I remember. I used to take the train from Rutherford to Jersey City every day, to go to St. Peter’s Prep. Every day, I would sit in the front car with some friends of mine, and we would joke, laugh and make a general nuisance of ourselves. The, it was on to the PATH, at Hoboken, which would take us to Exchange Place, where we would walk the six blocks to school. Life started to change for me when I went to Prep. New Jersey began to expand, and include cities, not just little towns like Rutherford.
Jersey City was so different and exciting. The Hoboken terminal was like a world unto itself, full of history, the smell of diesel, coffee, and the constant motion of commuters running, walking, pausing, then moving again. Before the big sign moved to digital, all of the incoming trains and times would flip, and I loved that sound of whirring times. A train would come in, and everyone would jostle to be the first through the opening gate. People were so excited to get home, that you hardly had to move; the crowd would carry you.
When I got to Exchange Place in Jersey City, the first thing I would see every morning was the Colgate clock, down the river from where I stood. It was like some sentinel, marking time. Leaving the station, the Citibank building would loom up at me everyday, green glass reflecting the Hudson and Manhattan across the grey expanse of the river.
I was growing up, and the world was opening up like a door. I started to step through.