Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Written on the subway walls

I love the subway...there I've said it and am sticking to it. Sure it is dirty, there are vermin, it is crowded, smell funky and a multitude of other dismissive complaints. I am not blind to any of these things but I still love the subway.


I love it for the way I can get to almost any destination in NYC and (because even w/price increases) it still is a relatively cheap way to do it. However, it is not these things that led me to my long affair with the various letters and numbers of trains I have taken. It is the people. John Rocker's infamous quote "I'd retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?[3] "- the very reasons I love the train and New York. I believe the best world is based on diversity and that the subway is the best proof we have that we can coexist. John Rocker of note Koreans, Vietnamese, Indians are Asian (dumbass) and this immigrant speaks better English, along with a few other languages, than you do!

I watch as people with disparate looks and of different beliefs sit together in this hurtling steel device and are willing to be nice to one another. In times of crisis there is no where that handles it with more humanity and grace than New York.  Yes, there is shoving and sometimes rudeness but the reaction of New Yorkers (real ones who live in the outer boroughs -sorry Manhattanites who rarely are raised there) to these outbursts is scorn not acceptance. New York and the subway bind strangers together because they are not easy places to be, uniting their inhabitants by equal opportunity and equal aggravation. To all the John Rockers of the world you are missing out with your bland dismissal view of a world without color, diversity and the occasional "stand clear of the closing doors".

5 comments:

  1. I love you but... this morning was not fun in the subway... Maybe the underground subway runs really well in the middle of an ice storm but the "EL" our lovely above ground really is terrible. Trying to keep your footing on an elevated platform that is almost completely covered in ice and trying not to fall on the tracks, accompanied with the train crew playing train tag with the straphangers was very frustrating to say the least. I had just missed a train, doors closed on my face, so I went across the platform to the other train but the doors were closed and they would not open them while freezing rain is falling on us... then another train pulls in across the platform so everyone runs to that train and piles in once the doors open. The doors shut and 5 minutes later we hear "Train across the platform will be the first train leaving" but they only open up half a door from each car. So everyone is trying to squeeze through that half door to run across the platform to the train that was just sitting there with the doors closed. All this of course with ice on the platform and people slipping and sliding and not even know which "across the platform" they are even talking about. I think train crews get a kick out of this... they think that we are mice. "Oh let's see what we can make the straphangers do" Do they think that we are monkeys to do tricks for them as they sit in a warm area looking at us and laughing?

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  2. Sorry just really frustrated!

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  3. sounds like you had a hard day and yet you actually validated my point in the blog...it is more about the people (and though your experience was horrid today you still had a way to get to work...not so much those folks on NJ transit whose 1 means of transportation at 3 times the price whose trains were cancelled after hours of standing on a platform). The riders in your story all banded together to move from side to side and provde their ability to take on this uncomfortable situation

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  4. Very nicely said Julie! I love the subway too, and especially now that I don't take, as often. But I like your writing....continue writing beautifully. I hope you are writing a novel because I can definitely see it one day on the big screen. Just make Elli film it for you.

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  5. and of course there will be some sort of love scene with Brad in it for all of us right?? thanks Jules xo

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