Thursday, September 27, 2007

Take the E Train.

The first thing you notice about New York is the weather. You step off the plane, and although technically in the Garden State, you just know that the heat will extend to the Man - Manhattan, that is. And then there are the skyscrapers - the hustle and bustle of people with places to go and things to do. With confident strides, they're determined in reaching their respective destinations, without time to stop and smell the roses (but oftentimes the coffee).

I feel the humidity in my shoes. As I'm walking down 2nd Ave. toward the subway at 51st and Lex, I'm aware of my feet. And I don't normally think about my feet. I feel this surge of mugginess, but I'm too enamored with the city to dwell on it for too long. One of my favorite things about SF are the Victorians - so rich in character and quirkiness. But New York, oh New York has the dignified, sleepy brownstones. I discovered this last night as I was wandering down one of the myriad numbered streets in the Upper East Side on my way to dinner. Holly Golightly lived in a brownstone. I think I may love brownstones more.

I'm waiting at the corner of 50th and 3rd Ave., momentarily halted by a red light, and a homeless man is yelling at me. I don't know what he is yelling, but I know they're a string of either expletives or obscenities. But based on the menacing look on his face, I'll have to go with expletives. I wonder what I've done to offend him. They say that headphones are transforming our society into isolated individuals and are cutting off non-virtual communication as we know it. But for what it's worth, today I'll have to argue with John Donne and say that every man is an island, at least to some degree, and be grateful for my headphones, as I'd really rather not know what this man is yelling at me about.

Now I'm standing, waiting to catch the E line towards World Trade Center. I'm running later to work than I had intended, in part due to jetlag and prematurely closing doors. I missed the first train, as the doors were sliding to a shut at the point of my arrival. But I don't mind. I suppose I could have made it had I continued to walk down the escalator, but I stopped a couple steps shy of the platform, as a couple was standing stationary in front of me. And so I stood as well. This is New York, and I was enjoying a New York moment. It's the mundane things that I relish, that make me feel like a New Yorker, even if just for a day.

The next train that arrives is the V. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the escalator couple board the train. The humidity is starting to creep in. I begin to notice the murky puddles and trash littering the subway bottom. I'm trying not to focus too much, for fear of a rat or cockroach sighting. Moving right along.

Another five minutes have passed and beads of sweat have formed on my forehead. Now I'm upset at the stationary couple, thinking: "This is New York! Who stands on an escalator during rush hour in NYC??" But the E train rolls in soon thereafter, and with the air conditioner on full blast, I find myself once again in a New York moment.

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