A quiet Saturday in New York

I’ve been asked to do more slice-of-life posts, and I have to admit, I’m not sure how I can pull off. Most of the time my life is pretty repetitive: get up, exercise (sometimes…), go to work, come home. Throw choir rehearsal in once a week, some dinner or other evening outings with friends, and that’s my life. I won’t be writing about work here because I want to keep my professional life separate from my writing life, as best I can. So I think the best way to do this is to occasionally give you a window into what going about my regular life can be like.

Today is Saturday, and it is over 50 degrees out – a miracle after this winter, and yet I didn’t leave the apartment till 3 p.m. I meant to get out earlier, I really did, but between talking to my mom and letting myself watch episodes 2 through 4 (#1 was last night’s activity) of the BBC’s “North & South”, well, time got away from me.
But I’m fed, showered, and dressed, and my laundry has been deposited at the laundromat. That’s one of my life splurges in NYC, letting someone else do my laundry. It’s worth the extra $10 to drop it off and pick it up the next day, clean and folded.
I am on the subway to Manhattan, something I don’t often do on quiet weekends. But I’m on a mission to Macy’s, as I need to pick up some things for a friend’s wedding that’s coming up in a few weeks. I’m not a huge fan of shopping (except for books!), so I’ve put it off, but the time has come.
The subway’s not too crowded at the moment – I get a seat easily – but everyone is chattier than on weekdays. People are going places together, whereas during the daily commute most people are heading to work alone. It’s nice to see, but I’m battling a headache and wishing I brought my iPod.
This train goes across the bridge and I’m sitting on on the east side to get the best view. But I’ve got a stop or two left before we’ll cross, so I close my eyes, just for a minute.
Okay, for longer than a minute. Actually, I let myself doze all the way to Macy’s as the subway car slowly fills with people. I get off at Herald Square and make my way into the store, stopping in the departments I need and admiring, as always, the wooden escalators that clearly have been around for decades. I even stop for a Starbucks hot chocolate, right in the store, because shopping is hard work.
I’m successful in my endeavors, but the commute back to Brooklyn goes less smoothly. I’m meeting a friend for dinner and the train I want doesn’t come after fifteen minutes of waiting so I snag a seat on another train and thank the powers-that-be for it, because the car quickly becomes packed. Standing on crowded subway trains can bring out the carsickness that plagues me on road trips, and I avoid it whenever possible.
I meet my friend and we head to a diner, the perfect place for a cheap, unhealthy catch up session. Afterward we walk back to my apartment planning to chat some more, or maybe watch a movie. There are no museum visits this weekend, no concerts or trips to the theater, but there’s something satisfying in finally taking care of the errands you’ve been avoiding, and in spending time with good friends.

2 Comments

  1. Awesome post! Sounds like a nice weekend. How in the world did you learn to navigate and get around NYC?! It's been a challenge the two times I've been.

  2. You know, I think it happened gradually for me. I'd been several times as a kid with my family, and then in college occasionally for choir trips or to go see a Broadway show. Sometime I'll write about the first time I was ever here totally alone (not including layovers in Penn Station!), sophomore year of college, when I took the train in to go to the memorial service of my favorite author, Madeleine L'Engle. I think that outing, where I printed off a Google map and just WENT for it, gave me confidence when I was an intern one summer (though for that I mostly just went to and from Grand Central Terminal, since I was staying in CT). Once I was here, I carried an iPod with a subway map app and looked up directions online before I went anywhere. I don't have a smart phone, so that's still how I get around, but in Manhattan at least you figure out pretty quickly where each subway line goes — more or less. It's a grid, so as long as you're on the numbered streets and avenues it's pretty easy to figure out if you're going the wrong way. Take me out of the grid, though, and I'm grateful for my Google directions and the maps of the immediate neighborhood you can find in most subway stations. :)

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