Four days a
week, I commute from my home to our company's office
in Lower Manhattan, where I look forward to seeing the
friends with whom I work.
But before I ever hit the office, I have already had
my morning meeting with another group of "friends"
- one which I also look forward to as part of the daily
I am fortunate to live in one of the more picturesque
neighborhoods in New York City. The Rockaway Peninsula
is a 10-mile long finger of land attached to the South
Shore of Long Island that juts out into the Atlantic
Ocean, linked to the rest of the city by the famous
"A-Train" immortalized by Duke Ellington in
the eponymous song. While most of the 842 miles of trackage
that makes up the city subway system affords a rider
a pretty boring view - endless miles of dank underground
tunnels or, on above-ground elevated routes, views of
parking lots, gas stations, fast-food joints, back yards
or apartment buildings - riders on my line get their
full $2.25 worth, IF they choose to look.
bound "A-Train" traversing the Swing
Bridge over Jamaica Bay.
The first half of my trip in is aboveground,
and the first few miles are on a stretch of track that
parallels the Atlantic coastline. Some days, gray fog
rolls in off the sea, making it tough to see anything,
but other days, the view is crystal-clear -joggers on
the seaside wooden boardwalk, waves crashing against
the beach , ships out on the horizon, and even the northern
part of the Jersey Shore, way off in the distance.
After several stops, the train turns north, away from
the ocean, and crosses Jamaica Bay, a large inland bay
separating the Peninsula from the southern coastline
the Brooklyn/Queens mainland. Off in the distance is
the quaint marine community of Broad Channel, once a
fishing village, but even today, an unusual island town
in the middle of the bay, reachable only by the train
line and a vehicular causeway.
Egret at Jamaica Bay. Nature photography by Laura