Growth to the Extreme!

At 8:30am this morning, I was pushed onto the 7 train and squeezed in with hundreds of other New Yorkers like cows in a slaughterhouse. I walked in huge groups of people, all walking the same speed and direction and with the same neutral expression on their faces down long hundred-foot hallways. I watched as hundreds of people moved along the platforms, almost like schools of fish, on their way up the stairs, down the stairs and onto the trains.

I was so glad I wasn’t doing this every day just to get to work, I was a temporary¬†visitor just passing through. It’s stressful to be in such tight quarters with so many people, but then having to fight your way to the surface just to go to work? Stress-Fest! Every time a train pulled in it was packed so tight with New Yorkers that I couldn’t see the inside of the train from the windows. And as I stood in the middle of an especially large group of commuters, I was in the awkward position of not being able to hold on to any poles, so I simply let the sheer amount of bodies surrounding me on every side hold me up as the train lurched and rattled along the track. I even had a full cup of coffee I sipped, but because the trains were so packed I couldn’t lower my arm, so I let the coffee cup rest at my chin.

Simply put: Holy Shit the subway system is over crowded. I can’t imagine that what I experienced this morning is healthy or safe! Fire hazards? What a joke! There were so many people that, god forbid, if there was something truly wrong the exits would not be enough to handle the stampede of folks! And even the sidewalks of New York are too small to handle the outflow of people from below!

According to the NYC Dept. of City Planning:
New York City’s population increased from 8,175,133 in April of 2010 to 8,244,910 in July of 2011. This is an increase of 69,777 residents or about 0.85 percent over the 2010 mark. The largest change in the city’s population occurred in Brooklyn, increasing by almost 28,000 persons or 1.1 percent, followed by Queens, which registered an increase of 17,126 persons or 0.8 percent. Manhattan also showed a substantial increase of 16,075, which translated into a change of 1 percent.¬†“

Woah.

So, as of 2011 almost 70 thousand people moved to New York. Meaning that one could bet there are even more people now. Manhattan Island is not getting any larger, though. So… maybe that can explain why I feel so packed tight.

To keep my mind off of how miserable that commute was I kept imagining wide open spaces and big old-growth trees… Being a guppy in a massive school of fish is no fun, and the city just gets bigger and bigger! 70 thousand people need a place to live, too! And eat! And work! And, according to the Census bureau New York’s population has a good 30% of it in 25-35 age range. So, we’re young, too. That also explains why I kept catching the eyes of many tired looking, trendy 20 something’s also on their way to work, or, you know, unpaid internships.

I think I’ll just stick to the off-peak hours so I can stretch out on the seats of the train car and pretend I’m only one of 20 individuals going to work.

October 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm by Natalie Allen