One of the reasons I like the fact that I grew up in an urban area where people both drive and take relatively reliable public transit is that I grew up knowing the streets of the city I grew up in. I knew how to take the bus or train to places, and once I started driving, I knew what routes to take where. The fear I’ve had of having children in a suburban environment is that they would not be street smart. They’d inevitably be sheltered, not know what life was like outside their own neighborhood, and when brought into an urban area, feel lost and not know where the hell they are going.
Well today, I interviewed a prospective Wellesley student who commuted into Manhattan to meet me, and she waited for me at the wrong cafe location, even though I gave her a link which clearly noted the correct address with cross streets. When she realized she was at the wrong location after I texted her, she called me again to ask me which direction was uptown and downtown on the avenue she was standing at. When we finally met and sat down for her interview, she said that her parents had insisted on coming with her in case she would get lost, and she scoffed at them and said, “I’m 17 years old — I can get around New York City!”