New York City rainy days are a special challenge

Every so often, something happens that gives me a glimpse into the future of New York City. It’s a city even more heavily populated than it is now, and all the cracks in its infrastructure have started to open into gaping chasms. I predict one of the first areas where NYC’s growing population will hit inhabitants the hardest is the transportation system.

NYC’s subways are already over-crowded. But throw in some rain and things get really screwy. Today at Grand Central Terminal, it took me about five minutes to get up the stairs. Up the stairs! To get out of the station! We moved as one mass, one flesh, one step at a time. Going down into the subway? Everyone with an umbrella and stepping lightly equals more delays. Once inside the subway car, a mass of wet, slippery bodies pushing against each other as more wet, slippery bodies try to shove in isn’t exactly a great way to start your day.

Once on the street, free newspaper hawkers further constrict the exit from the subways. Like a boa constrictor working as the sum of its parts–one constrictive vertebrae at a time–the newspaper shillers put a stranglehold on the exits from the subway as they shove their free, wet papers into commuters’ hands. Then there is the umbrella battlefield. A considerate subway walker puts his or her umbrella up to allow others to pass under it. You duck, you dodge. It must be all these recent transplants to NYC who have no concept of sidewalk etiquette and act as if they’re the only soul on Main Street, carrying their umbrella any which way they want. Well guess what hayseed? It doesn’t work that way. Here in NYC you have to make room for everyone’s umbrella, so that means you better get busy with making sure yours doesn’t get in the way. It’s common courtesy!

For those working in the halls of corporate america, the rain presents a fashion challenge. If you work at a company with a dress code that outlaws flip-flops or short/cropped pants, what the heck are you supposed to do when there’s a foot of water gushing down the city sidewalks? Bring a change of clothes, what else. Now you’ve added still another element to the equation of getting along when the rain comes down. The stress of keeping your work clothes dry and in reasonably decent appearance seems to add another layer of tension to the whole “NYC in the rain” game.

At least the restaurant delivery guys will make a killing on tips today: when it rains, no one goes out to lunch and all the cubicle jockeys order in. The lobbys between the hours of 12-2pm are a hive of activity, but put that much pressure on a lobby and before you know it, irate and hungry workers start yelling and cursing at one another as they attempt to pick up their orders at the courier desk.

New York City in the rain: just another reason to be thick-skinned in this city.

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~ by Lola on July 18, 2007.

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