Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I Love New York: Morning Walk to Work

It's finally starting to get nice out. One of the coolest things about New York City is my walk to work. The experience is much more sensory than being in an air conditioned, weatherproof box with piped music--no smells, no faces to look at, no freezing cold, icy rain, or that great balmy feeling of spring. In the morning I always see kids on their way to school (including Sarah Jessica Parker taking her kid to school sometimes, if I'm running late), people walking their dogs (the pee smells TERRIBLE in the summer). On garbage day it also smells terrible, but walking along west 9th st I see the most gorgeous things put out to the curb--if only I had room!

I've also observed the financial crisis. Suddenly, this winter, I saw "Townhouse for Sale" and "For Rent" show up on many private residences. Now, stores are closing. A children's clothing store closed, a woman's boutique shut down, a bath store looks to be in dire straits, and Flight001 keeps on advertising their sales. Balducci's (gourmet grocery store) is closing this week, and I can't think of another thing that can go in the amazing neoclassical building--how many grocery stores have columns, marble, and painted ceilings?

I'm under the impression that until maybe the 1950s, when everything suburbanized, many people would walk to work. I strongly believe that walking to and from work--instead of spending an hour behind the wheel--brought down obesity and stress rates in society. By the time I walk to work, I'm ready and alert. I don't need coffee right away. If I've been feeling stressed during the work day, that twenty minute walk home provides me with a chance to unwind. Since it's the 21st century, I often make phone calls to friends and family. I run errands. I walk. The slight uptick in my weight due to my boyfriend's rich food and birth control notwithstanding, I gradually went from tight-fitting pants to loose pants since I've started the job. Nothing major, but it's positively impacted my well-being. I feel happy and well-connected. I'm not isolated from my world, but experiencing its weather, its sounds, smells, and people. While I've heard that walking in the city is more stressful than walking in nature (and I totally believe that), I can vouch for the fact that walking in the city is WAY better than driving on a highway. My summer of Los Angeles commutes just killed me. I love my commute, and you can check it out on google maps here:

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