New York City Dry Run

I’m taking a trip to New York City next weekend with someone whose time I value and wanted to do a dry run of the route to check that I’d allowed proper time to move from one leg of mass transit to another.  The plan was to drive to Secaucus, train to Penn Station, subway to Time Square then Grand Central, and then train to near Fordham University and then to eventually unwind this sequence doing things along the way.  Midway through the run as I had accumulated all the bits requires to made the circle I pulled out a wad of ticket stubs, metro cards, receipts, and entrance passes that formed a bolus of verification in my pocket such that one could probably calculate a reasonably accurate credit score from its contents.  God bless the breast pocket.

The MTA North out of Grand Central doesn’t seem like you’re moving from one place of a certain type to another of that type but more so that you’re escaping from something and going to a place marked on maps as “elsewhere”.  When I found out the train made different stops at different times and my stop was not one of them, I got off at 125th street in Harlem and found myself in a distinctly different place of such alien character to where I had just been that it would be like taking the R3 out of Suburban Station in Philadelphia and arriving in what appeared to be Prague 20 minutes later.  There was a man in a dilapiated suit with a bowler hat of a kind that always makes me think “that guy trains penguins”.  A statuesque Eastern bloc woman was arguing over the cost of a slice of pizza with what appeared in comparison to be a lilliputian Hispanic man and a very enthusiastic Borat-like bus driver was announcing stops.  I drank this in for a few minutes before taking a returning train into Grand Central and as the buildings rose in height I felt again in the shadow of civilization.

I was now back to a type of cultural smorgasbord to which I thought myself accustomed and trauma must have been written on my face as I received a wink from a pretty black woman that seemed to say “you’re safe”.  I nodded back and it wasn’t until she got up to leave at the next stop that I realized that she and the entire row of people on that side of the car were dwarfs.  I <3 NY