now you’re probably thinking, “well, so does everyone else.” FALSE! I shower (with soap), wash my hair, wear deodorant, brush my teeth, and practice overall good hygiene on a daily basis. I wear clean clothing and keep a clean apartment, so none of my clothes or things smell weird. I wish I could say the same for my fellow commuters, Manhattanites, coworkers, cabbies and tourists, but that is not the case. People smell AWFUL. Not just during a heat wave (although it’s worse then) or at the gym (UGHHHHH) but just in general. I’ve become really good at holding my breath for long periods of time to avoid these smells, but it still amazes me how putrid people are.
I’m Prepared. Every single morning, I get to the subway at 68th Street and head for the turnstiles. My Metro card is already in my hand, because I knew the time was approaching to use it. I fished for it when I was heading down the stairs of the subway, and had it in-hand, ready for swiping. AH, but wait. There are 6 people standing IN FRONT of the turnstiles, blocking me from getting to them. Why? Because they’re rummaging through their purses, wallets, and pockets to find THEIR Metro card. Did it JUST occur to them when they arrived to the subway station that they might need to use this handy little plastic card to get in? Don’t they do this EVERY single day? Maybe…just maybe…would they consider getting it out beforehand so they aren’t blocking prepared folk like myself from getting on my train??
Same goes for people who do this with debit/credit cards, bonus cards at supermarkets and pharmacies, and even their keys. Just know, I’m standing behind you, item in hand, rolling my eyes.
I’m Aware of My Surroundings. Again, another morning routine for me is my daily visit to Starbucks, to get my caffeine fix. Almost every single time I go in there, someone has placed their coffee order, and stands directly in front of the milk/sugar station to wait for it. There is a designated waiting area, but no, they’ve decided this is where they’d like to stand. They are usually clueless and have no idea that they’re blocking people from preparing their coffee, taking straws and napkins, or throwing something out in the trash. It must be so nice to live your life so aloof and unaware of the chaos around you! People must now maneuver around these folks or yell “EXCUSE ME!” in their faces to wake them up from their demented reality where they are the sole person on the planet.
Matt and I were recently having lunch at a restaurant, and on our way out had to stop in the doorway because a mother decided that RIGHT outside the door, she was going to open up her kid’s stroller, and put the kid in it. This wasn’t an infant, or even a toddler… this was probably a five year old KID. The kid could walk, communicate, and use the bathroom on her own. But her mother insisted that at this particular location, she was going to block our only passageway out of the restaurant, to get her child seated and situated. It took minutes (anything over one minute is way too long) and she never had ANY idea — or cared — that she was in the way. She didn’t pull off to the side, or wait for people to pass. She just gave us a silent “F U” and carried on.
I never bump into people because I’m in la-la land or on my cell phone, I never block entrances, and I “pull over” if I’m walking and need to take a call or look through my enormous bag for something. So take THAT, lady!
I’m Polite. I say “please” and “thank you.” I hold doors for people. I’m nice to waiters, doormen, security guards and cleaning ladies. I say “sorry” if I accidentally step on your foot. I sneeze into my sleeve. When other people sneeze, I say “bless you.” I give up my subway seat for pregnant, elderly or handicapped people. I thank my cab drivers for not killing me, and I thank the person who keeps filling up my water glass at the sushi place. I don’t talk during movies. I say “excuse me” if I need to get by you. And guess what? A lot of people don’t. And they suck.
Okay, fineeeeeeeeeee… I’m not perfect, and I honestly don’t claim to be. But if you ever find yourself out in the world, look around and notice how downright thoughtless people can be. And, if you’re like me and you pride yourself on being the opposite, pat yourself on the back. Because you’re better than them.
You tell em, Stephanie Tanner.
As of 7:09pm yesterday, summer officially arrived. And it arrived with a VENGEANCE.
A heat wave has blasted New York City, and it’s currently a balmy 92 degrees (feels like 117°) at almost 8pm. Cute!!
Summer’s in NYC are the exact opposite of comfortable, and people might even describe them as gross, repulsive, vomit-inducing, etc. The city develops a luxurious aroma that smells like a combination of sweltering hot garbage, body odor, steaming dog excrement, and burnt bus fumes.
Subway platforms are akin to the fiery pits of hell: hot, steamy, and crowded.
It’s especially fun to make any sort of effort on your appearance in the morning; wearing makeup and blow-drying your hair, only to find that after ten minutes outside your face is shiny and sweaty and your hair feels like a heavy down comforter on your head and must immediately be put up.
By the time you get to your desk at work, you look as if you just completed all 26.2 miles of the New York City marathon, all the ice has melted in your Starbucks iced coffee, and a heat-induced crankiness has taken over your entire being.
Don’t get me wrong; I actually love the summer. The beach is my sanctuary, I think the clothes are cuter, and let’s face it: everyone looks better with a tan. But our opinions on the summer change drastically as we get older, and we no longer have that “countdown until school’s over!” excitement (unless you’re a teacher…sigh), and we actually have to work and go about our bid-ness in the sweltering sun.
Summer used to mean chasing after ice cream trucks, manhunt with my neighbors at night, running through sprinklers, sleeping in late, and camp.
Now it means I have weekends filled with weddings and when I don’t, MAYBE I can get to the beach.
And when you DO have a great weekend filled with BBQs, good friends and fun in the sun, reality always rears its ugly head on Sunday afternoon. Party’s over, kiddies! Tomorrow you will return to the B.O and sadness.
