A friend recently told me how when he flies he imagines the lights of the cities down below are really stars in outer space. He said it helps pass the time plus opens his mind.
As I sit on a train headed to NYC, I stare out the window at the buildings which appear aged and imagine I am traveling through Europe. The “aged” buildings I imagine seeing are actually over 300 years old and still maintained with the care and respect they deserve. Unfortunately this is not the case here as the “aged” buildings I see appear that way due to pollution and a general lack of maintenance. The neighborhoods I pass with their dilapidated buildings and rusted out cars parked in front along with all the trash strewn about the side of the tracks, is well, depressing.
I love taking the train to NYC. Many of my colleagues still fly on the shuttle, but that is not the way for me and it has nothing do to with any fear of flying.
In reality it is far more convenient to take the train when headed to Manhattan. You can pick it up near BWI airport and it drops you in downtown Manhattan less than 3 hours later. Compare that to the time you spend getting to the airport, going through security, getting on a plane, deplaning and traveling from LGA to Manhattan – well the time is the same if not less on the train. And the overall cost is less by train.
For the workaholic you can use your cell phone on the train and there are outlets to plug in your equipment so you can stay fully charged. But, alas, I am not a workaholic (thank god).
For me the train is, well, “romantic”. Not in a sexual way but more in a nostalgic way. While the view out the window can sometimes be depressing it can also be comforting. Along the way you pass ball fields and if lucky and it is timed just right you get to see a big hit or a great fielding play. You see other people’s simple neighborhoods and even some well kept homes. You see the father in the yard with his two kids raking leaves. In the evening when you enter Philadelphia from the north there is nothing like the site of the boat houses all lit up along the Schuylkill, especially at Christmas.
There is also just the mere fact that you step on a train in Baltimore and a few hours later you step off at Penn Station right in the heart of NYC. What better place to spend a day than in NYC? I know plenty of people who could never live in NYC but love to visit for just a day and I am one of those. I always try to plan a little extra time on my business trips to NYC so I can just enjoy it and take it in.
And NYC has so many characters and sights and sounds to offer to any tourist that it is easy to think you are in a foreign land. Maybe Europe and all those “aged” houses you passed really were just 300 years old and given the care and respect they deserve.
One can imagine, can’t one?