I leave my apartment a bit before 5AM. The streets are empty, canyons of like-colored traffic lights, tuning. The subway platform is scattered with a nervous, eyeing tension as overnighters mix with the early shifters. The weight in the air is much different than it will be in two or three hours, when the chorus overwhelms these tunnels.
Every seat is taken on the Q. Most are off to begin their long days, traveling from their distant homes to a distant city. Most are quiet, rocked by the overheated, pulsing rhythms of the slow moving train. At each end of the car, someone sleeps under a blanket of overused shopping bags. More than one are stumbling through this quiet congregation, sinister glint in their mischievous eyes. Don't make eye contact, don't offer an introduction. They are ready to pounce.
I exit at 57th and 7th. And now I descend, following the light flow into Times Square, across 42nd Street. As the sun rises, the orchestra is done tuning. The symphony is about to begin.