So I decided to go the office today. Otherwise, for every day I not come into work will be counted as a vacation day. And you know how precious my vacation days are to me! I thought it would also be a neat adventure. I’m a native of Queens but never walked across the Queensboro (not as pretty as walking across the Brooklyn Bridge so one is not missing much, trust me) and I always toyed with the idea of walking to work or at least biking (when I finally own a bike) so I took the strike as an opportunity to experience something new, walk with my fellow borough folks to work, and take pictures in the meantime. At least I would have some sort of intersting answer when people will ask me years later what I did in the 2005 subway strike. I also wanted to see what Manhattan looked like too. And the only way I was going to find out was to walk there.
To the right is a (dark) shot as I began the trek onto the Queensboro. The next pic is of the East River and Roosevelt Island, a residential area which sits right in the middle of the River. Manhattan is behind the buildings in the forefront.
Anyway, the walk door-to-door is a mere 3.3 miles. That’s nothing! My thrice weekly power walks in Central Park (which I’ve not done in weeks!) were 4 miles on uneven terrain so walking across the Queensboro Bridge should be a piece of cake. And I’m happy to admit that it was! Subway or no subway, I left at my usual time at 8:45am and the entire walk took 45 minutes. My bosses were just pleased that I could make it and didn’t care if I was late.
Thank goodness for those fitness walks! It was great to zip past pedestrians and even those on bikes who had difficulty peddaling uphill on the bridge. It was also really interesting to see cars filled to capacity since a car was not allowed into the city with 4 passengers or less. I had several offers for a ride since drivers were desperate to get into the city and picked up pedestrians for free. See this NY Times article about how strangers are thrown together in cars. Although it would’ve been interesting to get into a car with total strangers and feel completely safe, my commute was so short that I would find myself jumping out of the car once I got past the pleasantries. Anyway, I wanted to get back into the swing of power walking and doing 6.6 miles a day would prepare my body for all the food I would be eating for Christmas and New Year! I felt in tip-top shape although this morning I wore my nice camel coat. Tomorrow, I think I’ll wear my windbreaker since I arrived in the office sweating like a pig!!
Changed out of my sweaty t-shirt and windpants into a something a little more acceptable for the office although it was still on the casual side. Half of my colleagues who made it all wore sneakers, including myself. With a shortened day, I worked what I could and left before it got dark at 3:45. Although I knew I would be perfectly fine, I still did not want to walk through the industrial parts of Long Island City in the dark. The area is just a bunch of big, somewhat desolate and dimly lit sidewalks with warehouses.
Above is a shot of the line for the Q60 bus, a line owned by a private bus company, that runs between Queens and Manhattan. The line ran the lenghth of entire city block and wrapped around two more corners. Madness! I thought of taking the bus back home but when I saw this line, I realized that it would be faster for me to walk than wait. To the left, a detail of the Queensboro reflecting the light from sunset. Below, the UN building with the sun setting behind it.
Since I needed to leave early, I couldn’t find the time to leave the office and walk to Madison and Fifth Avenues. These two avenues were designated for emergency vehicles and not open to other vehicles. It was virtually empty and many people took advantage of walking down a usually busy street. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. No worries. I walked down an empty Fifth Avenue once, immediately after the Saint Patrick’s Day parade before the avenue opened up to traffic.
I’m not miffed about the strike at all. The entirely new adventure into the city was well worth it. And isn’t this what life’s about? New opportunities and experiences?