A few people on the train car chat back-and-forth, but it’s mostly quiet. People alone in their thoughts and their phones and the noisy click-clack of the train wheels. My daughter and I chat about her upcoming internship. My son usually has his phone out playing some game or app, but this time he’s watching everything: the other riders walking up and down the aisle, the train crew collecting tickets, the passing New Jersey wasteland, etc.
The three of us sway with the tossing and turning of the train, but soon we come to a stop. We’re at the end of the line, our destination; the self-proclaimed center of the universe; the Big Apple; Manhattan, New York City
Our car may have been quiet, but the minute we step off the train, we’re in the middle of a mad rush up the stairs. Every time I come to New York, I get the same feeling, the same image of the multitudes rushing out of the train like it’s the last day of school, the anticipation, the rush to be free.
We’re jammed together one on top of the other, but finally we get the top of the stairs and soon make our way out of the station and out onto the street, where we run into even more people. If we were traveling at a leisurely 50 mph in the station, we’re now pushing the speed up to 70 or 80. There’s no dawdling, there’s no stopping to check our GPS. People are coming at us from every direction. You move or you get swallowed.
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