I've watched people curse, spit and pee on subway platforms. No police.
Apparently, however, you can't dance.
God bless the comedy geniuses at the FakeMTA. They've developed these brackets for all New York City subway riders. There's no doubt the Thieves/Gropers are going to overpower the Subway Agents in the first round of the MTA Ineptitude Region, but I have the Stinky Beggar edging out the Sick Passenger in the final.
I have a lot of respect for MTA employees. They put up with an awful lot, be it surly passengers, cleaning filthy subway stations, bus drivers fighting New York traffic. They do it all, and for not as much money as you'd think.
The Daily News today has a riveting article about motormen (subway train drivers) haunted by the memories of people they've watched commit suicide by jumping in front of their trains as they've pulled into stations. Each year an average of 90 people either jump, fall or on rare occasions are pushed in front of a moving train.
[Motorman Jermaine] Dennis, 39, was driving a northbound A train that day. He approached the Aqueduct station at about 6:30 a.m. The sun was shining. Another summer day was unfolding.
The platform wasn’t crowded. One of the few commuters was a woman in her late 50s. She wore a long, flowing dress. Dennis didn’t know it at the time, but she had taken off her shoes and placed her pocketbook on the platform.
“I was going about 30 [mph],” Dennis said. “As soon as I came into the station, she just tipped over. She was moving and then she fell onto the tracks.”
The woman died a few hours later. In a haze, Dennis secured the train by manually setting brakes on each car. He was taken to an MTA clinic where he was tested for drugs and booze and sent home.
“That night, I couldn’t sleep,” Dennis said. “I took it hard. I kept blaming myself, asking myself what could I have done to prevent it.
“I felt for this lady. This was someone’s mother or grandmother, and now they are alone. It took a toll on me.”
That first night, Dennis paced the house as a lightning storm rolled over the Bronx. With each flash of light, the ghostly image of the woman appeared.
“She was in a white gown,” he said. “Emotionless. She just stared at me.”
It's a really powerful article, although it left me wanting to know more. I encourage you to read it all.
As a hillbilly, I often feel out of place when I ride New York's subways.
Riders are cranking Ice-T on their headphones. If they happen to hear a snippet of my Sam & Kirk McGee bluegrass songs playing, I get strange looks.
Most wear black jeans, black T-shirts, black jackets and black boots. I wear blue jeans and a orange T-shirt with "Tennessee" emblazoned boldly across my chest. To paraphrase The Most Interesting Man in the World, "I don't always wear shoes, but when I do, I prefer tennis shoes."
So it was with great joy I learned that one of my Southern kin hitched a ride on the D-train the other day: The noble possum.
The New York Times, the newspaper of record, recounted this turnstile-jumping rodent's ride, foolishly spelling it's name as "opossum," which I learned is how their stylebook requires it be spelled, er, spelt. Apparently it scurried aboard the train, which runs from Coney Island for an hour all the way into the Bronx, somewhere shortly after it left the first station.
Seeking warmth (who isn't in New York these days) it cozied up to the heaters placed under the seats and took a nap. Several policemen were dispatched during the train's run to shoo it out the door, to no avail. It wasn't until after the train had completed its northward run and was in the Bronx railyard that the possum split.
My guess is, it was worried the train would take it even further north.
Last night I came out to walk the beagles and startled a rat scuttering through our garbage cans out front. He shot across the street with amazing speed -- a bullet would move more slowly. I haven't seen any rats in the subways in the past week or so, but they sure are hanging out on my block.
But should I see one down underground, rest assured I'll be snapping a picture. Why? Because I want to win the "Rate A Rat" Contest the MTA subway workers are currently putting on. They've set up a website for entries, complete with some rather disgusting rats that you can rate yourself as to their level of disgustingness (I don't think that's a word).
There's a motive to the website. The transit union has seen the MTA cut the number of sanitation workers, and they rightfully are pointing out it's led to an increase in rats.
That said, they clearly need my help. At least one of the photos on the site is actually of a possum. I can understand why Yankees don't know what a possum is, but even they shouldn't be confusing it with a rat.
Because unlike a rat, possums is good eatin'.
No injuries for this dancer. He and his friends apparently are trained professionals. New Yorker's commutes can be odd, but certainly more interesting than sitting in traffic on I-75.
I mentioned in a previous post that most of the musicians you find performing in the subway system here have to audition for a permit -- the remainder, those semi-talented kids who jump from subway car to subway car trying to avoid MTA cops, are unlicensed.
The auditions take place every year at Grand Central Terminal, and the range of musical acts is usually pretty diverse. This year's winners, who you may see as you switch trains in Times Square or Herald Square, include an opera singer, Brazilian musicians, an oboe trio, a harpist, a country singer and a swing band.
Here's video of the tryouts this year:
One of the great things about commuting in Manhattan is that you get free entertainment on the trip to and from work -- if you travel by subway.
With the warm weather and the arrival of spring, the number of entertainers in the subways has jumped exponentially. Their numbers will crest during the summer, when the flux of sweaty workers will mingle with the crush of sweaty tourists. Add music and you have the perfect maelstrom of suck.