I guess the popular 80s group ‘Bananarama’ was right; when you get a bit older… it’s a cruel, cruel summer.
Well, I suppose my good luck streak had to end. I had a nice week-long stint of easy commutes on the 6 train to and from work…until today.
Something happens in the city when it rains; trains are less reliable (it’s actually shocking they can be LESS reliable than they already are), people are more obnoxious (also shocking), and there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that your commute won’t be a nightmare.
I left work at 6pm, and was standing on the platform at 23rd Street shortly after. The train didn’t come for ten whole minutes, which in commuter time is about three hours.
Because the train took so long to come, the crowd on the platform started to grow at a rapid pace. People were wet from the rain, smelled extra funky, and looked increasingly agitated.
The train arrives, and now it’s a game of Human Tetris to try and fit all the people in their various shapes and sizes into the packed car. People are shoving, people are irate, and my anger level is reaching unhealthy decibels.
I’m now in a packed-to-the-max sweaty and stinky train car, and have lost count at the amount of eye rolls and sighs that I’ve produced. Some idiot tries to squeeze into the car even though he cannot possibly fit, but makes several attempts anyway. All the while the train doors begin to close and then jerk back open because he’s in the way, making that dreaded sound… BING-BONGGGGGG!
“Knock it off, asshole!” someone shouts.
I hate commuting.
The doors finally close, and I now feel something pressing into my back. I ignore it at first, but it continues; and the force becomes stronger. I turn around to find an ignorant tourist (how did I know she was a tourist? The huge camera and strap around her neck was a good indicator) behind me, so close that her body was beginning to push into mine. I shot her a nasty look. She didn’t notice. She continued to press into me. MY ANGER LEVEL IS THROUGH THE ROOF.
I slightly shove her. She slightly shoves me back. Am I going to get into a fight on the 6 train? I will if I have to. I hate this tourist.
I look down. The guy in the seat in front of me is mouthing the words to a song on his iPod. I hate him too.
Finally, my stop! The doors open at 68th Street and I realize I need to get through a crowd of 400 people. ”Excuse me…EXCUSE ME….EXCUSE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!“
I’m sweating, I’m frazzled, and I almost lose my oversized Michael Kor’s bag in the shuffle. I finally make it out alive. I feel like I’ve been in battle.
I walk out, straighten up my clothes, fix my hair, and breathe.
Let’s hope it’s better tomorrow.
After I graduated college in 2004, I landed an internship in a famous (uh, infamous) celebrity publicist’s PR firm. The minute I started commuting and “working” (for free) in Manhattan, I knew I wanted to live here.
It didn’t happen until 5 long years later, but it finally did. Every day I am thankful that I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and am so lucky that I get to walk outside my building and enjoy all it has to offer. Some of my favorite days are spent just walking around aimlessly, with no definitive plan, and just seeing where I end up. I am also absolutely in love with Central Park, and can’t believe it’s a mere 10 minutes from my apartment.
That being said…sometimes, New York City SUCKS.
Sure, it’s the place where I’ve been making some great memories, learning amazing things and discovering new places, but it’s also a place where I once saw a homeless man masturbating in front of me on the 7 train. It’s also the place where I once witnessed a man get hit by a speeding car, go completely airborne, and then land on the ground (he honestly could be dead; I’m really not sure). It’s ALSO the place where I once was leaving work on a Friday, happy as a clam, and saw a woman lying on the ground with her arm *literally* detached from her body because she was just hit BY A BUS (she’s DEFINITELY dead).
New York City is known as the “city that never sleeps” — and along with it, it’s also the city that never shuts the f#$% up. My daily NYC symphony consists of garbage trucks, sirens, and construction. Cab drivers lay on their car horns at any chance they get. I swear one night Matt and I were having a nice relaxing evening at home, and someone’s car alarm went off about 56 times in 2 hours. Oh, and there was also the period of time when a bat-shit crazy woman stood on our corner screaming bloody murder at about 7am a couple times a month. Matt actually saw her one day when he was leaving for work, and he said she was spitting at people.
Which brings me to my next beef with this city. Manhattan has no shortage of ‘crazies’ and they are literally everywhere. I find myself waiting for the subway, and this seemingly normal person standing next to me starts having an entire conversation with themselves. Walk onto the subway and you’ll find 8 more people in the car just like them; people talking to no one, people preaching about Jesus, people “performing” in some kind of way (I put this in quotes because there are actual subway performers who have talent, then there are some who sing and it sounds like a cat is being strangled). You can’t swing your purse in NYC without knocking over a few people who escaped from the looney bin.
Another problem: almost everywhere you go in Manhattan is crowded. I’m from Long Island, and I was used to running errands, shopping and going places without encountering mob-like crowds and lack of space. Here in the city, I can literally go food shopping at 3pm on a Wednesday and there will be 3,000 people in the Food Emporium. The subways are stuffed like sardine cans, and forget EVER getting a seat at Starbucks, at any time, ever. If you want to witness me having a nervous breakdown, take me to Macy’s on 34th Street. If you want me to DIE of cardiac arrest, force me to go to Times Square.
OH, AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE PIGEONS. The evil, terrifying creatures from hell.
New York can be a rough place, and I am writing this because I had one of those rough Manhattan days where it took too long to get a cab, obnoxious crowds near Penn Station pissed me off, and I felt defeated by the Big City. But then, the cab (that I eventually did get) pulls up to my apartment building and I get out of the car, look around at the people walking around and the pretty sights and lights, and realize, I’m happy this is my home.