New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy

The first in the family of the city daily photo blogs was Paris Daily Photo, created by Eric Tenin. His vision was to show a slice of daily life in Paris via photos. Inspired by the idea, a friend and I created New York Daily Photo in 2006. Since then, this site has evolved and become an altogether different entity, sharing all manner of people, places, and things through my eyes, not always necessarily to simply show a "slice of everyday life" in New York City. The postings have become much more story-driven.

On a recent overnight trip, it occurred to me, as it often does, how preparing for a trip by car for the single traveler would be anathema and incomprehensible to anyone outside the city. So, for a basic trip that involves an overnight stay with luggage, and in the spirit of the original city daily photo blog, here is how I do it:

I call ahead to the garage to get my car - they require at least one hour advance notice, so I have to plan ahead. Take all my belongings, probably two loads, to the lobby, always keeping the most valuable things with me at all times: three bags with shoulder straps containing my laptop, iPad, and cameras. I'm on the fourth floor with no elevator, so it's up and down four flights of stairs (photo top left).

I walk about three blocks to the garage, carrying the "valuables" with me and leaving those things which would be least missed if stolen while unattended in the lobby (photo top center).
Even though I have called ahead, I still have to wait for my car to be delivered by the attendant. I drive to my home. Since it is near impossible most days to find a parking spot near my home, I have to double park in front of my apartment building with my hazard lights flashing (photo middle right). Now, I run in to the building with my valuables still slung around my neck. I unlock the two vestibule doors to the building and prop them open (with floor hooks) for easy in and out access (photo top right).

I bring out my things, one load at a time, running, opening and closing and locking and unlocking my trunk on each trip, always carrying my valuables the entire time (photo middle left). I make one last trip to close both building doors. During this entire process, I always keep an eye out for the police to avoid ticketing as well as possible thieves.

On the return of a trip, everything is reversed. Double park, unlock and prop open the vestibule doors, make trips unloading my trunk (keeping my valuables with me) leaving the less bulky and valuable luggage unattended in my building, drive to the garage, drop off the car, walk back three blocks, take the luggage up four flights, one load at a time.

I open my apartment door and drop off everything. It feels good to be home. However, I reflect on the insane process needed to just load and unload luggage for a short trip and question why I and other New Yorkers go through all of this.

On my last trip out of town, to add insult to injury, just after I completed my entire ritual, a car pulled out in front of me, leaving a parking spot right in front of my house (bottom photo). Yes, having a car in New York City is a privilege and a luxury. I am appreciative of that. However, it's New York City, and most pleasures here come with a price, whether monetary or otherwise, and often cut both ways. It's what's behind that love/hate relationship with the city, rearing its head as the Agony and the Ecstasy :)

Related Posts: Unforgiving, Ye Who Enter Here, Steaming Masses of New York, Dwanna


Julia said...

This story makes me think of an old advertising slogan here in England: 'why not let the train take the strain'!!

biebkriebels said...

What are those hoola hoops doing in your doorway? Are you a dancer?
I would take a taxi to a train- or busstation if I lived in NY.

Brian Dubé said...

Julia - Cool.

biebkriebels - My company manufactures hoops (

A taxi and train/bus is literally an whole other story, especially when you have as much as I do for a small business trip. It would be a nightmare to hawl all that stuff around.

Thomas said...

Do you drive a manual shifted car? I thought most American cars are equipped with an automatic gearbox.

Brian Dubé said...

Thomas - yes I do. A hold over from when I was younger and thought a stick shift was cool and allowed more control. I would not buy a manual again. Even though I am quite used to it, it is a nuisance in city driving.

Thérèse said...

Is it what we should call "juggling with hoops?"

Brian Dubé said...

Thérèse - Not quite. People are hooping similarly to the way they were when Hula Hoops were invented. Some for exercise and others have taken it to new levels as a dance form. You can see videos on my TrooHoops website and elsewhere. Many are performing professionally full time.

Anonymous said...

I recognize your car! I used to have a 1992 Acura Integra..LOVED that car, had it for 10 years (15 years old). Don't miss the manual transmission though, rush hour in Toronto is no picnic. I start every morning with your blog, and also the Toronto daily photo ( I like your story-driven blog...always something to learn about the big apple.
Thanks for sharing..a fan for 1 year and counting :)


Naomi said...

There should be a name for this run around loading process. Lots of us know it well.

p.s. My college pal used to pick me up in Queens on her way home from Queens. I would help her to unload her purchases from big box stores to her Chinatown apartment. She would slow down just long enough for me to jump out with a bag or two, and circle the block until I was done. There is no standing in Chinatown or you'll get real hell from the police.

Brian Dubé said...

Anonymous - Mine is a 1990. A friend recently suggested I get rid of it. When I spoke to a foreign car service center, I was told that my car was super hot with young people. The owner of the shop went down the list and told me how much each major component was worth - body, engine, etc. I was pleasantly surprised.

Brian Dubé said...

Naomi - I would love to coin the term.
RE: Chinatown - it is brutal there. Don't even try standing in an auto where prohibited.

Jocelyne said...

One has to live in a big city to know these facts. It will make me appreciate my driveway and garage ! I feel harass just reading you ! Where I live, (Quebec) I have to drive an hour to go to a museum (a small one compare to the MET) or a big shopping mall. We have only one small cinema and there's not much to do on a saturday night. Country have it's charms, big cities are never boring, each have their deficiencies and I find it difficult to choose between the two. I think I could live in NYC, I really love this city. I visited last june, it was my first in the big Apple and I literally fell in love with it. I can't wait to go back !
I really like your blog, it's very interesting and I learn so much about the town each time I read you.