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C'est la Z

Hidden Communities of New York

Now that I'm not teaching CS every day, I find the desire to maybe write about some other things. I've still got a bunch of CS and education posts lined up, but for today, something different.

I was out for my morning run a couple of days ago. I usually leave my apartment between 5:00 and 5:45, go to the Hudson River and run an out and back. It's still pretty quiet at that time. When I leave later, the park is much more filled with runners, running groups, and bike commuters.

I'm heading south and walking north is an older couple. I say older couple but let's be fair, They're probably around my age and I'm just older than I care to admit although based on my current pace and recovery time, I should know better.

We wave good morning to each other and keep on our way. A little later, I see a younger man walking and running south (it was really hot and humid). We cross paths regularly but since we were going in the same direction and frequently wave, I slowed to join him. I said that after waving high for a couple of years, we might as well learn each other's names. We fist bumped, or rather he went for the bump, I went for the handshake, we switched but then finally synced. So, that's how I met Chris. We chatted for a few minutes - we both live in Chelsea, how we both get an energy boost whenever we see our "running buddies" in the morning, and also about some of the other early morning runners we've met.

He named Vicky, who I've been waving to for three or four years. Then I gave him Suki - the first person I started saying hello to. Suki and I would cross paths near Stuy, her walking north, me running south. She would greet everybody with a warm smile, a wave and a strong Good Morning! After a while, I slowed my run one day to get to know here. We also talked about Priscilla, the Mayor of Hudson River Park - at least to us early risers. Priscilla would always be walking or running on the path along with her magnificent dog Buddy. Unfortunately, Buddy passed about a year ago. We both lamented that we haven't seen Priscilla lately and we both hope it's because our schedules have changed.

We talked of a few others and I noted that I really have to introduce myself to that couple I passed earlier and then went we on to complete our individual morning workouts.

I got to thinking about this community. It's not a normal community. We don't all know each others names and really very little about each other but every morning, or at least a few times a week we've come to expect to see each other and greet each other with a smile, a happy hello, or a thumbs up or some other encouragement. We get a boost when we do but we grow concerned when we don't see our morning amigos.

In New York, we don't have that small town everyone knows their neighbors thing. Heck, I live in a 20 story apartment building and barely know my neighbors. We also don't have neighborhood schools and the mom and pop store everywhere is a dying breed. Yet, we still have these weird little communities that crop up. I look forward to seeing my running buddies again early tomorrow morning.

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