I often have an early morning appointment on 78th street in Upper West Side between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues – two parallel arteries leading almost the length of the borough. I take the M11 from 120th, which goes down Amsterdam, takes a left towards Columbus and creeps down to 80th. The bus fills up quickly with school kids, some with parents, others with childminders, and the bigger ones doing their homework on their knees. Then there are workers : female security officers off to their morning shift, care workers on their way to the rest homes, and men and women with briefcases. Its a demographic mix and cooperation levels are high.
Today a couple of women chat animatedly in Spanish and I marvel at their early morning fervour. The woman next to me checks her Facebook and crosses herself as we pass the Cathedral of St John the Divine. I get off at 80th for breakfast at a place which does really good coffee. The bar is full of the usual suspects: a middle-aged hipster couple having oatmeal – he with David Lynch hair and chunky roll neck, she with grey curls au naturel, red jeans and lace up boots. They look over curiously when I order my poppyseed bagel. There are also parents interacting a little too loudly with their kids – ‘ gimme five ‘ they say, ‘awesome choice’. I make my way along 78th in the aftermath of the snow. It’s around 8 am and the best time of day.