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The Everything Guide to the Early Morning


Tropical Plants & Orchids Inc., 8 a.m.  

These are prime bonding-with-child hours.
“It’s lovely to spend time with my 1-year-old, Sorcha, before work—it starts my day off in the best way because she’s rested and happy, and it’s a little window of alone time for us. Plus it’s good eating: I take her out for breakfast at Brooklyn Label, where they bring our food before we sit down (Sorcha’s partial to the smoked salmon), or Le Gamin, on Franklin near Noble (she’s all about their breakfast crêpe). The two words she has down are hi and bye, and she says it to everybody. There’s a little group of us dads, ‘the dawn patrol,’ who walk their kids each morning, waving to each other.” —Tim Fornara, Greenpoint, television producer

The views.
“My wife and I live right at the spot where the Harlem River meets the Hudson and Manhattan meets the Bronx, and in the morning, when the sun comes up behind us, it casts this eerie pink-and-yellow glow over the neighborhood. We have an uninterrupted view of the water and Inwood Hill Park, and with that light, it’s both strange and beautiful.” —Jason Minter, Inwood, co-owner of Indian Road Café

It’s a time of curious exercise routines.
“The best thing is watching the older Asian people who walk backward through Doughboy Park. They doit really slowly, with their eyes open, and though I’ve seen several practitioners, they’re always walking alone. I’ve read that it’s an ancient Chinese form of meditation and that it’s actually great exercise—it strengthens your knees and increases balance. Whatever it is, it’s pretty fascinating to behold.” —Nicole Haroutunian, Woodside, museum educator

Everyone is a little more pleasant.
“I walk my kids to school each day, get a cappuccino at Eataly, and socialize with everyone from the security guard at my bank branch, Chris, who preaches me Scripture (I don’t have the heart to tell him I’m Jewish), to the guys who work the freight elevators along 25th Street—they always ask about my kids.” —Anna Rabinowicz, Flatiron, designer at RabLabs

You never know who you’ll run into.
“Every morning, I walk by St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Madison Avenue before the sun rises, and for a while I would see an older man come out in jogging clothes. We would always say good morning. One day last March, I saw him come outside, and there was someone helping him with suitcases into a tinted SUV, with two policemen sitting outside it. It turns out that man was Cardinal Timothy Dolan. That morning, he was on his way to Rome to see if he was going to be the new pope.” —Bradley Gill, Elmhurst, tunnel builder working on the Second Avenue subway line


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