Adventures in Commuting

I saw this map (via Park Slope Stoop) showing the distances that people travel for work.  So fun to imagine what life is like for all these different types of commuters.  You can move around the map or enter your zip code to find out what the average is in your area.  The average commute in my area is 38 minutes, though my own commutes over the years here were always more like an hour.

Do you know that Danny was drawn to moving to a city (Boston) because he loved the idea of being able to commute by train (so he could read)?  Love that guy.  🙂  And so glad he ended up on the East Coast like me. 

Commuting by train can actually be quite a productive and amazing experience.  I always seemed to get lots of emailing and reading done on the trains, among other things (including my make-up.)  Other people get more creative:  shaving (yep, I’ve seen it); pooping (yep); farting loudly and continuously over and over; painting or sketching strangers; dressing like donkeys and asking for money; knitting (especially popular among men on the L train).   Everyday, really, could be an adventure…you just never know what you might see.  The trains are really like the heartbeat of New York.  They really do make it all happen.  I guess that’s why I’ve written about them so much:

My favorite Subway poster
One of the most amazing experiences of my life happened on the Subway 
Do you know who rides the Subway at 5 am?
What I used to make on the Subway
This gives me the chills – it’s exactly how I felt when I first started wearing headphones on the train
It’s a big deal to send out positive energy on the train
What New Yorkers are afraid of  

Do you have a commute?  What is it like for you or what keeps you busy during it?  Any details or stories would be so fun to hear.  It’s so fascinating to hear what life is like in different areas. 

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  1. marlene March 11, 2013 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Hi Mara! Oh I love this post because I think public transportation in major cities is an amazing way to gain a handle on the pulse of a place. It's so interesting to me how people behave in different parts of the world on the subway. In Tokyo your phones have to be on silent and conversations on them are not allowed! But everyone just sits there texting. The NY Subway has such amazing characters. I wrote a blog entry myself about the London subway while I was working in a hospital there a few years ago. Thanks for the insight and flashback!

  2. Sarah Stäbler March 11, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I recently saw the best thing ever on my commute back home after a long day of work. I was on the bus, sitting near the door. And then, about halfway home, this guy got on the bus with some headphones on and he was CLEARLY enjoying his music. It was loud, even through the headphones, and I heard trumpets playing. The guy started dancing around the middle of the bus and was so into it and just shakin' his groove. And then he started singing! I watched him out of the corner of my eye as I read my book, but then started staring at him. And when he looked in my direction, I smiled at him and nodded, and he smiled back and pointed at me with both hands as he continued dancing. BEST bus ride EVER!

  3. Tamra March 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    My husband just took a new job and instead of a 25-30 minute commute, works from home. Best commute EVER! He does travel a bunch now, though, which means that sometimes his "commute" is hours long. We consider it an acceptable trade-off for his ability to work from home – saves on gas, time, and sanity.

  4. Anonymous March 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    I commute by bike! I enjoy every second of pedaling! It takes me 35 min to get to my work place.

  5. Miggy March 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Oh this made me miss our NYC days. The subway could be the best and the worst. But what I loved most was riding the subway with my daughter who was a baby and toddler while we lived there. She was the best ice breaker–always waving and smiling to people and you would just see people melt left and right. Even the toughest, most don't-mess-with-me looking guys would bust out with giggles and waves–I loved it! One day will be forever burned in my brain as the three of us (me, hubby and baby) were all riding together. We were just enjoying each others company and feeling very content with life and enjoying the moment. As the doors opened to a stop a man was getting off the train, but before he got off he said "You guys are the happiest people on this train and it was a pleasure to ride with you today." It was so kind, and just made my day. Love those New Yorkers.

  6. Shanzeh Sohail March 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    nyc 🙂

  7. Denise March 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Love this post – and your blog! I met my husband on the F train, riding to work from Brooklyn to NYC. It was a very crowded train and we were both holding on to the same pole, bumping into each each. That was a long time ago as we are now married 36 years. Please don't laugh that an "older" woman reads your blog, but I adore seeing/reading/talking to people who love each other and life. I think one of the funny things that happened to me on the subway was when my hair caught on someone's raincoat as I was leaving and he was a gentleman and got off with me. And so many other funny stories throughout the years. P.S. Thanks for responding to my Friday Sabbath comment. My dear in-laws are gone but they would have welcomed you and your husband!

  8. Colorado76Gal March 12, 2013 at 1:05 am - Reply

    I have to comment the other way. I only have a 2 minute commute to work which is great when you are running late. I also love the fact that I can grocery shop or get my hair cut during lunch. While I grew up in Denver and lived in Baltimore, I never thought this life of 500K people would be me but it has turned out pretty good. That is what happens when you live in Iowa. But I do have to agree with you that I had some of the best commutes visiting my brother in Brooklyn ever year. I never knew what I would see every morning.

  9. Angela March 12, 2013 at 2:34 am - Reply

    Hi Mara,
    Do you remember all the crazy things we used to see riding the metro in Paris? What a great introduction to public transportation! I will never forget some of those stories.

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