Archives for posts with tag: NYC

When I’m running ten minutes late for work I save time by leaving the house without a shirt. Not really. The train that pulls into my subway station at 8:37 delivers a white male in his twenties who does not wear shirts. He is pale, plump, hairy, and alternates between a black leather vest and a light wash denim vest. It doesn’t bother me. The first few times that the train pulled into the station the doors opened and he walked off the car he was wearing the unbuttoned black leather vest. The best conclusion (or the most entertaining) I could make was that this man was on his way home from working at a kinky bar/sex dungeon.

Then he started wearing the denim vest. People can surprise you. I had a label, a reason, an understanding. Then he wore a denim vest. I’m having trouble imagining the denim vest at his previous place of employment. It’s harder to wipe down.

What if he chooses to live shirtless? When we pass during our morning commute he is  on his way to a regular 9-5 job. Once he is one block from the office he puts on a shirt. He is being honest with himself: he hates wearing shirts so he doesn’t wear them.

Do you honor your truth regardless of social norms? Eff the labels in your head. No one pays attention to shirtless man because it’s New York and they’re used to seeing him every morning. They recognize that his lack of shirt does not impact their lives.

Listen to your truth and honor it.

“And I can’t change-even if I tried. Even if I wanted to…”

MIlton Glaser's classic logo

Milton Glaser’s classic logo

My commute to and from work is seventy-five minutes of swimming upstream. I’ve been doing the opposite commute for a little over three years. Most days I don’t pay attention to the small annoyances as I power walk through the NYC crowds (initially, it was sensory overload and I couldn’t handle the aggression). Other days, I’m exhausted before I reach my desk. My best commuting days are when I’m in cruise-control. My eyes are glazed over, stride powerful, ipod loud, and I’m watching the body language of the next five people headed my way in anticipation of pedestrians stopping short, swerving into my path, or my favorite, the person who gets so nervous that they half-stop to let you pass, but they don’t surrender the space to do so (mostly tourists).

I’m proud of my ability to swerve through a crowd of commuters/locusts swarming in opposite directions. It’s a small win for the day if I can maintain my speed without bumping into anyone: I’m invincible. The days when I’m tired/hungry/both, miss my connecting train by one minute, wish I could get back into the city in time for yoga/happy hour, have trouble navigating pedestrians, wear shoes that slow me down, and sweat through my clothes en route to work in 90 degree heat-those are rough days. Commuting is an effing sport.

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My friend Walter is new to New York City. He understood that real estate was at a premium before moving, but once he tried to fit his life into a small one-bedroom apartment it was a clear that he would have to make some adjustments. No space. Space funk.

In the classic battle of New York City vs. man the city usually wins. You have to work with what you’re given. In this case, space, or lack thereof. Walter said eff the funk and made lemonade out of lumber. Here is his story:

Back in November 2011 I found out that I had been transferred to New York City for my job as an airline pilot. I had a few months to think about what was going on before I moved, but let’s face it: finding an apartment in New York is pretty difficult to do from outside of New York. After burning my vacation haphazardly looking, I broke down, hired a broker, and after a few frustrating days of hiking all over town, found a little one-bedroom first-floor apartment in Murray Hill. I told my broker: “This is it, I want this one.”

And boy, have I ever wished I had been carrying a tape measure.

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