Credit: Jeff Kober
One of the biggest drawbacks of living in the city is dealing with its crowdedness. But there’s good news: in retirement, you get to skip all the lines!
My view of New York City has changed entirely now that I am retired. Put simply, NYC from 9 am to 5pm is a totally different NYC than when everyone else is out.
You get all the amenities, the diversity of foods and stores and people, but you don’t have to deal with elbows on the subway, long lines at the grocery store, or navigating crowded streets (except for Times Square – it’s perpetually crowded and you don’t ever want to get caught in the crowd at Times Square).
I was reminded of this tale of two cities when I had to catch a train to meet a friend for dinner after work.
This was roughly what it looked like at 6:30pm on a Thursday:
Credit: Marlo Tama
This is what it looks like in the early afternoon:
Credit: Todd Heisler
(Note: I’ve used other folks’ photographs because snapping a picture directly in someone’s face on the subway is a great way to start a fight and I’m a scaredy cat.)
The museums are equally lovely in the afternoon. I’ve tried to add one “culture” day a month to my schedule, so recently I went to the NYC Transit Museum, an old subway station where they house decommissioned subway trains from different decades. Here were the “crowds”:
I’m pretty sure I saw only six couples and families in the two hours I was there.
And look at some of the delightful things I saw! My favorite was this totally serious advertisement still up in one of the old subway cars:
I finished off my museum day with lunch at a cafe near the museum. They had a two-course lunch special for $15, about 50% of the cost of the same two dishes at dinner time. And I got to sit in the best seat in the house – a window seat that afforded optimal people watching.
I’ve heard many people worry that without a luxury budget they just won’t enjoy retirement. My discovery is that the freedom of retirement provides luxury-like enjoyments without the monetary cost you’d expect. Off-peak living provides better perks than being in the one percent, and every improvement improvement you make to your financial plan takes you one step closer to both that freedom and that luxury.
Any readers who are retired or who have done a staycation who can share their own stories of off-peak living? How was it for you?