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The Agony and the Ecstasy

The first in the family of the city daily photo blogs was Paris Daily Photo, created by Eric Tenin. His vision was to show a slice of daily life in Paris via photos. Inspired by the idea, a friend and I created New York Daily Photo in 2006. Since then, this site has evolved and become an altogether different entity, sharing all manner of people, places, and things through my eyes, not always necessarily to simply show a “slice of everyday life” in New York City. The postings have become much more story-driven.

On a recent overnight trip, it occurred to me, as it often does, how preparing for a trip by car for the single traveler would be anathema and incomprehensible to anyone outside the city. So, for a basic trip that involves an overnight stay with luggage, and in the spirit of the original city daily photo blog, here is how I do it:

I call ahead to the garage to get my car – they require at least one hour advance notice, so I have to plan ahead. Take all my belongings, probably two loads, to the lobby, always keeping the most valuable things with me at all times: three bags with shoulder straps containing my laptop, iPad, and cameras. I’m on the fourth floor with no elevator, so it’s up and down four flights of stairs (photo top left).

I walk about three blocks to the garage, carrying the “valuables” with me and leaving those things which would be least missed if stolen while unattended in the lobby (photo top center).
Even though I have called ahead, I still have to wait for my car to be delivered by the attendant. I drive to my home. Since it is near impossible most days to find a parking spot near my home, I have to double park in front of my apartment building with my hazard lights flashing (photo middle right). Now, I run in to the building with my valuables still slung around my neck. I unlock the two vestibule doors to the building and prop them open (with floor hooks) for easy in and out access (photo top right).

I bring out my things, one load at a time, running, opening and closing and locking and unlocking my trunk on each trip, always carrying my valuables the entire time (photo middle left). I make one last trip to close both building doors. During this entire process, I always keep an eye out for the police to avoid ticketing as well as possible thieves.

On the return of a trip, everything is reversed. Double park, unlock and prop open the vestibule doors, make trips unloading my trunk (keeping my valuables with me) leaving the less bulky and valuable luggage unattended in my building, drive to the garage, drop off the car, walk back three blocks, take the luggage up four flights, one load at a time.

I open my apartment door and drop off everything. It feels good to be home. However, I reflect on the insane process needed to just load and unload luggage for a short trip and question why I and other New Yorkers go through all of this.

On my last trip out of town, to add insult to injury, just after I completed my entire ritual, a car pulled out in front of me, leaving a parking spot right in front of my house (bottom photo). Yes, having a car in New York City is a privilege and a luxury. I am appreciative of that. However, it’s New York City, and most pleasures here come with a price, whether monetary or otherwise, and often cut both ways. It’s what’s behind that love/hate relationship with the city, rearing its head as the Agony and the Ecstasy :)

Related Posts: Unforgiving, Ye Who Enter Here, Steaming Masses of New York, Dwanna

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