Tuesday, October 21, 2008
the day to day
Well, like the missus mentioned, it's been one month since we moved to New York, and man it's easy to slip into routine and forget to pay attention to things while they’re happening. So it’s time to give some of those things their due. Like my route to work, for example.
Every morning, I come down the B staircase and say hello to whichever doorman is sitting bleary-eyed behind the desk.
It’s usually Christopher, a friendly 30-something Hispanic dude.
But it could be Pierre, the gap-toothed, bright-eyed islander type who smiles like the Prince of Zamunda.
Or it could be Zef, an intense, 50ish Eastern European dude who I imagine was a fireman back in Slovakia, for example, before he became the Alpha doorman at 53 Park Place. Zef stands with a wide-legged stance, and keeps several buttons undone on his shirt in case he needs to rip it off to wrestle a boar.
Or it could be Howie, the heavy-set, wall-eyed guy in his mid-fifties, who speaks in stage-whispers like he's just come out of a coma. I have a sneaking suspicion Howie is actually legally blind, but doesn't want anyone to know so he doesn't lose his job. Usually, Howie doesn't recognize either of us. When I remind him that we live in 2G, he gets all flustered and says that I'm hard to recognize without my "knapsack." Which, of course, I'll be wearing at the time.
To be perfectly honest, Zef and Christopher are the only ones who actually seem qualified for the job. I’m sure Zef has doled out some beat-downs in his day, and Chris has at least checked ID’s at a seedy nightclub somewhere.
I think Pierre would get his ass kicked by a cough, and Howie would surrender his wallet to a coat rack. It's a triple bolt night when either of them are on duty.
Next I walk east on Park Place to Broadway, passing an outdoor fruit stand, and a steaming bagel and coffee kiosk on my right. Then I cut through City Hall Park, where I run the gauntlet of surly, cigarette smoking squirrels who are pushy and fearless in their panhandling. “What’s this crap? Bread crust?" they hiss. "Cut him, Manny.”
If I make it to my subway station, there are three trains I can take. The 4, the 5, or the 6. The 6 gets me there in about 12-15 minutes. The 4 and 5 get me there in 6-8 minutes. On the train, I wear huge, air-traffic controller looking headphones, try not to make eye-contact, and sweat through the few short stops to Grand Central station.
When I get to the escalator at Grand Central, I’m always blown away by the respect people have for escalator etiquette here in New York: stand on the right, walk on the left.
But I’m equally blown away that people will actually line up to stand on the right side of the escalator, rather than walk up the left side, which moves like the autobahn. I mean, there will be a line of easily 30 people waiting to stand on the escalator. I find it so interesting that, in a city where time is money, people would rather pay than walk up a flight of stairs.
When I get out of Grand Central, I hang a left on Lexington, where I just have to fall into the flow of people pouring down the street. Trying to weave through people during rush hour is like riding a bicycle in a stampede. Just keeping up is fast enough.
By the time I get to my building I’m sweaty, red-faced, and half out of breath. I'll unzip my jacket, take off my ridiculous headphones, and fall in line for the right side of the escalator.
Posted by s. moe at 11:47 PM