When people talk about New York City as the city that never sleeps, they forget that means early mornings not just late nights. So what does a stroll through New York at 7:00 a.m. include?
At this time during the first weeks of February the sun has barely risen. While it is still bitter cold outside, sun glasses are a necessity for anyone walking eastward. Alarms can be heard through cracked-open first floor windows. There isn’t a large commuter crowd, but there are a slew of people walking their dogs before having to leave for a day of work. If you can find a cute dog to join you on your morning stroll, I highly recommend it.
Among the Hustle and Bustle
Within a few block span in Chelsea there is a seafood store that gets their morning delivery each week day a bit before 7 a.m. The shop’s blue sign is peeling, but the fishy smell easily identifies what the store sells. As a Michigander, this oddly reminds me of summers on the lake – particularly of fish fly season.
By 7:15 a.m. students are pouring into the local schools, with parents or older siblings leading them. The students run, or in some cases mope, through the doors with the teachers who were also walking to working following them in. School buses are dropping kids off and adults count them to make sure they aren’t missing anyone from the group. From further down the block I can already hear the curly-haired mom screaming and making crazy arm waves at her kid who stopped crossing the street. Her child is looking a man walking a sweater wearing toy poodle that is smaller than its owner’s foot.
The next blocks over are lined with trucks full of camera, sound, and lighting equipment for 2 different movies or shows being shot in the area. Each set has at least three trucks worth of equipment, including a mobile dressing trailer. While scenes are sometimes shot this early, the workers from these productions are only just arriving or already being set up.
By 8 a.m. coffee shops are even more crowded and more people are out and about. On the way back I pass an older woman who crosses the street despite close oncoming traffic and laughs that she doesn’t have the years to wait, causing the car to stop mid-intersection. New Yorkers don’t care about traffic. Pedestrians have the right of way, right?
A few intersections later, a man in a wheelchair mutters a soft and surprisingly high-pitched “Weeee” as he rolls down the slope from the sidewalk to the street. I’m not sure if that’s his encouragement at every street corner, but that slope does seem a bit steeper than others.
One of the final things I notice on my morning walk is a dog outside of a bakery. A cute sight? Always! But, this dog was a bit different. Despite being able to stand, walk, or sit on the ground, he decided to sit on the bench where he was tied.