Stuck in Traffic on 34th St

Stuck in Traffic on 34th St

I always hear from people (notably, those who live in New Jersey) that driving in New York City is a nightmare. In my mind though, that’s just not true. The real driving nightmare is New Jersey… the city is easy by comparison.

Here’s the big difference in my mind: in the city, you typically go about 20-30 mph. I don’t think I’ve ever topped 40, discounting the highways. For the most part, you’re moving slow enough that you can get where you’re going. Drivers are aggressive, sure, but once you learn to be the same, it’s just not that bad. If you want to change lanes or something, you learn to just kind of do it – people around you will adapt, and they’re all going slow enough that they can adapt. And because there’s so much going on, everyone is paying attention; the driver who doesn’t quickly gets into an accident if they don’t. The traffic patterns in the city are also well thought out, for the most part, which helps alleviate some of the stress.

Many places in New Jersey have traffic every bit as bad as that in the city, and in addition to that it’s full of blind intersections and unclear, unreadable, or just hard to spot road signs. Drivers in New Jersey are apt to be more distracted; simply because driving around side streets, you’re less likely to pay a penalty for that – but it doesn’t mean that accidents don’t happen. In the suburbs, traffic typically goes a lot faster. 40+ mph on major roads isn’t uncommon, even where the you constantly have to worry about the one douchebag who’ll be doing 50-60 on a residential street (if you’re not worrying about this, you should). This is simply a lot more dangerous than what goes on in the city. And on the highways, high density traffic will sometimes still move at 60 mph – this is “If you fuck up, you’re dead” territory, and a lot more stressful.

Parking, on the other hand, is a different story – which is the real reason you’d have to be nuts to drive to the city. Though frankly NJ isn’t that much better half the time.

The moral of my little rant: walk, ride a bike, take mass transit. You’re nuts to drive at all.

(I realize this had nothing to do with photography, but this was a quasi-rant that’s been building for a while. The title describes the photo above pretty well; I usually have my camera on the passenger seat just because you never know what you can get from the driver’s side window when the car’s not moving.)

Exposure: 1/200″
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 38mm


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