Saturday, May 5, 2007
I recently returned from a brief trip to our office in New York. It's actually on Long Island, which albeit close in proximity to New York, couldn't be more different than the real New York nor a real island.
I'll spare you the boring details about Long Island. It's long, it's an island, and it is bisected by a long expressway called interestingly enough, the Long Island Expressway. On the west end of the island you have Brooklyn on the south of the expressway and Queens on the north. As you break from the tractor beam of culture and prosperity, you are then subjected to mile after mile of suburban housing developments, shopping centers and office parks. Our office is situated in one of these, about 50 miles east of Manhattan in a small suite within a small office park not far from the freeway and the municipal airport.
50 miles may sound a bit far to some, and near to others. In a normal part of this country, 50 miles may take 40 minutes or so by car. Here it takes about one and a half hours of frenetic stop and go traffic that leaves one stressed for the next several hours once you've arrived. I couldn't imagine doing this commute daily. I've been coming to this office every few months for about 3 years and every time I wish I had just one more day so that I could make it into the City. The distance of 50 miles is just off-putting enough that I never bother to go in.
When I think of an island, I think of an untethered, serene land mass surrounded by millions of gallons of blue ocean. I think of fires on the beach, the warm Mediterranean sun and a slower pace. I imagine that save for Cuba, most island nation peoples are pretty happy folk too. There is a calming quality to living by the sea. My guess is that the fact that islanders are separated from mainlanders by ocean, there is a certain freedom in that autonomy and isolation. After spending time on Long Island, I find it sadly ironic that although technically an island, it's neither serene, nor isolated.