I Totally [heart] New York City

A week ago if you asked why I was coming to New York City I would have said, “for a race”. And I would have mentioned how I was in no way anxious to return to the city. Sitting on the Supershuttle in traffic (which is a story all its own) I started getting this familiar feeling in my stomach. Sort of a warm sensation – sort of like… “Oh my god!” I thought, “I was homesick for New 2008_07_16_New_York_City 029 York City?! How can that be? When you lived here there was no to escape from the city, it’s big and crowded and busy and, and, and full of interesting people, and good food, and fun things to do… BEN – STOP IT!!!” I fought it, but clearly my love of New York City had to come back out sometime. The four years I spent here were really memorable (and hard and tiring – an engineering degree and Division I swimming is no cake walk), but I never got to live in the City without a hundred responsibilities ensuring that I never had time to live it up. When I moved away I tried to find someplace way less busy with way more outdoor stuff to do: Hawaii. It’s really good to be back in New York City.

I’m staying on the upper east side at a home stay, which is a real treat. Actually, I’m staying in the apartment, but the rest of the family is gone. I’d say I’m alone, but you’re never alone in New York. After my three hour shuttle ride into Manhattan from the airport (They used to call it Super Slow Shuttle, and, while none of their customers complained, they also had very few customers.) I had dinner with my old swim coach, Jim Bolster, and went to bed. My mind was so full restless. This city just has so much energy! I’ve heard that strong thoughts can effect physical surroundings (the law of attraction) – if true, the stray thoughts alone in New York City can induce greatness for anyone that pays attention.

I awoke at 5:30 and ran across central park to Columbia University. Back at my old pool Ijoined a group of triathletes for a swim workout coached by the Columbia Men’s Swimming Assistant Coach, Erik Scheingoltz. Eric started at Columbia in 2001, which is the same year that I came to New York. This, however, is Eric’s last month with Columbia Swimming. He’s taken a job as a head coach across the river in New Jersey. (I forget the name of the school, but when I remember I’ll update this.) We’ll really miss him.

In the afternoon I went for a bike ride though the park. I was really excited to see the power data from my new Quarq Cinqo, but my Garmin Edge 705 must have been turned on in my bag because the battery only lasted five minutes into the ride. ARGHH!!

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. He was also really into what I had to say about astrology. I find it refreshing that an engineer is open to and interested in things that can’t be measured or studied scientifically (as of yet).

    What I find surprising is the 5:30 wake-up. Ben knows this is not pro, but he did it anyway. Then again, I know how ridiculously hard it can be to find a good place to swim in NYC.

  2. I have only been to NYC once and I (heart, heart, heart) it so much! We went for five days and it was truly incredible – everything you think it will be and then some. Living in the UK I used to think London was the best melting pot but NY is the business! We plan on taking our daughter there when she’s old enough to appreciate (and remember) it. Hawaii can’t be a bad second tho? We live on the edge of a forest and five miles from the beach so can relate!

  3. Loren – listen to Greg. I don’t know if astrology has merit, but it’s interesting, and since I don’t know much about it, I’m not going to try to condemn it. The law of attraction, on the other hand, really doesn’t need to be true or false. All it says is that if you have a good attitude, good things will happen. Since having a good attitude is an asset to anyone, I’m all for testing out the law of attraction.

    TG – Five days is nothing! The greatest things in New York are found when you live here, and you learn the local stops. The hole in the wall Indian food or which comedy clubs have the best shows, or when the guy at the bagel shop asks if you’d like “the usual” when you stumble in after closing time.

  4. Blech.

    Call me when NYC develops a sense of humanity and regular trash pick up. Mountains, rivers, trees, and breathable air would also be useful additions.

    New York has always struck me as akin to a huge Las Vegas casino: Everybody’s a hustler and if you’re not gonna lay your money down, you’re a waste of their time. And they let you know it. Some people find this attitude chic or endearing. Myself, I have trouble liking a culture that treats people like meat.

    New Yorkers think they’re the biggest and the best, and the constant stream of outsiders oohing and ahhing (primarily at the seething masses of… other outsiders) only serves to reinforce this smugness. While it is the Rome of our day (you may feel free to take that however you choose), I never understood the I <3 NY sentiment. Then again, I like to escape the stench of close quarters every once in awhile, so I may not be meant to understand it all…

  5. NYC recycles and picks up trash very regularly (recycling was suspended for about a year or two earlier in the decade and there was an outrage). The State boasts rivers and gorges and lakes and clean air, and NYC actually has better air than most large cities. Here’s a link where you can see up to date air quality reports.

    Brian, for somebody who has spent all of two days in New York City, and who grew up in a suburb of one of the most narcissistic cities in the world (Seattle, I still love you), you certainly are smug.

    The I <3 NY sentiment comes after you’ve spent enough time here to realize that the people aren’t rude – they’re busy – and the New York attitude is more pride than prejudice.

  6. Ben, you should totally download Moby’s “New York, New York” if you want a NY lovefest with a great beat. Here is the music video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbQNgOKzZh8 (courtenay: “groan”)

    I haven’t lived in NY, just visited a few times and raced there twice, so my opinion may not count for too much (although I couldn’t live there as a serious triathlete or cyclist, and it may just be too crowded and busy for me period), but NY has a lot of great things going for it. I don’t think it’s been mentioned yet, but NYers are some of the most politically and socially informed people in the world. It should be noted that they have been dead against the war in Iraq the whole time, even though the 9/11 attack in their city was supposedly linked to Iraq. NYers knew better, and you have to give them credit for that.

    However, SF is my favorite city, and the Bay Area by far the best metropolitan area in the country. Compared to NY there’s more scenery, more fresh air, more opportunity to find yourself out in the country on a bike ride, the surrounding countryside has more to offer, there are better universities right there, the weather is better, it’s easier to get around…

    In the end, it comes down to preference and lifestyle. But bashing NY is just bashing cities in general.

  7. “..there are better universities right there…”

    Wow, an otherwise positive comment and then he sneaks in a University jab! Columbia, NYU, even Barnard are every bit as good (better) as Stanford and Cal Berkeley – just not at sports.

  8. I knew it Ben! you’re in love with NY! dont fight it jus go with it. And why shouldn’t you be? When there’s no place west of the Hudson to get a decent bagel, actual service at a restaurant, or people who know how to walk/drive/bike in a straight line, its no wonder you miss it.

    Good luck at the race, do Columbia athletics proud.

    “There is a tremendous perfume in the city. New York is a city of our time, unmistakably. This city is epic. The frenetic way, the movement of people, the temperament, the passion.”
    -Santiago Calatrava

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