Driving the East River Drive. Every risk, shimmering.


It was Tuesday. Yes, Autumn. Yes, New York City. But it certainly didn’t look or feel anything like this. Add 5,000 cars.  And move the map to the FDR, the East River Drive.

I’m one hour and 20 minutes on the road and Waze is signaling that I’m still 30 minutes away. 1:50 for a 0:45 min ride. And now, the crush of the morning rush.  My lower back is stiff.  There’s a nagging kink in my neck. And, I can’t settle. I shift left, then right. I grab my water bottle, take a pull. Tap my fingers on the console.  I glance at my watch. I’m going to be late. Didn’t count on this delay. I push the pace. DK won’t be late.

If you’ve never driven the East Side Highway, think Daytona 500 with a crudely straightened 3-lane track.  Three lanes made for 2.5.  Traffic, sardines, tightly packed. There’s zero room for a slip, no room for wandering. Hugging your left shoulder is a 4-foot cement girder offering a bumper car cushion. Drains (sink holes) are distributed every 1000 feet to release rain water.  Off your right shoulder, another car – open your window and finger brush the door panel.  You grip the wheel, white knuckles, and Glare, eyes panning up front, left, right and down (especially down to avoid the abyss) and then back again. The Gotham Death March.  I push the pace with the cabbies, we dart in and out, looking to gain one car length, maybe two.

SiriusXM is spinning 70s on 7.

Bachman-Turner OverDrive with ‘Rolling Down the Highway‘: The time’s real short, you know the distance is long / I’d like to have a jet but it’s not in the song/ cross your fingers for luck / We gotta keep moving if we’re going to make a buck .

And then,

Queen with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘:  Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality…Mamma I don’t want to die…just gotta get out…just gotta get right out of here.

The adrenaline rush surges; Langille’severy risk, a second, shimmering.”

The road sign calls out my exit: Exit 10, 49th street, 1000 feet.  I swing the car into the center lane, and then force my nose into a gap in the right lane, cutting in front of a cabbie who leans into his horn.  I tap the brakes to cut the speed to 50 ahead of the exit.

And then, here it comes.
The backside of the Rush.
The down shift from Alive to this.
Another set of Life’s moments passing, shimmering, fragile…

And a candid camera replay of Nate Pitts‘ Life Event – But life is made of such fragile moments / we recognize them / we feel them happening / we feel them slipping fast away.

I exit onto 49th and head cross-town.



  1. Does this bring back memories..l

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Serene fall day in downtown New York. Riding with DK at leisurely pace (for him) and admiring the fall colors. Absolutely lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stressed me out reading this, DK. Are you saying we are supposed to savour these moments?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fabulous contrast!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. and – another dk disaster avoided. near miss and adrenaline pumping for you. you live on the edge.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OneHotMess says:

    I have done this in 100 degree weather with a wedding cake in the truck that I had to get to the bistro for my daughter’s wedding coming from Maine. I could have used Bohemian Rhapsody to get me through.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hats off to you, DK, I couldn’t do it. Tough to have a car there..in so many ways. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Whew, I need a cigarette and I don’t even smoke! Great ride, DK, and so happy you completed it in one piece…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Imagine doing this everyday? That would require a lot of meditation for me!. I did feel stressed reading it, but Bohemian Rhapsody helped ease the pain. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bohemian Rhapsody puts it all in perspective… Rock on DK 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was in Minneapolis this weekend. The traffic can’t even compare to what you deal with, but I felt the City Gear engage as I waited through road construction, detours, bumper-to-bumper and serious idiots. I’m never so awake and alert as when I drive a city.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good music always helps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a fabulous piece of your writing, Dave. Can’t imagine almost two hours of attentive stress before you park your car, to walk through the doors of your office for the beginning of a full work day…and then the drive back… knowing the comfort of love & home ahead 🙂
    The beautiful photo, has such depth…and I note that the stress of traffic is building in pursuit..the flow in mass, encroaches, little traffic control, visible, but a lone crosswalk to navigate against the mass…in life there are moments of chaos.. and some days do seem insurmountable…thankfully, the moments do pass and as the fresh inhale moves along renewing, the exhale releases, relaxed, confirming…strength and gratefulness…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. opps need to omit the word “and” after pass..

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Looking again, another interpretation could be that the forerunner (taxi) has escaped the stressful traffic and ominous grey towering giants into the peaceful glory of smile inducing brightness…the miracle of fall leaves..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you for the ride, a *thrilling* one at that, and just glad you made it to your exit without incident! Your ability to paint the scene with words is outstanding! Safe travels my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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