It’s been a week since I moved to —Harlem to be specific—fulfilling a dream from high school days spent gushing about Columbia…and the Core and the City being the campus and all that dazzling brochure poetry.
While leaving home and living independently again brings forth all sorts of mental changes (i.e. more freedom, more money anxiety, more bandwidth to do my own things like writing this blog…these are stories for another time), the other huge change revolves around —a.k.a. I can see why readers respond so strongly to stories about transportation all across the Curbed network. It really is the crux of urbanity.
Cutting down on transit time is certainly one major reason for this move. Commuting daily from Central Jersey to my office in midtown Manhattan took about 1.5 hours door-to-door each way (that includes a short drive to the train station, an NJ transit train, and walking from Penn Station to the Bryant Park area.) Since Monday, I’ve been taking the express D train from Harlem to Bryant Park to get to work, a trip that can be made in under 30 minutes door to door. That’s a drastic change. And one that I expected and am grateful for.
What I didn’t quite anticipate was how, as the week carried on, so many of my strongest feelings would be in response to the subway.
On day one, I simultaneously relished in the brisk morning commute while thinking as someone preached vigorously about “greeting strangers on the train” and “caring for one another” for the entire duration of my ride. I appreciated the message, but there really is such a thing as too early.
Throughout the week, I got serious natural highs from getting down to the platform just as my train was approaching as well. But other times, typically at night, I got drained so fast from waiting 10 minutes or more for a train that when I got home I would be slumping and languid, feeling beat down by an invisible force.
By day three, I realized one of my favorite things about city life is errands—sounds boring and maybe odd—but people who like checking off to-do lists may understand…
The city is . Lots of places to be. Things to do. Ways to get there. I will not take for granted the ability to walk 20 blocks, weave in and out of all kinds of stores, and inevitably find a train to take me all the way home.
To pay for this kind of access (aside from the $116 unlimited monthly pass), I guess I can handle some long waits, erratic service, and colorful characters.