Girder Birds

I heard birds.  As the sun comes up, the chirping starts.  I can’t believe how lucky I am to wake up to so many birds – who would have thought that would be the noise that wakes me in NYC?

As I wait downstairs on the sidewalk after arguing with A, I also hear the birds.  Above me now.  Listening to their chirping, my curiosity gets the better of my anger.  Where are these birds?  I look up, and find them nestling in the ends of the girders above me.  The girders of the temporary scaffolding that envelopes our building while our crumbing stone window sills are replaced.  It’s not just an annoying obstruction to our view of the park, it’s a home for birds.

Girder birds. Thriving in this busy city.  How can I be angry when there are birds?

I heard them again this morning.  And tomorrow.  Maybe I don’t want that scaffolding to come down so fast after all.


Postscript:  The birds are gone.  Someone has chased them out.  Which is probably a good thing since the scaffolding would have come down soon, and with it their baby girder-birds.  Now I hear the birds from Tompkins Square Park.


Navigating the Subway


20151002170539It seems like I’m always trying to find my way, even when I think I know the way.  There are always indicators to help – signs, usually – but they are tricky and sometimes I cannot make sense of them either.  If I drop my guard, I am momentarily lost.

Before descending into the undercity I must remember to read the signs at the entrance.  Downtown? Uptown?  Or can I decide once I am down? Wait, people are only streaming out, not in.  Check the colour of the subway globes – red, exit only.  Look around to find the white and green ones that indicate an entrance.  Maybe I can’t see them because they are a block or more away.

Finally, down the steps, through the turnstile – oops, swipe that metrocard again, success!  Follow the always-confusing signs.  Every station has multiple lines A,C,E,2,3,4,5,L and maybe the LIRR.  Hurry to the platform, double back and try again.  Don’t forget to check which side of the platform or else, again, I’m heading downtown instead of up.


Listen for the announcements, which station?  Am I on a local or an express?  Why are we stopping here?  Rerouted again.  Ooh, I could change to the 4 here?  Maybe that will be faster because it has less stops, but how long will I have to wait for it? And I have a seat now, I might not get a seat if I change, maybe it’s better to stay on this one.  If I prevaricate long enough the decision is made.  Stay.

Exiting is another exercise in navigating.  Despite indicators, I am lost until I’ve done it a few times.  And even then it’s no guarantee. Stairs to NW corner, that’s good.  Emerge from the world below, but am I facing N or W?  As I stood looking vainly up and down the street from a new station yesterday I discovered a new indicator.  The helicopter flight path on the Hudson River.  If I can see helicopters flying between buildings then I am heading the right way.

This little guy doesn’t give up his seat for anyone.