A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 250: One Route to Rule Them All

March 5th · No Comments

It still hurts to take a deep breath after the snowboarding injury I got a few weeks ago. Joo thinks I bruised or even broke a rib. No treatment is available but rest, so I resort to only exercise that doesn’t hurt. I walk to work.

I’ve experimented with different routes and today I walked down First Avenue, past the United Nations and its flags fluttering in the chilly March sun. Today’s journey also provided an answer to something I’ve wondered about: Whence all the worker bees that populate the Midtown office towers? Those are big buildings, and they ought to draw swarms of people at 8 a.m on a Wednesday.

I turned right at 42nd Street and found the answer at the easternmost entrance to the 42nd Street subway complex. Or “exit,” I should say. People poured out and filled the sidewalks in every direction, without pause. I took a deep breath (a painful one) and plunged in.

Heading solo down the stairs against several hundred climbing up requires a certain bravado. The commuters came at me by the hundreds in their black overcoats, inexhaustible, like orcs issuing from Mordor, only with bleached teeth.

Be not afraid, my precious.

I hugged the margin of the stairway and then descended another, an empty one, slotted between two escalators that carried upward a constant human cargo. I wound up on a platform labeled with the purple logo of the 7 line, which brings commuters all the way from Flushing in Queens. I was literally the only outgoing passenger.

The drones looked at me enviously, as if I were some Frodo Baggins, possessed of a ring that helped me disappear from Midtown on a weekday morning.

Tags: Sights & Scenes · The Rat Race · Urban Survival

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