My Wednesday evenings are always the same: I walk down into the subway station and check to see if my Brooklyn-bound F-train is making its slow, creaky way though the tunnel. (It usually isn’t.) I find a spot among the crowds of cranky commuters, open my purse, and pull out the New York Times dining section while I wait. Eventually my train arrives, and the 40-minute ride home gives me ample reading and relaxation time with the weekly food section, the only me time I’ve likely had all day.
I’ve followed this pattern for several years. And although the Times also posted its food content online on Tuesday nights, it was easy to wait another day so that I could physically flip through the recipes and articles during my commute. Honestly, I looked forward to it all week.
But then the Times decided to mix things up a bit. It recently announced that the paper would start posting its dining section articles on its website throughout the week, essentially rendering the physical newsprint section obsolete. Most of its articles would be released before Wednesday, some almost a week before the section was printed.
When I first heard the news, I was surprised at how conflicted I felt about it. Don’t get me wrong, in the greater scheme of life it’s not a big deal. But this shift in the Times’s schedule made me realize how much I valued my once-a-week ritual with the paper. It also made me think about how I received information in general. News moves fast these days; like many others, I check the New York Times website as soon as I get to work in the morning and throughout the day, and I’m usually aware of the day’s headlines as soon as they happen. I have an RSS feed that imports new content from my favorite food blogs, and of course, I’m a food blogger myself. I should welcome this development with open arms, congratulating the Times for recognizing the archaic nature of printed news matter.
But I can’t do it. Maybe I’m being too sentimental, but I value my time with weekly food section more than the up-to-the-minute nature of the Internet. It’s similar to how I anticipate and then savor a wonderful meal. Overall, much of the dining section content is not time-sensitive, unless there’s a holiday coming up or a seasonal recipe I’d like to try. Even in these cases it’s usually safe to let a few days go by. I’m sure I’ll use the online archive when I have some time to kill, but on Wednesday evenings you’ll still find me waiting on the F-train platform, paging through the New York Times dining section. How about you?