Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Real NYC

So, this whole time I thought I was living in New York City. Uhh, yeah, I was wrong.

When most Downtowners joke about not ever needing to go above 14th street, I joke about never needing to go above Canal. For those of you who are familiar with New York, you understand how almost absurd that statement is.

I walk to work at a leisurely pace, bopping along to my ipod with my iced coffee in hand. I gaze at the pretty buildings and the cobblestone streets. I watch the nannies walking their employers in their Maclaren strollers and see the deliverymen making deliveries to the fancy restaurants on Hudson. It's such a peaceful start to my day.

But today I ventured to Midtown for work for the first time in awhile since we moved here. I got off the subway at 42nd & 5th and was immediately jolted into picking up my pace. People were on a mission in every direction. It was lunchtime, and I wanted to fill my belly before I went to my meeting. I ducked into the first soup/sandwich/salad cafe I saw. I grabbed my greens and gave it to the guy behind the counter. As I hemmed and hawed over what items I wanted in my salad, he quickly and loudly clacked his tongs against the counter to not-so-passive-aggressively tell me that I was taking too long to choose. When he was done mixing everything, he literally threw the salad at me to send me on my way. Paying for it was just as harried. I couldn't put my change in my wallet fast enough before the people behind me were on my ass. I shuffled over to the seating area to find a table but there were no vacant seats - just a sea of suits and business-folk. I was sweating and hungry and felt like there was a really strong possibility that I was on a candid camera show. I finally jockeyed for a seat and scarfed my salad down in 7.3 minutes flat.

When it was time for me leave, I stalled for an hour because I didn't want to go outside during rush hour. But in New York it's not actually rush "hour". It's rush "few hours". But I knew I had to suck it up and do it. I walked out of the building and into the throngs of people on the sidewalk like I was a car merging onto a crowded highway where all the cars are going 100 miles per hour. I walked swiftly and with a purpose, just like everyone else. I made it back to the subway and finally returned to what I will now refer to my neighborhood as - the suburbs.

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