My earliest recollection of the New York Times is greeting my dad every evening, paper in hand, as he came home from work in Manhattan and down the subway stairs at our station in the Bronx. I always got to carry the paper on the long ten block walk back to our house. I was too young to make much out of all that tiny print pushed into eight narrow columns, but I know that I always felt special just being able to carry what seemed to be my dad’s most important possession.
He often told me that everything I needed to know was in that paper. So as I got older I would read what I could and ask him about the meaning of words I didn’t understand. His response was always the same, “Look it up.” So I did. This not only increased my vocabulary, in elementary school it made me the spelling bee champ. In high school and college I always had an advantage over my classmates in current events, not to mention a wide array of subjects, just from reading the Times.
Watching Dad do the Sunday puzzle was mesmerizing, his eyes scanning the clues and his hand writing furiously with his yellow number two pencil. I don’t know why he used a pencil, I hardly ever saw him use the eraser. He was a marvel to behold. I attempt some of the weekly puzzles, Monday and Tuesday are the easiest, and with the help of my puzzle maven wife, I contribute some to the Sunday puzzle which she could easily finish without me.
I’ve been a New York Times subscriber for twenty-five years. Before I subscribed, I would buy the paper on the way to work every morning and, on weekends, make the trip to the newsstand to pick up the Saturday and Sunday editions. The Times was always a part of my commute to and from New York City and was the one thing I looked forward to reading the most on weekends at the breakfast table. As I transitioned from commuting to working at home, like an old friend, the Times still greets me every morning in my driveway and keeps me company over breakfast.
Like the rest of the world, the Times has changed a lot over the years, wider columns, color photos and in recent years a digital edition. I love the fresh content available on-line, the beautiful photos and the search tools which make the paper even more valuable as a source of constant information and entertainment.
It took me the better part of my lifetime to understand why I rarely saw Dad without a copy of the New York Times tucked under his arm. It brought him for decades, and now me, the world. It’s more than a newspaper, it’s a way of life.