Door to Door: Your Commute and Your Life

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The WNYC Culture Department has launched a new series, Door To Door exploring the way we commute. Robert "Buzz" Paaswell, Director of the University Transportation Research Center at City College, will guide the discussion throughout the month and help you redesign your commute.

Today: How have you rearranged your life for your commute? Where on your list of priorities does your commute stand? Comment below!


Robert "Buzz" Paaswell

Comments [31]

Mike from Inwood

I moved to Inwood because being on the end of the 'A' meant I would always get a seat on the train. I have extreme varicose veins and must wear compression stockings to prevent my feet from swelling 2 shoes sizes. This is very painful. I don't look that old and people just don't realize that I need a seat. I got tired of the dirty looks when I'd squeeze between two people on the bench on an almostfilled train. Now my commute is longer, but less painful because I can sit.

Sep. 18 2009 01:56 AM
perri from Brooklyn

In the time it takes me to get to work in the morning I could fly to Washington, DC and have time to spare. I spend at least three hours commuting to and from work, M-F.

I take a bus and transfer to two or three trains depending on the route I take. The route I take all depends on which bus arrives at the bus stop first.

During my commute I pass the time listening to my mp3 player while reading a book or magazine. Sometimes I'll watch a video on my player, like a show that I didn't have time to watch at home.

Colleagues have asked why I don't consider moving closer to work. Simple. I can't afford it. But, it would be cool if I could get my employer--one of the largest landowners in the city--to move to Brooklyn!

I work in upper Manhattan.

Sep. 17 2009 10:08 PM
ivan from nyc


Sep. 17 2009 11:06 AM
Sandra from Astoria, Queens

Oh the irony--I missed this segment because I was extremely late to work this morning due to being trapped on a stalled subway car and then having to walk several stops because the train was finally rerouted...

Sep. 17 2009 11:05 AM

I commuted for 3 1/2 years from Passaic county using NJ Transit.
I drove through 4 counties and 2 states before I got to Ramsey Rt 17 train station. ( Passaic, Orange, Rockland, Bergen) I woke up at 5 am to get the 6:02 to Hoboken, then the PATH to 9th St station and then walk 7 blocks to get to my desk by 7:15.

Others on my train coming from Port Jervis got up at 3am. Sometimes when I worked late, I'd see them on the 6pm express train.
I can't image any home life for those people. I saw them 5 days a week.

Sep. 17 2009 11:04 AM
jtt from jackson heights

As someone who used to work weekends, and continues to use mass transit for weekend outings, I'd like to see the MTA get over it's "no one really needs to get anywhere on the weekends" additude. The service changes often seem nonsensical and capricious, and are too often not announced in advance.

Sep. 17 2009 11:02 AM
Robert from NYC

Must be a Bronx thing, I too born in Bx swore I would never take a job more than 1/2 hr from where I lived. And I did just that be it by public transport or walking.

Sep. 17 2009 10:59 AM
Scott Smith

Has anyone ever linked the explosion of Manhattan workers moving further and further away to the constant opposition to any proposed development that would make a REAL dent in the housing shortage in the city? Making a real dent in that shortage would require something of Atlantic Yards scale.

Sep. 17 2009 10:58 AM
Maria from Dingmans Ferry from Dingmans Ferry, PA

I commute from Pike County, PA (Dingmans Ferry) to NYC every day (3 hrs each way door to door).

PA was the only place I could afford to buy a house, and my husband and I didn't want to rent so that is my commute. There are no jobs out where I am so there is no choice but to do the commute. I take a bus and subway to get to work (and drive to the bus).

About 2/3 of the people living where I live commute 90 minutes plus each way every day. I think it's worth it because I live in beautiful surroundings.

Sep. 17 2009 10:57 AM
merrill from NYC

I rented a cheap office and after renting it, came out to see where I was and figured I was at the midway point between subway stops.

Sep. 17 2009 10:57 AM

How interesting Katherine!

