Reading: The Best Commuter Pastime

My commuting buddy has never left my side. Through every highway twist and turn, through choppy waters and construction delays, my books have always kept me company.

It’s an oft-mentioned rule that you officially become a New Yorker after fifteen years and certainly a ‘power commuter’ after five. After twenty, I’ve truly fulfilled my mother’s image of a modern woman: Melanie Griffith in ‘Working Girl’ with dress pants, sneakers, perhaps a rogue shoulder pad.

While my methods of getting to work have often changed over the years (due to new job, new apartment, subway construction, what have you), my need for a morning read has always followed. It’s a part of the commute routine: no matter how I travel, if I don’t start my day by reading, then the rest of the day feels…off.

Commuting Train Bus Ferry

On the Staten Island Ferry, you could find me cramming college textbooks into my bag and pouring over theater scripts as I headed into ‘the city’ for an audition. On the Metro-North to New Haven, Connecticut, you’d find me with everything from a magazine, to a Kindle, to a well-worn copy of A Treasury of Kahlil Gibran I have from the 1950s. Just like Kira’s post a while back, I’d lose myself in a deep read on the subway then find myself in the Bronx unexpectedly, a good ten station stops too far. And for a brief time, I even commuted as a passenger on a motorcycle: strapped to the back, I would listen to an audiobook, on full volume, to pre-occupy myself from the terror that is 85 mph on the West Side Highway. These days, I read while waiting for the bus and there is nothing like a really good book to get you through the pain of a rush hour queue.

Get recommendations for the greatest books around straight to your inbox every week.

Glancing at my fellow commuters, I often wonder if they are as attached to the habit of reading every morning as I am.

For those of you who commute to work or travel often, do you bring along your commuting buddy: the book?

Lovely commuter images via,,, and

[email_signup id="4"]