My train leaves in 40 minutes, and I estimate that I’m a mere six blocks up, four over from the station. Rain is threatening, but screw it — if I want to imagine myself a New Yorker, this trip should be cake. I set out, walking with the pedestrian signals to zig-zag my route, taking note of The Uncle’s tip to avoid crowded 34th street. As I weave my wheeled suitcase around slower-moving pedestrians, I think about the cable TV show I stumbled upon recently about how New York’s grid was laid across Manhattan, island topography be damned. This becomes especially relevant as I traverse (surprise!) a hill, walking ever more briskly as the minutes tick by.
On a narrower stretch of sidewalk, I get stuck behind a girl who is wearing what is apparently the New York uniform for fall: tight jeans tucked into riding-type tall boots, blazer, unnecessary scarf-like accessory, and an engaged cell phone. She is oblivious to the gaining sound of my rollerboard as I try to storm around her. When I finally pass, I wonder if I should mutter something about the likelihood of encountering a horse in the city.
Finally, my destination comes into view, with 10 minutes until my train leaves. I can make out the station just past a sea of tourists who bubble slowly over the intersection at Broadway. It’s a sweaty sprint to the finish; I make the train and escape New York via the rocket launch of the train tunnel that doesn’t come up for air until we are deep in Queens
the Bronx, well away from the island.
UPDATE, December 31, 2008: The Uncle informs me that the train emerges in Queens, not the Bronx as I previously reported.