Sep. 17 2009 10:57 AM
Catherine from Inwood

I moved from Woodside, Queens to Inwood for my husband's job and for the parks. Now my communte is 50 minutes. Yesterday I spent over 4 hours on the MTA. To get to Baruch College I take the 1 to the 2/3 to the R/W. Then back home to walk the dog and meet the super. Then the A to the B/D for a meeting in midtown. Then the 6 to Hunter College. Then walked to Columbus Circle and took the A home at 10:00pm. The only thing I have to say about it is I can sometimes correct papers on the train.

Sep. 17 2009 10:57 AM
John from Brooklyn

CORRECTION on "manufacturing":

Any small artisanal company that specializes in handmade goods -- from chocolate to clothing -- is a "manufacturing" company.

There are hundreds of these in New York City.

Sep. 17 2009 10:56 AM
Katherine from Brooklyn

I began commuting by bicycle on Sept. 12, 2001. It was transformative. I developed an entirely different relationship with the city, with my body, with my workday. I found that biking eight miles to midtown was actually faster than taking the train, which astonished me.

There's a reason NYC bikers are religious in their fervor for their rides: it's a holy experience.

Sep. 17 2009 10:55 AM
Daniel Cassidy from brooklyn

i watched my father drive more than an hour each way to work every day in heavy traffic. He always came home exhausted and agitated. I decided I when I was young I would never ruin my life like that, and refuse to work anywhere I can't bike to.

Sep. 17 2009 10:55 AM
Jackie from Brooklyn

The sheer amount of people who have moved to Williamsburg over the past 11 years has made any morning commute a miserable one. Subway cars packed to the gills for up to 15 minutes. People holding onto the vents, coffee spilled on people's shoulders. Not enough time for the hundreds of people to ext the train before they close the doors on you.

Not to mention much of the recent residents of Williamsburg are new college students who refresh themselves every year (*awesome*). These new L trainers lack any subway etiquette and do not understand that they must take off their backpack so we can all "fit" on the cow herd of a subway car.

For a while, my job allowed me to come in at 11am, which made my commute less stressful for me, but they have reconsidered and are now making me arrive during the height of the commuting day 10 am.

I am highly considering moving to a new location further away, but with an easier commute. Don't get me strarted, this is seriously the bain of my existence.

Sep. 17 2009 10:54 AM
Jemal from Jamaica

I can feel Steven. I live in Saint Albans (right next to Cambria Heights) and we arent really close to anything. The LIRR is a 7 min drive, the subway at Jamaica Station is a 10 min drive and every major highway is at least 8 min away. The only direct line to the city without a car is the express bus which is $5.50. My wife and I are looking at moving into Nassau county and the chief concern is how close we'll be to a LIRR station.

Sep. 17 2009 10:53 AM
Hubert Howe from Queens

Half an hour is a "standard" commute? I know very few people who have such a luxury. Many take more than an hour, even without the congestion and delays that are typical. Subways? How many people can get a seat? At least in a car you can listen to WNYC!

Sep. 17 2009 10:53 AM
Austin from Manhattan

I moved from Brooklyn, where I lived for 6 years, to Manhattan due in part to the commute. I can now walk eight blocks to work instead of enduring the arduous 50 minute train ride.
I miss my old neighborhood, I had roots there, but the extra time in my week seems to me like an appropriate trade off.

Sep. 17 2009 10:52 AM
David from New York

In theory commuting by bike is now a much better option for office workers.

Bloomberg has just signed bill Introductory Number 871-A that requires office building owners to allow bicycle access for their tenants.

From the City's press release:
“Upon request of a tenant, owners of office buildings with freight elevators must provide to the Department of Transportation a copy of the bicycle access plan that has been prepared for the tenant, describing an authorized route for bicyclists to bring their bikes into their offices. Exemptions will be granted if the Department of Buildings deems the freight elevator unsafe for use by cyclists, or if the Department of Transportation finds that there is sufficient secure alternate off-street or indoor no-cost bicycle parking within three blocks. The bill also creates a temporary bicycle commuting task force, which will work to establish partnerships with private entities to develop sheltered bicycle parking in public/private spaces. The task force will report its findings to the Mayor and to the Speaker by the end of next year."

