"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

It was dark when I got up to write this morning. Before I got started, I checked my e-mail and learned about Hunter S. Thompson, last night’s game, and that my friend’s dog died yesterday. Later, I heard my wife get up and go to the bathroom and when she was finished, I got up and followed her into the bedroom. She called after our cat, Moe Green, who usually joins her in the morning, but it was me instead and I leaned down and hugged her after she got back in bed and under the covers.

When I got to the subway station I talked about the game with the token booth clerk. He’s my friend and he told me that in January he is switching stations. “You’re the only one I’ve told so far,” he said. I learned about the best stations (238 and 215) and the worst stations (242 and 231) to work uptown.  On the way downtown, I read about Wild Bill Hickok and wagon trains, a man whore and whisky. The story was interrupted by a mother sitting next to me. She scolded her daughter about using pen instead of pencil in a school workbook. “You should never, ever use a pen, ever.” Then she read airfare rates from the newspaper and asked her kid where she’d like to this winter.

It was cool in midtown when I got off the train and my eyes followed a woman with short blond hair, a long, beige skirt and red shoes, as I walked up to the street. On Broadway, I saw a family standing on the corner looking confused and speaking in French. I asked them if they needed any help and gave them directions to Central Park and spoke a few words in French and felt good about that. I thought about everything I’d already read or seen already as I walked to work to begin the day.


1 Bama Yankee   ~  Oct 25, 2011 10:04 am

Reading this reminded me of the old Army recruiting commercial: "We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day..." Good stuff Alex.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 25, 2011 10:28 am

It's easy to take for granted how much we see or do in one day. For some reason, I was aware of it this morning.

3 Branco   ~  Oct 25, 2011 11:56 am

How much time do you give yourself to write in the mornings? Productive?

Also, I'm interested in what makes 238th a better station to work in than 231st...

4 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 25, 2011 12:15 pm

3) I try for at least an hour, though I should do more like 1.5 hours. And this is writing stuff not blogging stuff.

Problem with 231 is that you've got the 7 bus and the 10 bus right there so it's just a very busy station. 238, on the other hand, is nice and quiet.

5 Dina   ~  Oct 25, 2011 12:54 pm

See, this is nice. This is why I miss public transportation, all the little connections you make along the way. All the other posts about all the subway rules I've been potentially breaking for years just stress me out, especially since I'm planning on moving from the land of freeways back to the land of public transit sometime soon.

6 YankeeAbby   ~  Oct 25, 2011 3:11 pm

As much as I may bitch about the tourists from time to time (Helloooo Times Square on a Saturday!) - I makes me feel good too when I'm able to help them, no matter where they're from.

Just the other night, I watched as a girl at the West Side Y, probably in her late 20's somehow managed to squeeze out a full size suitcase from the tall but tiny lockers. I made a joke about how impressed I was and she told me she was visiting from Florida and visiting family out in Queens. She asked, "I was told I can take the 1-train at Columbus Circle, right?" I immediately advised her that yes, she should go to Columbus Circle, but get on the downtown B or D and go 1 stop where she could pick up the Queens-bound E train. You would've though I'd given her one of my kidneys, she was so grateful & appreciative. I felt I'd earned my gold star for the day

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver