When I got my first internship with the MTA in summer 2018, I got myself reassigned to the Civil Engineering department because I did not like working in a Manhattan office cubical and filing MetroCard complaints. One of the assignments of the Civil Engineers was to inspect ongoing subway station repairs. This meant I got to travel around New York City.
The way this relates to Cadogan’s walking experiences is that I did experience some of the things he mentioned. When Hakim, the Civil Engineer in charge of the inspections, brought me and another intern to the 145th street station in Harlem, I heard music playing loudly from the apartments and saw how most people living there were dark-skinned. I also saw the wealthy Upper East Side and how the residents were rarely seen hanging outside.
Our walking experiences are not entirely the same, of course. When I walk in a different neighborhood, I do not talk to people there because I do not have any interest in doing so. Also, a part of my perspective on the neighborhood is influenced by what I see online. For instance, when I wanted to go to Apple’s 5th Avenue store after work, I looked up directions on Google Maps and recognized the high-end clothing brands nearby. I knew the streets would probably be filled because of that and the fact that Central Park is 5 minutes away.
I think it is a well-thought-out idea to describe the differences between the South Bronx and the Upper East Side. I can certainly see how people in the Upper East Side have wealth, but don’t or can’t spend their leisure time with their neighbors. As for the South Bronx, it may not be an attractive neighborhood in terms of cleanliness, but it is rich in the way that the community gets together to have fun.