Each morning, my brother and I would zip into his Camaro and hurtle down the black pavement towards the train station, of which we’d approach from by a left turn off the main thoroughfare.  Buying my ticket, I’d glimpse the numbers ticketing by on the tv screen overhead, heeding the trains labeled “express,” not to be caught unmistakedly on the “local” train; that would be quite un-New York of me, to take more time than necessary.  Frosty breaths and those long, business coats floated on the platform.  Although surrounded by other people, we are cordial yet distant.  There is a rare myth that public transit somehow unites people of disparate backgrounds, but it does no such thing; it, like the sidewalk above, is simply another part of the city we share, one item in a long list of them.  There are always people about, but the city has its districts that are quiet and slower, or louder and fast.  You can, at the right time, be one of only a few walking down a particular block.

Its a glamorous life of energy but it also has hidden challenges.  Space, the bountiful of the countryside, becomes parsed, segregated, separated, and owned in the city.  The space of a washing machine, of which no one in the Midwest would question, becomes a luxury in the city of New York. It makes more sense to pile them up, one on top of each other, side by side, in a corner washing store down the street, of which space and economy become complementary.  If one could get a washing machine, how would one transport it, especially without a car?  Delivered to your work place, you could bring it home with you, piece by piece on the subway, – the lid under one arm and the buttons in another hand –  and reconstruct it for use. But then you’ll need an exhaust vent for it…alas.  The city is a place for everyone yet for no one. It hardly bares a mark of any one person.

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