Thursday, June 16, 2011
Leave the Driving to Us
There are a number of ways to approach driving a car in New York City. If you bring ideas of expediency and reliable travel times to the table, you are in for a very stressful time. Compulsive lane changing to gain small advantages, agonizing over every sanitation truck working ahead of you, screeching and lurching to maximize speed only to get to a traffic light earlier - all these things will just eat at your soul.
There are ways, times, and routes to minimize trip time, of course. However, one must always be prepared for one or even an unending series of traffic snarls, mishaps and poor choices which you could not have foreseen. These things are not incidents, they are a way of life. For those inclined to eastern disciplines, learning to live with New York City traffic and not get ruffled is one of most difficult forms of moving meditation and ultimate exercises in letting go.
I have owned a car for most of the 42 years I have lived in New York City, and I am not daunted by city traffic or driving. But if you value your time and your mind, the subway is the way to travel in New York City. The train traveler generally avoids the slings and arrows of outrageous traffic. There are subway delays, reroutings, dropped service, etc., but generally this will be the best way to travel the city.
However, sometimes you just don't feel like traveling underground, particularly on beautiful days like we have had lately, when it seems like a crime to descend to the subterranean depths. You have no car or access to one, and you do not want to break the bank taking a taxi. If you have the time, for destinations in a straight line within one borough (crosstown bus connections are free but add even more time to an already slow journey) and during daylight or evening hours, you can't beat a bus. Here, as in auto travel, your skills in letting go will also be tested - buses deal with the same traffic issues as cars and make stops every couple blocks, making what for many will feel like an interminable journey.
There are many reasons people opt for buses in New York City including safety and no need to climb stairs. But my biggest plus is the tremendous sightseeing for the cost of bus fare. There is probably no better bus ride in New York City than a trip down Fifth Avenue, any time of year.
I recently embarked at 80th Street heading downtown to the Village. North of 59th Street, on the left side, you are treated to the world of privilege with some of the world's finest apartment buildings and museums. On the right side, Fifth Avenue flanks Central Park. At 59th Street, we have the Sherry Netherland, the Plaza Hotel, the distinctive glass cube of the Apple store and the start of an endless parade of flagship shops of the some the world's finest retailers. At 50th Street, we have St. Patrick's Cathedral (see here and here) and Rockefeller Center. Later, we pass the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park, the Met Life Tower, and the Flatiron and New York Life Insurance Buildings. Evening is a great time to travel as the lights begin to glimmer and glow.
Carry the spirit of the traveler or explorer who knows there will be obstacles, hurdles and other unexpected difficulties, but has no time table or tight schedules. If we meet and I have my car, I'll take you for a ride. Otherwise, jump on the bus and in either case, relax, let go and leave the driving to us :)
Related Posts: A Bottle of Schweppes, Shake Shack, Cello Class, Ice Skating in October, The Plaza, Stamp of Approval, When Worlds Collide, 23 Skidoo, The Sherry, Saks Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Apple and Sherry, Life at Night, Met Life Tower, St. Patrick's from the Rock, ESB Straight Up
Other Driving Related Posts: Nice Move, Kid, The Point of Impact, Flailing and Hailing, Sittin' on Top of the World, What numba Kissena?