3 Reasons to Love New York

Rush hour in NYC is the abrupt, fast-pace rat race that you’d imagine it to be. In fact, there’s a certain thrill to making your train, making the light, and making it to work alive (sans coffee stains or black eyes).

With nearly 8 million people moving ungracefully about the city, it isn’t the time for pleasantries. Rarely is anyone outlandishly rude—but best of luck getting a conversation or smile out of a New Yorker doing their daily dash to the 6 train.

Think of it this way: If you were getting in your car, headed to work and a bit rushed, would you be overly chatty if at every stop light someone frantically knocked on your window and screamed, “PLEASE! PLEASE, TELL ME WHERE THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING IS?!”

I’m guessing you would help, because you’re a good person.

But somewhere around the 9th time this happens, you’d begin to give hasty instructions with a shadow of a smile. The truth is most commuters simply don their headphones, zoning out the distress that is New York City from 7-9am and 5-7pm.

New York Subway Britney Fitzgerald

Now, take the people and puffy coats and the messenger bags and backpacks and, of course, the precarious coffee cups—take all of that nonsense, and stuff it into a crowded subway car.

Then add the dreaded suitcase.

That’s right… I was traveling home for the holidays and boarding a crowded N train with my terrible blue suitcase. He often acts out when under pressure, doing irritable things like getting stuck in doors, rolling over people’s toes, or even battling with other luggage for more space. Plus he’s usually too heavy to lift over the subway turnstile, so I have to do this strange swipe, push luggage under the bar, catch luggage with foot, walk through turnstile move.

So by the time I got to Hell on Earth (also known as Penn Station), I was exhausted and irritable. But the good news was 1) I was going home to visit my family and 2) I had time to run to the nearby Starbucks for a quick cup of caffeine.

“Following guest, please step forward.”

The line was long, per the usual. By the time five people were left in front of me, I began to nervously check my iPhone's clock—I’d still make the train to Richmond, right?

“Following guest, please step forward.”

“You can get in front of me,” said an Indian man with a striped scarf. 
“Oh, it’s OK. No worries,” I smiled back.
“I’m not waiting for a train.”
He grinned and moved behind me.
“Wow…uh, cool. Thanks so much."

“Following guest, please step forward.”

“I’m not waiting for a train either—my son’s about to arrive!” a plump blonde woman said in front of me, beaming. You could tell she was beyond delighted because her kid was coming home for the holidays. “Here, scoot up.” 

“Oh. Um… thank you,” I smiled, barely believing in a reality where two people let me cut the Starbucks line at Penn Station.

“Following guest, please step forward.”

If you’re a moderately astute reader, you can probably guess by the title of this blog post what’s about to happen: The man in front of me saw my prior line promotion and extended his hand, gesturing I step up to the counter. I thanked them all again, grabbed my coffee, and fought my way through Penn Station.

But I was fighting with a smile, dangit!
And for the next hour, I was doing something like this…

Because NOBODY cuts the rush hour Starbucks line.  
It's just one of those rare feats that must be celebrated. 
(Or at least blogged about.)

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