Monday, January 6, 2014

Driving the West Side Highway

New Yorkers either hate to drive or love to drive, I can never remember which. But almost all of them abhor the traffic jams on the West Side Highway, which runs along the Hudson River in Manhattan from Battery Park to well above Washington Heights. Every now and then we have to drive on the West Side Highway, as we did today, and every time I do I can feel my heart beat faster and my throat clench in anticipation of the horrors of this most impossible of thoroughfares.

Today, we rented a U-Haul to move most of the rest of our stuff from our co-op on Staten Island to our co-op in Manhattan. It was 2:00 pm in the afternoon, but I still expected the worst. Stalled cars, emergency vehicles pushing us to the side of the road, 18-wheelers hopelessly stuck in low gears, and New York drivers instinctively jumping ahead of us at every opportunity. In general, though, the worst part of driving up the West Side of Manhattan is simple: too many cars and too little space.

But today a miracle happened. We made it without delay, in the record time of about 20 minutes from the Battery Park Tunnel to 69th and Amsterdam. What a delight! What a rare and unexpected treat! Instead of averaging 9 MPH, which is typical for Manhattan, we actually traveled up the West Side proceeding at a very normal 30 MPH. I never thought it would happen to us, but it has. And I will be forever deeply grateful for the strange confluence of circumstances that made this impossible journey possible.

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