Sometimes I feel like Katniss in Hunger Games when I’m trying to get around NYC. One particular challenge is negotiating the city’s streets–especially at night and when they are the city’s major avenues.
Let’s take Broadway, for instance. It’s idiosyncratically off-the-grid and slices through many of the city’s streets, and even an avenue or two, in ways that certainly perplexes tourists and often the occasional New Yorker. It’s quite wide in some sections of the Upper West Side, in particular, but the countdown pedestrian signals were obviously calibrated by an Olympic sprinter working in the Department of Transportation. And I’m not even slowed down by a cane or a walker.
Apart from my concern about whether I’ll reach the safety of the opposite sidewalk before getting mowed down by an 18-wheeler truck careening down the avenue at speeds well above the mandated 25 mph, is my fear whether I’m visible as a pedestrian if I get stuck somewhere in the middle.
So I’m trying to wear as much white as possible, which makes me look as though I’ve joined a cult. Maybe I should start carrying a bow and arrow like Katniss to look more formidable. If nothing else they’d slow down for a good laugh.
The stairs in NYC subway stations are an interesting athletic challenge, especially if you’re pregnant or, shall we say, of a certain age.
Not everyone is challenged. There are 80 and, I believe, 90 year olds still running in the NYC Marathon. For the rest of us mortals, the stairs, which can be extremely narrow in some stations, require that we keep up the pace, especially if behind us are subway riders with either better lung capacity or more flexible knee joints, who can ascend more quickly. The problem is particularly acute during rush hours, when impatience to get to an office on time or meet a date for dinner is palpable.
So my advice to my Wrinkles friends who might find this a problem: avoid rush hours, subway stations with narrow stairways (the 72nd Street westside IRT has stairways that are one lane only!) or intensify your aerobic workouts to better keep up with the crowd.
Six years ago, I moved to the Upper West Side in Manhattan, a neighborhood that could be described as a NORC, or naturally occurring retirement community. As described in Wikipedia, “A naturally occurring retirement community (NORC; ) is a term used to describe a community that has a large proportion of residents over 60 but was not specifically planned or designed to meet the needs of seniors living independently in their homes.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m part of that demographic, even though I can still jog along Riverside Drive (and terrify small dogs) and haven’t graduated to a walker or a cane yet, like so many of my neighbors.
This blog will attempt to capture some of the humor still possible to find as we deal with getting older–especially in New York City, which, honestly, can be the best place and the worst place in which to do that.