In Praise of New York’s Endless Lines

In Praise of New York’s Endless Lines

I once waited in line for an hour to use a Times Square bathroom. For fun. As a public relations stunt, Charmin toilet paper had installed custom stalls, a VIP rope, and a lounge. Honestly, I never wanted to get out of that line. When someone finished their business, we all cheered like proud parents. We danced to the Cha-Cha-Cha Charmin jingle with a Charmin bear. I argued the superiority of Angel Soft with total strangers. Then I went to the bathroom. We built a little community. We bonded, we partied, we celebrated our willing roles in this grotesque manifestation of capitalism, and then we went our separate ways.

Lines are a nuisance to everyone, right? But having grown up in New York City, I’ve never thought of them that way.

To me, lines provide order and a slower pace. I first read what has become my favorite book over four visits to Shake Shack. Lines unite people around a cause. Many people think waiting for a Cronut is silly, but do you know who doesn’t? Every damn person in line for a Cronut! Lines are even a bit romantic. I had my best-ever first date waiting for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. We stood shoulder to shoulder for an hour, flirting and filling awkward pauses with our excitement for red velvets.

I say: Isn’t everything in life worth waiting for?

Our New York Destination Guide has plentiful ideas of things to do—some require lines, most don’t. Photo by Kenny Louie/Flickr. This appeared in the March/April 2015 issue.

Will Bleakley is a former associate editor at Down East magazine.