Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How Not to Travel to Columbia from NYU (A Richly Illustrated Guide)

1) Leave oneself 35 minutes to get there because, hey, it takes 35 minutes to get to the Met, and clearly W 116th St. is just like E 86th St. It's... uptown. (In the space of a year and a half, I've officially become Manhattan provincial.)

2) Take the A/C to 116th St. on the assumption that it'll be quicker to walk across at 116th St. than it will be to walk across to Christopher St. and then take the 1 local all the way up. As it happens, there's a very sketchy park in the way.

In the con column, I was almost 20 minutes late to a talk at the Casa Hispánica. In the pro column, I am not dead. (It's been that kind of day.)


The good: Get oneself to A, take train to B, walk across the Columbia campus.

The bad: Take the train from A to B, walk to C.

The ugly (bonus map): Google Maps driving directions, which is the default output, include a figure eight off Riverside Drive.

Just to clarify, I wasn't looking at the Google map when I made my poor transit choice; rather, I was looking at this subway map that gives absolutely no indication of there being any kind of obstacle or alteration to the grid between the 116th St. A/C B/D stop and the Columbia campus:

Furthermore, the subway map does show some of the city's smaller parks, like Washington Square Park down here by NYU, so I thought it was a fair assumption that no green space on the map meant no green space in reality. But map, as Jonathan Z. Smith reminds us, is not territory.

I've gotten really badly lost in Barcelona twice in my life, and ended up on those occasions wandering into two distinct bad neighborhoods. At that time, I remember thinking that it would be a good idea to have a sort of map that could reflect that information. I was reminded of that thought again last night. 

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