Today I walked a 5K’s worth, not for charity, but to catch a bus to Boston. I left Park Slope at 8:16 am, stopped for coffee and chocolate banana bread, walked straight west on Flatbush across the Manhattan bridge, and arrived at Fung Wah on Canal at 9:40 am. Give or take, it took an hour which is significantly less time than it probably would have taken with public transit.
A time-saving measure turned into a tourist venture. Though I was on a time crunch to catch my bus, I couldn’t help but stop and snap pictures along the way. On this clear autumn day, the city didn’t look like the victim of a storm (albeit a few fallen tree branches here and there). For at least a few minutes, the scenery stood unscathed. It was November 2, and everything just was. Police yelling, long lines wrapped around Barclays Center, silence at the Manhattan bridge..
At some point, observation takes a deeper form and thought closes the gaps. The Manhattan bridge silence becomes odd when you realize –close gap– the rickety trains crossing its tracks are missing and out of service. Bus benches, typically sparse, look different because –close gap– lines are now wrapped around the street with people anxiously trying to get into the city. Honking, yelling, blowing leaves – all the usual sounds come fluttering back into consciousness. Yet the slightly different context alters their effect entirely.
I arrived in Chinatown eager for another cup of coffee. Then I remembered that downtown Manhattan was still without power. With shops closed, including the sketchy Dunkin Donuts I would normally go to as a last resort, even the last resort was not an option.
With time to spare, I asked for the key to the Fung Wah restroom. The attendant warned, “There is no light. Be careful. Don’t fall down the stairs.” Using the flashlight app I had downloaded several days ago in preparation for Sandy, I descended down the staircase. I wasn’t so much afraid of the dark, just more so of the rats lingering where I could not see.
Now I’m in Boston. For all intents and purposes, today was abnormal. Then again, who am I to judge?