The Chaos of a New Yorker’s Commute

“By comparison with other less hectic days, the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience- if they did they would live elsewhere.”

E.B. White

In the great city of New York, just your commute can be a feat in itself.  By the time I get to work, I have walked at least a mile, waited in a crowded subway station, rode 35 minutes on a crowded train, climbed up and down countless crowded subway stairs, made a bodega stop, and fought traffic (both car and foot) on my way to my office one avenue over from Times Square.  The loud and hectic commute is a calming, exciting, and scary experience; Calming if you can get a seat on the train (it may be the most relaxing part of your day), exciting because the energy of the greatest city in the world is upon you, and scary because your really never know what or who you may come into contact with as you are traveling.

One way many New Yorkers tune out the chaos is by having their own personal soundtrack for their commute.  Most of the time, you will see commuters with their headphones on, distracted from the rest of the world.  I have certain songs I listen to while walking to the train, on the train– and then there’s the ones you put on if you need motivation to pick up your pace and tackle the streets.  Taking on the streets of Manhattan on any given day is definitely not for the faint of heart.  If you are not a “defensive” walker- you might just get hit or ran over by a person, car, or bike.  I have been hit by many people and even a bike once.  But once you get it, once you are comfortable with the commute, it becomes somewhat of a game of agility.  I even count the amount of people that I actively pass on my way to work, starting from when I leave my apartment in Brooklyn.  I got up to 150 one day last week.

The beautiful part of the commute is the culture of it- of which there is no shortage.  Every color, race, religion, and nationality is apart of your commute.  If you take your headphones off, you may hear 50 different languages before 9 am. Even though everyone is coming from different places, we now all occupy the same spaces.  Same trains, sidewalks, bodegas- it is very inspiring how it all works.  This fast and inspiring pace sets the tone for your energy- and I’ve never had more energy in my life.  I’ve also never been more inspired to be successful and creative.  This has been very good for my career.

New York City is the most competitive and energetic city in the world and you have to be able to keep up.  So far I think I’m doing a good job, and in large part I have the challenge of my chaotic commute to thank.