Work in Progress | Main | Waterfront Walk, Part II

October 12, 2007


This is how my newspaper arrived this morning. Pretty, yet not that convenient for actual reading.

It was dark, rainy and cold this morning when I made my way downstairs to grab our blue be-bagged newspaper up from the sidewalk. It was a little too early and, rather than schlep back up four flights and then again ten minutes later, I lingered in building foyer and awaited the delivery.

I watched the lights from the cars and trucks blur against the wet window of the front door and thought about how intricately the morning paper is woven into the fabric of my life in New York. As a child, the New York Times, wrapped in its traditional bright blue, would arrive at the base of our driveway at 6:30 a.m. My parents would pick it up on their way home from the gym (yes, they went at 4 a.m.) and read it together over breakfast. When I moved back to New York after college, I couldn’t afford to have the paper delivered, so I made my own tradition, supplementing delivery with the vending box.

In those days, I would rise at five, lace up my sneakers and run a few miles, sometimes looping First and Second Avenues on the Upper East Side or a three-quarter lap of Central Park. Those mornings were precious to me. I would begin in the silence of a near-sleeping city. By the time I would head home, it was waking, the garbage trucks and early traffic blinking bleary headlight eyes at the dawn. Often, I would see the New York Times trucks making their way through deliveries. Once in a while I would be at that vending box on East 77th and York waiting, and the delivery man, entertained by my earliness, would hand me a free paper as he loaded the machine.

When I moved to Brooklyn there were no vending boxes in my neighborhood. The same paper was there at the same time at my corner bodega until I moved to Red Hook (hence the delivery- I got tired of buying the Post), however the feel of the routine drastically changed. There was something about that vending box- perhaps the solitary nature of retrieving the news without interaction, or maybe the constant fight to get those damn quarters in and the machine door open without it jamming- that really defined the early mornings (and years) of my life in New York.

I miss those vending boxes and, to be honest, can’t recall if I’ve even seen them around as of late. I wonder if they’ve made their way into obscurity like the classic accordion door phone booths. More likely, though, I have simply neglected to pay attention and from now on, I plan to look more closely, if only to elicit those old memories more often. They make me smile.

Posted by callalillie at October 12, 2007 7:00 AM | City Life , Random


Well, I know they still have them in Virginia because my dad has his little routine of going and getting it every day, too.

Posted by: craige at October 13, 2007 12:07 AM

they still have them around, mainly in manhattan but they're there. you just have to not be looking for them.

Posted by: christine at October 13, 2007 9:35 PM

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