Saturday, June 19, 2010

New York City by Train

We rode on the Metro North Train for 236 miles Wednesday and Thursday, making two round trips into New York City from the Beacon station. That meant nearly three hours a day. It was a real treat for train buffs and gave us insight into the lives of many who work in the Big Apple. Our RV park was about 12 miles from the train station. What do commuters do on that approximately 90-minute trip morning and evening? Some of them bring a bowl of cereal to eat in the morning. We saw people reading a paperback, others reading the newspaper, most of them used their cell phone to talk or text at some point. A number had their computers out, many using the internet. A number tried sleeping, either with their head tipped back or leaning on the seat in front of them.

We were the only people looking out at the scenery or taking pictures. We had a pretty trip south along the Hudson River, passing West Point Military Academy, several smaller towns, watching barges on the river. In a number of the towns we saw old abandoned factory buildings, an active sugar mill, a Kawasaki plant and other businesses. As we came into the city there were many apartment houses, a lot of trash, parks, pretty streets and various kinds of draw bridges.

We navigated the New York subway fairly well, checked in on some of the major sights, such as Grand Central Station, Times Square, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patrick's and Trinity Churches, the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. The last two stops will be covered in separate blogs.

We found the city fascinating, exciting, busy, crowded, easy to navigate. On the other hand, it is noisy and crowded. I kept thinking of what it would be like to raise children in the city, making my way to their schools, music lessons and play time by subway and bus. The long morning and evening commute required if you don't live in the city would be difficult for me. On the other hand, because many New Yorkers don't own cars, they do a lot of walking. We didn't see nearly as many overweight people as we do in other places.

New York is a wonderful place to people watch. Interesting clothes, lots of very high heels on women, as well as lots of flip-flops. Big toe rings seem to be in. People walk a lot faster in the city that in the suburban mall.

We had a wonderful two days there. And we were really glad when we left. It is exhausting. Our days lasted from a 6:45 am departure from the RV to a 5:45 to 6:30 pm return. That is really long. For those who must put in an 8-hour day in the city, it would mean not returning until maybe 8 pm. No wonder the minimum length of parking at the train station was 16.25 hours!

Here is a short slide show of some scenes from our time traveling and in the city.

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