Look, I’m a big fan of the Big Apple. New York City offers so much, and is one of the handful of special American cities that has a unique feel and spirit all its own. Normally, I wouldn’t even compare Columbus to Gotham, because it’s just not fair.
But now I’ve finally found something where Columbus has the advantage: Columbus is not steeling itself for the “Summer of Agony” in 2017. New York City, in contrast, is.
It’s supposed to be the “Summer of Agony” in Manhattan because there’s going to be a partial shutdown of Penn Station, one of the principal transportation hubs for NYC commuters, to allow for repairs because the station’s tracks are falling apart. (In fact, two recent Amtrak derailments are blamed on the crappy quality of the Penn Station tracks.) The partial closure of Penn Station means that thousands of people who get to their jobs via rail to Penn Station are going to have to ditch their long-standing commuting patterns and find an alternative way to get to work. And in New York City, there just aren’t that many other options that aren’t already operating at peak, or close to peak, capacity.
So what are people who commute from Connecticut or New Jersey or Westchester County into the City supposed to do in the meantime? Some people are trying to get temporary housing in Manhattan, and some employers are offering work-at-home options. But here’s an idea — why not forget the New York City scene altogether and move to Columbus? It’s cheap, it’s friendly . . . and you’re not going to find much agony here. In fact, if you shop around, you might just find a place that allows you to take a brisk, refreshing, stress-free 20-minute walk to work.
Sure, Gothamites might scoff at the idea of leaving their land of towering skyscrapers and 24-hour delis for a place out here in “flyover country.” That’s fine and perfectly understandable . . . for now. Let’s see how they feel about it after living through the “Summer of Agony.” A few months of soul-rending, teeth-grinding stress during a two-hour commute might just change a few minds.