Masters in the Center

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Why I Work in New York City

The ride from Jersey is a long one. 90 minutes from locking the outside door to my apartment I am swiping my access card at the inner door to the office. I travel for 3 hours a day.

The trains are usually full with commuters. There are hardly any empty seats, and so I choose to stand in the front of the train. I've learned to read on the moving train. I still get a little nauseated from time to time, but its all right. Reading has recently come back into my life, and I'm loving it. There's nothing like getting lost in a book. I couldn't remember how nice that feeling was until I experienced it during the week of October 3rd, my first week at work.

Usually I am the first person to step onto Newark Penn Station. That's the halway point in my commute, exactly when my foot hits the Newark concrete. From there its a hurried walk to the PATH train. It leaves every five minutes, but that doesn't mean the commuters are willing to wait for the next one. There are some days that I am packed literally shoulder to shoulder with the other riders. Those days are trying.

So why would I bother with all of that? Why bother to travel for 3 hours a day? Why not get a job in Jersey with a 30 minute commute and spend the extra hours at home? That's certainly an option, but there are a lot of good reasons why I work in New York City.

The biggest reason is the daily excitement of the crowds. To understand that you have to look at my life in context. I've grown up in a small New England town. There's more diversity in the PATH train I ride every morning that there was in any of the towns I experienced in Maine. There are people from every kind of background on that train. It's as diverse as a UN summit.

Originally uploaded by Romulusnr.

That leads to my second reason, the culture. The immigrants brought their culture with them in their food, clothing, and language. The crowds here are so vibrant. The selection of restaurants boggles the mind. I can choose from literally dozens of different restaurants for lunch, all within walking distance. Many of those restaurants will serve a different cuisine as well. It's so incredible. I think people who have grown up here may not realize how good they have it.

The crowds and the culture are largely what keep me coming back. I love the prospect of talking to someone who has come from a distant country while I order my morning bagel. I like learning spanish from people at the deli.

There's just so much, and by and large I love it.


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