We can all be hipsters now. Nothing about fixed gears being mandatory though ;)



Sep. 17 2009 10:52 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

I pay a considerably higher rate to take the Express bus from Brooklyn rather than to take stand on the F train, transfer, then stand on the A train - I always get a seat and I spend the 30 to 40 minutes reading - for me, it is money well spent.

Sep. 17 2009 10:52 AM
NKH from harlem

when i was applying for jobs i always looked up the job location on google maps to see what train/bus i'd need to take there and if it was too difficult to commute there i wouldn't apply for the job.

Sep. 17 2009 10:50 AM
Sarah from Brooklyn

When I got a job which was walking distance from my apartment I stopped taking the subway every day. I feel a lot more connected to my neighborhood now but I dont read nearly as much as I used to and I miss it. I never thought I'd miss the subway but for this reason I do.

Sep. 17 2009 10:50 AM

We live in a NJ town that was built in the 1870s around the commute to Manhattan. Then it was a pleasant train or canal commute, 40 minutes or less.

140 years later, many of the beautiful homes remain here but thanks to the modern age you can add 30 minutes to the commute and subtract MUCH civility I'm sure.

Sep. 17 2009 10:50 AM
Anne from Merrick

I just quit my job to be a freelancer from home - because of my commute.

An hour and a half or two hours each way per day adds up. And you don't get paid for it. Quickly turns a 40 hour week into a 50 hour week. And when everyone's working overtime these days, I felt like I never saw my home.

Sep. 17 2009 10:48 AM
Marissa from Manhattan, NY

I reverse-commute from the UWS to Montclair, NJ - which takes about an hour and a half each way - so I moved closer to the 2/3 line with express stops to Penn Station, I pay more rent than I did living near the 125th street 1 line, but it shaves 15 minutes off my commute. That's half an hour of my life each day!

Sep. 17 2009 10:48 AM

I was stuck in traffic yesterday and was thinking what a horrible inefficient way of commuting it was. How many lives are lost, in man-hours, just sitting in traffic every day?

What a waste it is to spend all that money on cars - 30-100K +, plus gas and insurance, just so you can get stuck behind a school bus and get pissed off at having to stop every five seconds.

Sep. 17 2009 10:48 AM
NJ Transit Commuter from Somerset County, NJ

Some New Jersey towns promote themselves as being "closer than Brooklyn" to midtown. What they don't say is that some NJ Transit train lines, like Raritan Valley for instance, is so consistently off-schedule, and so inconvenient because of the Newark station transfer, that there is a whole class of commuters that moved to towns along the line for the sake of a better family life, must move away again, after a few years of their life-altering commute that they were not warned of before their move from the city. How have you rearranged your life because of your commute? I certainly hope that NJ Transit ruminates on exactly this question during their meditation periods.

Sep. 17 2009 10:46 AM
M. L. from Brooklyn

I live in Brooklyn and split my time freelancing from home and working in an office in the city. I've considered moving in with my boyfriend, who lives in Westchester. He's near a Metro-North station, fortunately, but it's still over an hour by express train to the city. If I were just freelancing from home, I wouldn't have to worry about commute times (nor how I'd be able to afford keeping a car). But because all the jobs I'm interested in are in New York City, I feel it's currently best to stay in my Brooklyn apartment.

Sep. 17 2009 10:42 AM
Gabrielle from Brooklyn

i don't like the 1 train (dirty, slow) so i leave a little early and get off at the Union Square stop (off the L) and walk to the West Village. it's a much more enjoyable commute that way.

i used to ride my bike to work over the williamsburg bridge but delancy street is a nightmare during rush hour - especially during the darker months.

Sep. 17 2009 09:33 AM
George from Bay Ridge

Commuting on the subway, I find it an excellent time to think and read and look out the window.

And listen to Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate on my MP3 player, of course.

Sep. 17 2009 04:11 AM

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