Strike Diary

The MTA continues to refuse to concede and return to work. This morning it was imperative that I actually go to work. As a freelancer, I have a particular leeway, as long as the job gets done on time, and on budget no one really cares about the details of when I did it, or how much time it took, but besides being behind schedule on the show I'm currently working on, I also had an interview for a new project. The two are in the same neighborhood, so... off I go. The following is recreated from notes I scribbled as I walked.

8:30am, Home: The art director of a project I am up for calls and asks if I can be in his office on Canal St. by 1, with my portfolio. I say yes. I estimate that this will take me 2 and a half hours of walking, so I decide to sleep a bit longer.

9:15, Home: Awake and showering, getting ready to leave. See previous post.

10:07am, 145th:
I'm headed down Broadway carrying a jigsaw in a case, and a backpack full of art. Four Blocks from home I realize that when I transferred everything from my usual bag to my backpack I didn't take the keys to the theatre. I go back to get them.

10:30am, 125th:
I debate briefly crossing town here and getting on Metro North to shortcut to Grand Central. I decide against it, which later proves to be a mistake.

10:55am, 99th: Out of the triple digits. My chills have been replaced by sweat. My chest and head seem particularly warm.

11:00am, 96th: I reach the "HOV4 Barrier" just as the police begin taking down the barricades. From 5am to 11am no cars are allowed beyond this point without 4 people inside. Lots of people have been willing to pick up strangers at this point if they had less than the required 4. I would have been willing to get into a car here, but now it isn't necessary so no one offers.

11:15am, 86th: My iPod dies. I've been debating replacing it for a while now, it's a second generation, and the battery life is a LOT shorter than it used to be. This makes it official, I'll likely replace it within the week.

11:20am, 82nd: After fidgeting with my iPod for a few blocks and confirming that the battery is indeed drained I put it away, and realize that somewhere in the last few blocks I've dropped my right glove, removed while I worked with the iPod.

11:45am, 74th:
I stop off and buy a cheap pair of replacement gloves. I notice at this point that my knee is beginning to feel twingy. I haven't worn my brace lately, as my knee has felt fine the last few months but this walk is definitely taking it's toll on my joints.

12:00pm, 54th:
Roommate K works in this neighborhood, and has walked this far twice now. He said last night that I'd never make it to Canal, I'm beginning to wonder if he isn't right. I'm averaging 50 blocks an hour, about 2.5 miles. The web tells me that the average human can walks 3 mph. I guess I'm below average.

12:15pm, 42nd:
Times Square is as crowded as ever, I guess the tourists are able to make it this far at least. The TKTS booth seems more barren that usual. Less than a dozen people in line. All of this is probably doing a real number of Broadway.

12:40pm, 10th:
I'm considering taking a cab at this point. My knee has moved from feeling twingy to hurting. I'm so close though! I pick up the pace a little, hoping I can make the final stretch in 20 minutes.

12:55pm, Canal:
I'm on the street I need finally. Now I just have to figure out where the building I need is.

1:05pm, Canal: Found it! I'm a little late, but it turns out to be okay. The artistic director I was to meet is also late.

1:40pm, Canal:
Back to the street. Having been still for a half an hour has allowed fatigue to really set in, and my knee is stiff. I'm limping a bit, but I got the job!! A really exciting project that is scenic design, but entirely unrelated to theatre. It's a strange project, but an amazing opportunity, I can't wait to get started on this!

1:45pm, Walker: Lunch. The strike is the talk of the town, everyone at the resaurant I stop at is discussing the possibilities of it. No one seems to be taking the TWU's side though.

2:00pm, White:
I arrive at the theatre. I'm so happy to put this damned saw damned I can hardly describe it. It only weighs about 7 pounds, but carrying it over 150 blocks has made it seem like it weighs 700.

5:30pm, White:
I've done a lot less on the set than I should have really, but it's dark and getting colder by the minute, so I decide to start the trek home.

5:45pm, Grand: I call Roommate K to see how he's getting home. He intends to stay downtown, see a show then head home by cab. My plan at the moment is to get to the numbered streets, find a cab to Grand Central and take Metro North to 125th.

6:00pm, 10th:
My powers of coincidence kick in. A friend from home who is planning to move to NYC soon is in town for a job interview and wants to meet up. He's in Jersey City but he has a rental car. He says he'd be happy to come over and pick me up. Traffic is a huge mess, but I thankfully agree.

6:45pm, 13th:
While waiting I take a pit stop at Rite Aid and pick up Advil, and Therma-Care heat wraps for me knee. I know I'll need these later. My ride arrives about this time.

7:00pm, West Side Highway: Now this is how travel was meant to be. I'll be home in less than 20 minutes at this point.

7:30pm, Home:
Home! A full two hours sooner than I really expected to be. My knee is killing me, and I have a headache, but I did it. I managed to navigate my day regardless of the obstacles that the TWU set before me.

I am NOT looking forward to the prospect of doing this tomorrow. The producer of the theatre I'm working at has offered me her apartment for the weekend, which is very close to Canal and the theatre. It's a bit odd to think of staying in a relative stranger's apartment, but I was willing to get in a stranger's car so I don't suppose this is much worse. I probably won't take her up on it until Friday, but if this doesn't break soon it will probably be a necessity soon.

2 Response to "Strike Diary"

  • Nita Says:

    What a day! I'm soooo glad that the strike is over and you at least got a great new job out of this long walk. May you be back to subway sketches tomorrow!


  • Crystal Says:

    WOW. What a walk. I give you credit though, I would have been whining the whole way! At least you made the best out of a bad situation and got where you needed to be despite the obstacles. Have a great holiday and make sure to rest that knee this weekend!