nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

The kindness of strangers

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First time on the New York subway (that’s the underground or tube to my fellow Londoners). Taking my buggy (must learn to call it stroller here to avoid yet more confusion – we speak the same language apparently) down the endless steps, making sure to go the right direction (uptown or downtown), learning which are the fast trains, which stop everywhere – numbered lines go up and down, alpabetical lines go across. Boring but functional. The subway looks pretty unloved, it’s dingy but post Guiliani, it’s supposed to be safe and it’s pretty cheap at $2.25 flat fare. Getting a buggy through the turnstyles is challenging. I am told to swipe my Metrocard (Oystercard, but not as clever), turn the turnstyle manually and then pull the heavy metal gate to gain access. At which point an alarm invariably goes off and I look like a fare dodger. Marvellous. The stairs are way steeper than I’m used to, but so far I’ve been offered help most of the time, by men and women alike. I think they are mostly shocked and take pity on me, brave enough to do this on my own. I treat my final helper to a little British humour and say I’ll see him here same time next week. He responds by looking at me like I’m a crazy person and walks off quite quickly. Must work on my jokes.

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