It starts on the avenues amidst a dark sky lit by pharmacies and corner stores. The hustle of New York is only evident by the schools of taxicabs racing forward at every turning of a green traffic light. Between these waves all is still, New York City exhibits a rare silence. As dawn peaks over midtown towers, the daytime workers begin their familiar rhythm. Soon the bagel and coffee lines start.
Within this next hour, Manhattan soon becomes infested. Time starts to compress as taxicab demand peaks. I head to my neighborhood, picking a few ripe street corners as goals. I aim to beat the rest of the yellow wave; more likely, though, I’ll drive around the corner during a lull in traffic, the lone empty taxi. A man or a woman in a suit jumps in. We go to midtown, times square, the financial district, and then we repeat. This cycle starts at seven. By eight, Manhattan is a parking lot. People erupt from beneath the ground and invade the sidewalk.
It starts to rain and everyone runs, searching for cover somewhere, anywhere. And we drive slowly, watching the city become a soggy painting. A passenger with a broken umbrella unravels inside. The meter goes on and the sun returns, soon enough the pavement turns dry and gray.
Into the afternoon, office buildings sprout suits with quick steps always carrying something official. Assorted famous corners produce throngs of New Yorkers. The humans swarm the taxi; as my cab's nose claims the crosswalk. Arms and legs surround each window frame, moving in opposite directions.
By two o’clock, I begin to believe it will be survivable; a woman hails from a Whole Foods, or a senior at Zabaar’s, a child and a caregiver go from Chelsea Piers to Tribeca. Someone complains about traffic, But it’s been 9 hours now and to me “traffic” is a pre-existing condition, it must have come before the chicken or the egg. I forgot to take a piss. I relieve myself in a sterile hotel bathroom.
One more day done, and I relish the opportunity to see the world again.