Day 3: Pittsburgh to New York

Today is a travel day – I’m headed from Pittsburgh to New York City via Amtrak. I am up at 05:30 for breakfast with my parents (IHOP!). The sleep wasn’t plentiful but it was all I needed. I’m pretty amped and I always have trouble sleeping on nights before I leave for big trips. (I always put a significant amount of mental effort toward not drowning in anticipation of exciting events as long as I am able, or the rest of my life would become a purgatory I make for myself). I get a ride from dad into the city and find my train – there is only one in the station – to New York.

Philly Train Station - Amtrak - "Pennsylvanian"

Philly Train Station – Amtrak – “Pennsylvanian”

The ride is spectacular – I chose a window seat upon embarking and it’s provided me some good views along the way: gorgeous forested hillsides, the Horseshoe Curve at Altoona, dilapidated towns, Amish farms, and broken railway stations. For me, the hours really melt away on train rides. The end of a five-, six-, or eight-hour train ride seems to arrive after more enjoyable transit and is less painfully earned than does the landing at an airfield only sixty minutes from where I depart. I can get up, wander, meet other passengers – almost all of whom are in high spirits – and stay mobile – it seems the opposite (in all of the right ways) of the best of airplane rides. One of the best perks of all: coffee and other drinks are free to first-class passengers, and because I’m very fancy, I am counted among these.

Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge

I am positively excited about arriving in New York, in part because I am so tired at this point that all I want is a shower and a bed. Upon exiting the train late in the afternoon, I am invigorated with the continuous motion of the station. People are moving quickly from one place to another, and I join the herd, never pausing as I read the signs directing me to street level. Near the exit, there is a line for the escalator, and I dash up the three flights of stairs up to the street. About halfway upward it strikes me that I’m bound to develop some muscle from carrying this 35- or 40-pound pack around New York and then Europe. It’s over 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a high level of humidity. I halfway-regret my decision to bound up the stairs while carrying this pack.

After Thai food on the East Side with a friend of a few years back, I make my way to Queens and my hostel. I spend five hours on the rooftop terrace, staring at Manhattan and chatting with other travelers. My early bedtime is a forgotten dream amidst my excitement for the days and weeks to come. Tomorrow, I leave the U.S. for Germany, and I am now in full-on anticipation mode. I am counting the minutes to my arrival at Tegel Airfield.

Manhattan Skyline from hostel rooftop terrace

Manhattan Skyline from hostel rooftop terrace

About Steve Capone

Interested in Domestic and Foreign Policy, Ethics, and Political Thought. One-time adjunct instructor and current full-time educator of small humans. Europhile, historophile, & bibliophile. M.S. Philosophy (Univ. of Utah 2013) M.A. Humanities (Univ. of Chicago 2007)
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