NYC is all about commuting. When you meet someone for the first time they will often ask where you work, live and how the commute is. The transportation options are endless depending on where you are coming from and where you are going. Walk … drive … New Jersey Transit … Light Rail … Path … subway … bus … MetroNorth … Long Island Railroad … taxi … Uber. Most likely it is a mixture of these options.
I am different than most New Yorkers because I don’t commute to the same location every day. I spend several weeks at one place and then move on.
Since being in NYC, my longest commute was a little over 2 hours each way. I took the Path (NJ subway system) to the MetroNorth (train) and walked the remaining half a mile. It was brutal but only one week and anything is doable for just one week. Some people have similar commutes EVERY day!!!!
I am weird and almost enjoy riding the subway. I don’t like to drive so it automatically wins. I enjoy watching (more like staring) people. You will not see a more diverse group of people then on the L line. Browse through the peopleofpennstation on Instagram sometime and you will quickly understand.
The subway is far from glamorous. Most likely the seats are taken and you will have to stand while be jolted around. In the winter you get all bundled up for the cold weather and by the time you walk to the subway and climb the 5,192 stairs you are sweating to death. Summer is just as bad when people are sweating outside and then enter the smoldering tunnels just to be packed into the train like sardines. Trust me the feedlot smell in Southwest Kansas has nothing on the smell of the subway.
It is not uncommon for the train to come to a halt and be delayed due to “train traffic”. I sat on the train for 45 minutes last Friday due to problems on the tracks ahead. As you can imagine people get a little cranky in these circumstances. I haven’t even experienced the worst. Just on Monday my coworker walked in late and said, “What a commute. Someone got sick two people down from me. It went everywhere and everyone went running.” You can imagine the sanitary concerns I have.
During my most recent assignment I discovered a whole new way to commute. The best way to commute. I have been taking the ferry. I am moving up in life. I walk 8 minutes to the ferry. It takes 15 minutes to go down the Hudson River around the south side of Manhattan and up the East River to Wall Street. I then walk down the pier and into work. Total commute time of 20 minutes. The ferry leaves every 15 minutes like clockwork. It doesn’t stop in the middle of Hudson or East River due to “boat traffic”. If it is too stuffy you can crack the door or windows. If it is nice out you can sunbath on the roof deck while the wind blows in your hair (maybe a little melodramatic). Although it doesn’t make for great people watching, the patrons on the ferry tend to be a bit classier.
It wasn’t that long ago I thought ferries were only for getting cars across bodies of water. All this commuting is a bit different then throwing your bags in the car and driving anywhere you need to go in Kansas.