Save Our City -- Mug a Tourist!
Again in the subway tunnels this morning, I had to practically tread on the heels of my fellow citizens to get them to move either at an acceptable clip or out of my way.
It seems that in the past few years New Yorkers have gotten slower. At a stage in life in which I could reasonably expect my neighbors to begin brushing impatiently past my decrepit ass, I find more often than not that I am actually ahead of the general pace.
I have no data on this, but I do know that our City recently rose several places in Men's Fitness magazine's study of the Fattest Cities in the U.S., from 21st to eighth.
One unfortunate side effect of the City's ballyhooed "revitalization" is that it has attracted people to New York who might otherwise have stayed away. For decades, only the mad, the inspired, and the professionally obligated came here. We were a jacked-up lot; we had to constantly watch out for muggers and dogshit, and to keep up with unreliable public transportation schedules. We grew accustomed to nervily grabbing whatever pedestrian advantages we could, and on our watch New York street life remained a rather bracing track and field event. In fact, we developed a sort of sixth sense about transportation. I remember one day in the 80s when the automatic turnstile at the Berry Street end of the Bedford Street L station broke, allowing people to enter and ride for free; within a half-hour, no one was using the (primary) Bedford entrance, while traffic on the Berry side was unusually heavy -- people, it appeared, were riding just because it was free.
It was tension-inducing, but it was sort of fun and it helped keep the weight off.
Outsiders gazed upon this behavior with that mixture of respect and disgust usually reserved for the inscrutable customs of the East, like the Hejira or eating live monkey brains. They maybe dug it, but not enough to join it....
This is just an excerpt. Click this link -- Alicublog -- for the rest.