Friday, November 16, 2012

What's the Rush?

Rush Hour.

When I was living in Manhattan, I never really thought too much about rush hour. I just got on the subway approximately 20 minutes before I needed to be at work, and between 11 and 15 minutes later, including a coffee stop, I was standing in my office. 

But now that getting to work involves a half hour train ride and a trek through Grand Central Station, I think about rush hour quite a bit. 

On the White Plains side, it is all pretty calm. I park my car, get on the train, and settle in for a peaceful ride. Sometimes I read blogs, sometimes I read a book, sometimes I stare out the window and consider ideas for my own blog, and sometimes I just sit and think.

But about five minutes outside of Grand Central, something happens. People start to move around and gather their things. Blackberries come out, and e-mail is checked. And astonishingly, some people even get up out of their seats and line up at the door, so that they can be first off of the train when the doors open. And then they just stand around, twitchy, until they can finally disembark. As if the two minutes they save by not waiting to get up until the train stops make that big of a difference. Grand Central is the last stop. There is no way to get trapped inside the train.

And once the doors do actually open? Pandemonium. People rush around, run down corridors, and walk as if the building is on fire and their very life depends on how quickly they can get above ground. And even though I absolutely abhor rushing, if you don't keep pace with the crowd, you will certainly get mowed down.

I took the picture above as I was keeping that pace during my commute on Wednesday morning. I kind of like that it is blurry, because that is how those minutes between the train and the door to Grand Central feel. Blurry, fast and frantic.

There is something insane about Manhattan that makes everyone feel like they have to rush. And even though I lived here for more than seven years, that was something I could never quite get used to. In my world, being five minutes late to work is not the end of the world, standing in line an extra minute or two will not kill you, and the faster you go, the more likely you are to miss something interesting (like the fab bag the girl in the picture is carrying. I nearly stopped her to ask her where she got it, but I couldn't catch up).

So I am making a vow for my commuting days. A vow to not get caught up in the crowd. To skirt alongside the rush. To walk a little slower. And to always, always stay seated until the train comes to a complete stop and the doors open to the start of my day.


  1. I totally hear you! I also wanted to comment to let you know you have a follower who is a fellow Manhattan-turned-Westchester-commuter. I moved up here just over a year ago, and honestly it took me about a year to ACTUALLY adjust to life in the 'burbs. I had been in Manhattan for about 8 years. The transition was a little rough at first and I still have moments where I really miss living in the city, but for the most part I really really truly enjoy the slower pace of life up here and I physically feel relaxed when I get home after a long day of work in the city.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, and especially for reading! It is so nice to hear from someone who also had a bit of a rough transition to Westchester to Manhattan. I really do like it, and I am thrilled about our house, but it is definitely an adjustment. I have never done particularly well with big, life-altering change, and a move is about as life-altering as you can get. Everything from where I get coffee, to where I grocery shop has become a bit more complicated as I try and find my way around my new city, but the truth is, every day it feels a little more like home. Happy Friday!

  2. So true, glad you want to slow down a little! When I took the train to and from SF, it wasn't like that at all. Something about NYC...

  3. It's so interesting how a sense of urgency can almost be contagious. If you're the one person operating a reasonable pace in a station full of people behaving like caffeinated hamsters it's easy to start to think that something's wrong with you.

  4. Out here in the heartland, we joke about rush minute. Sometimes the pace here is a little slow for me, but in general I appreciate not rushing. Love the pic!

  5. I've only been to the Big Apple once and the whole subway taxi thing was a totally foreign concept to me. Luckily I was with a Park Slope native so it was all good. God luck on your slow down..i would love all the people watching involved.