Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Urban Legends (for a very long time)

After a long tiring day at work and hot sweaty commute home, not to mention my ¾ mile walk from the PATH train to my apartment, I opened my mailbox and was surprisingly shocked when I read the cover of this week’s edition of New York Magazine.

In bold black letters was the cover article by Clive Thompson entitled, “Why New Yorkers Live Longer”. I could hardly run up two flights of stairs fast enough to read it. Finally, some good news, I thought, since secretly I ponder if working in New York is actually killing me. The article proclaims that New Yorkers are living longer than ever, and longer than most people in the country. It also points out that our life expectancy is increasing at a rate faster than that of the rest of the country. Am I shocked? Yes and no. New Yorkers are so accustomed to walking everywhere and their fast quick step pace by far surpasses anyone. I realized this when my friends from home came to visit recently and they both complained how fast I walked. It is a normal pace for me and for everyone here. Nonetheless, they had a difficult time keeping up. The article in New York Magazine summarizes their findings: People who walk faster live longer – and enjoy better health in their later years.

New Yorkers are known as the “slimmest city” due to the fact that people walk everywhere. Instead of jumping into the car and going to the mall, I walk 10 blocks to the path train in Hoboken and then from the path train at 33rd in NYC, I walk to 59th Street to Bloomingdale's (Quite a hike at a New York Pace). To grocery shop….you walk. Then proceed to carry your grocery bags home in your arms. It’s just a different lifestyle here. However, public transportation is everywhere and strictly an option for those who can afford it. “The city is its own health club!” It forces us to walk…up and down subway stairs….and quickly. I will be cruelly honest…I rarely see fat people in Manhattan. If I do, I can assume their tourists visiting midtown.

The article reminds us that New York was also the first major city to implement no smoking bans in bars & restaurants as well as removing trans-fats from restaurant menus. Urbanites here are fit, eating healthy and working out.

The working hours are long, the stress is high, the pressure to succeed is great; hey, when blessed with a few free minutes a day….it’s a quick fast pace to the gym.