The joy I find in cities is rooted in small moments that I share with strangers in transit. I share my favorites here.

The Department of Well-Being

Today I thought you might like to hear about other folks out there trying to build community and awareness in cities. The Department of Well-Being is one of those groups. I first heard about them at a conference on urban art and realized that I had seen their “Honk Less, Love More” signs around New York at some point.

The Department of Well Being takes a whimsical approach to promoting well-being by Continue reading

For My Day Dreamers Out There

Another guest post today from Alex, a fellow New Yorker. If you don’t live here, you need to understand that Select Buses are buses where you pay at a kiosk before boarding and are supposed to retain a receipt for occasional on-board inspections. Says Alex:


“Super attractive girl gets on the Select Bus without a receipt and tries to give the driver cash. He mumbles an unhelpful response and she’s like “um okay, so I’ll just get on?” No driver response, so new-to-NYC-buses-pretty-girl stays on, none the wiser.

I decide to be chivalrous – I get off a stop early and Continue reading

Have a ____ weekend

Usually when I leave the train I barely notice the rote speech by the conductor over the intercom: “Stand clear of the closing doors,” or “Next stop is Chambers Street.” Even if you don’t ride transit, you regularly interact with people whose rehearsed lines, like “have a good day,” barely register with you before you instinctively chirp back “you too.”

Brick textureRecently my mindless Friday morning routine was broken when Continue reading

Started with a Song

Today, my friend Ruth shares one of my favorite subway stories:

It was a long workday and I had just left my friends after a late night movie far out in Astoria park. Luckily, I transferred at my favorite station, Grand Central Terminal.

R+A hands

I noticed him on the platform. He noticed me. We got on the same car. An African drummer joined us. He was drumming his drum and singing a song. All about how we gotta spread the looove. He made us both laugh and smile at one another.

The drummer left. I made the first move. I commented how after a long day that was really uplifting. He smiled and nodded nervously.

Continue reading

All You Need is a Ziploc

I was struggling to open a new pouch of almonds while standing with some heavy bags on the 2 train. 0415151756A seated woman, noting my conundrum, offered some advice: pop the bag open from the bottom. I tried, but ended up with unwanted holes. Sealing up an unsealable bag of snacks is one of life’s big dilemmas, you know, so I was lost in thought. A rude voice from behind and a thudding at my ankles brought me back to my Manhattan-bound reality: “Miss, couldn’t you feel me hittin’ you with my stroller, and you can’t get out of the way?” She drove the stroller wheels into my boots to make her point. It felt ironic, Continue reading

Not Living a Life of Wishin’

Another guest post from my nomadic Aunt Maureen today, this time on the West CoastIMG_0379:
“Recently at a Macy’s outside of Seattle, I was shopping for mattresses and talking to the sales lady, who was working right next to the luggage department. I asked her if it was hard to work next to the luggage department: Doesn’t it want to make you take a trip or go on vacation? She told me, Continue reading

How to Crowd Surf in the City

0328151418dIt was an uptown 2 train at rush hour, crowded in the way trains are only crowded after passing through an ice storm. As some guys’ bag pressed into my back I heard a scuffle rising out from in between repeated “stand clear of the closing doors” announcements. A man was determined to get on but so far only his foot had succeeded and people were yelling at him to step off. “I’m a real New Yorker,” he said as the rest of the train rolled their eyes, “I don’t care if it’s crowded.” Continue reading

Art By Bus Inspires Community Participation

Roanoke, VA has caught on to the connections between creativity, spontaneity, and public transit with their Art By Bus project. Throughout the month of March, an artist in residence is riding transit throughout the region and composing inspired pieces to share with the public. The program has also created a platform for others to share their thoughts inspired on the bus. Can we bring this to more cities across the world? 

Bologna Sandwiches

Sherrie Smith, Dreamstime images

Today I have my first guest post, coming from my Aunt Maureen in Iowa: I was waiting for my airplane in the Quad Cities airport in Moline, Illinois on my way to Las Vegas. I was talking about home prices to a random passenger who was waiting for the same airplane. We compared the average price of homes in the Quad cities versus Chicago, Illinois, and found that there was an average difference of $300,000.

And then he came out with: “I don’t want to Continue reading

Take My Picture?


My favorite thing when I’m in a crowd of people all focused on one attraction is to look not at the attraction, but at the other people, and to just enjoy the weird things that people do in those situations. Once while visiting the Statue of Liberty, and perhaps feeling a bit snobbish as a newly-minted resident of New York, I had to laugh at the fairly identical nature of all the photos being taken at her base. Is it a basic human instinct to Continue reading