Friday, February 04, 2005

Making a great city your own

My ancient car car was getting repaired yesterday morning, so in order to make my 6AM tennis game with Senior Pete I had to bike from Anderson Hall to the Arlington Y Tennis and Squash Club on the other side of the river. This seemed like at odd thing to do; getting up before 5 AM, packing my tennis utensils in a back pack and venturing out into the early morning cold darkness, with warning lights flashing to alert inattentive drivers to my presence. There were no other bikers on the roads.

But it was fun and seemed perfectly safe. The roads were free of traffic and sufficiently well lighted for me to see. There were a few early morning people to greet - newspaper deliverers, coffee shop attendants, and an occasional jogger. Riding accross the Key Bridge was especially beautiful. I didn't have to share it with anyone; it was mine alone.

I was reminded of a memorable jog one summer night many years ago. A friend and I were staying in a hotel, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, working on a book. We finshed about 1:30 AM and decided to go for a jog to unwind. We ran up the East side of the island through the Fulton Fish Market and crossed over to Penn Station. We ran down Broadway and then, through the heart of the deserted financial district. We ran right down the middle of Wall Street aty 2:30 in the morning and returned to Battery Park and the World Trade Center Complex.

Now that I think of it, I have had similar experiences in London, Paris, Delhi, Berlin, Budapest and, of course, Colombo.

The fact that no one else is doing something or being somewhere can recommend it. You can make the streets of a deserted city your own.


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