Thoughts on New York City

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Posted by Four Degreez at 10:33pm Nov 26 '05
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Overall - average rating: 4.33 (rated 12 times)
I live not far from the city, and yet I hardly ever go. I tend to prefer my NYC in skyline form. But a week ago circumstances had me right smack in mid-town Manhattan, every day. I was there for some training mumbo-jumbo for work, which took place up on the 18th floor of the CBS building.

I didn't want to go. I'm not much of a city person, to be honest, and the commute is hell. There is no "good" way to get into Manhattan during rush hour. And the training itself, wouldn't that be tedious and unpleasant?

Well to look on the bright side of it, I do think it's good to get out of one's comfort zone every once in awhile. It shakes you out of your routine and gives you new perspectives. You sort of need that every now and then, I think.

My experience on the bus wasn't pleasant. On the way home some weird guy demanded to be let off in the middle of the highway--while we were in the center lane. The driver let him off without pulling over--and I spent the remainder of the trip wondering if he planted a bomb or if he was just crazy. Then the bus drives merrily past my stop--oops, I was on the wrong bus. So I make like the crazy guy, ask to be let off, and walk back to my car. I took the train the rest of the days.

The train goes from my town to Hoboken--a decent ride. I used to take the train when I went to school there. At Hoboken, I hop on a PATH train that runs under the Hudson. It's last stop is 33rd St., and I walk the 20 blocks to the CBS building.

The trains are revealing about the character of the city--maybe of all cities. Few people know each other. You're surrounded by people presumably heading off to work, each with a sour look on their face, each wishing they were somewhere else. Everyone is avoiding making eye contact. They look lonely. In the morning, they look "early morning" tired, some jolted awake by running to make the train. In the evening, they look "I just want to get home" tired.

The skyline doesn't do the city justice. You have to actually walk through those concrete canyons to get a real sense of the place. Everything is so large, you feel small in comparison. And each huge building stands as a testament to mankind's accomplishments--hundreds of towers of babels standing side by side. The shear enormity of all the non-natural hugeness around you is difficult to take in. Looking out at the city from the windows of one of the skyscrapers is something I'd recommend. As far as you can see are other buildings, roughly equal in size, each with countless windows of their own. And you start to imagine what might be going on behind those windows--people toiling at their desks, board meetings, CEO phone calls. Maybe some guy in one of those windows is perfecting The Next Big Thing. And then you realize that you're just one of countless others, all doing their thing in the city, and again you feel very small.

I'm not cut out for the city. I don't really understand people who are drawn to it. They talk about the activity always going on in "the city that never sleeps." I guess give me peace and quiet then! I think in the future I will only get farther from the big city lifestyle.

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