It’s important to note that all subway entertainment is free -- you’re not obligated to contribute a dime for it unless you choose. The term for performing in public for donations is called “busking.” When I first encountered the term six years ago in London, it was on an underground sign that proclaimed “No Busking.” I assumed it was British slang for spitting.
Subway entertainment in New York City falls into three categories:
One’s more annoying than the other two, and I’ll give you a hint: It’s not the panhandlers.
Singers & Musicians - These are usually found in one of two venues: In the stations, and on the subway cars themselves. Station performers for the most part are pretty good, fairly enjoyable, provide nice background music for your frenetic rush to the office and are often worthy of a dollar bill dropped in their hats or guitar cases. Some singers are also worthy of mention, and are clearly hoping to be “discovered.”
Musicians tend to congregate in the more heavily trafficked stations, like under the Roy Lichtenstein in Times Square/42nd Street (yes, there’s really a Roy Lichtenstein painting in a subway station). They also like Herald Square and the 4th Street Station where most of the subway lines cross. You won’t find them in the Financial District (Wall Street types aren’t the share-the-wealth crowd). I have a favorite band I see now and again at 42nd Street that has eight members and does very impressive Beatles covers.
These performers have to get permits and schedule their appearances with the MTA, and only about 100 permits are issued every year. Singers are always interesting, and are usually very, very good or very, very bad. The good ones, I think, are hoping to be discovered.
On the other end of the spectrum are the solo artists who work the trains. These performers most likely work without MTA sanction. They’re highly efficient, most jumping onto a car right as it gets ready to leave a station, playing a 90-second tune, working the length of the car for donations and then jumping off the car when it pulls into the next stop. Some work a full train, just jumping into the next car and repeating the process.
A cappella singers seem to be popular on the cars, and some are good. I suspect they’re hoping to be discovered. There are groups that would put any doo-wop group to shame. There are also people who aren’t very good, and they’d probably do better using the second form of entertainment to raise money.
Panhandling - Begging in the subway can be jarring to the first-time visitor, but after you’ve lived here for a little while you get used to it. Most of it is passive, with people simply standing on the platform and holding a sign or placing it in front of them while they sit in a corner. I’m always impressed with how nearly lettered and clear the writing on these signs are. I can’t figure out how people with such perfect penmanship can’t find employment.
For those who prefer a more proactive begging system, there are the subway car beggars. They’re a model of process and efficiency, and I don’t usually chip in. You know you’re about to be hit up because as soon as the subway doors close, you here the classic opening line belted out loud enough to hear on both ends of the car “Excuse me everyone ... “ Usually this is followed by a hard-luck story and then a quick pass through the car with a cup or hat and a dart off the car at the next station before an MTA office shows up to shoo them off. But even panhandlers are more tolerable on trains than the last form of entertainment.
Preachers - I’ve always despised street preachers. I understand their religious beliefs impel them to try and spread their beliefs, but doing so to masses of mostly unreceptive and unwilling listeners is both rude and counterproductive. When you do it inside a subway car where people are trapped and forced to listen to your blather and you’ve crossed the line.
Last week I stepped into the back car of my No. 3 train for my 4.5 minute commute to Times Square. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the street preacher in the middle of the car blathering on until after the door closed. Usually I have my headphones on and can crank my iPod up to drown out the stupid. This time, I didn’t have them in and couldn’t reach them because the car was sardine-packed.
He went on and on. He kept skirting the line between stupidity and offensiveness. He castigated several of the patrons, saying we are all going to hell, and we weren’t living our lives rights. Who is this uneducated moron, I thought, and how does he know anything about my life? I kept biting my tongue, but after four minutes everyone in the car was tense, annoyed and uncomfortable.
Perfect incubator for comedy, my instincts told me.
As we pulled into my station, he was prattling on about hell again.
“Who wants to go to hell? None of us. Do you want to go to hell?”
“If it’s like this, with me trapped in the No. 3 with you, then I sure I hell don’t!” I blurted out, then stepped out of the car onto the platform. I heard the relieved and appreciative laughter ripple through the car behind me.
To be fair, there's a fourth form of free entertainment on subways: Fights. I haven't seen one in person, but here's one for you to enjoy (Warning: Language NSFW):
One of the most sobering things I've had to come to grips with in New York is the regular experience of watching rats scurrying around the subway tracks and platforms while I await my train.
The first time you see it, it's startling and somewhat creepy. But like many other things New York, you quickly become numbed to the inherent creepiness of it, and it becomes just another distraction as you await your D-train home.
A Board of Health study last year basically concluded that man doesn't stand a chance against rats, and eradicating them in this city of 8 millions is an impossibility. In the subway, they actually live in the walls rather than on the tracks, so whenever trains come they simply scurry into the walls and avoid being crushed, electrocuted or possibly poisoned by the countless bait packets that are fruitlessly dropped by the MTA in their stations.
Still, it's creepy every time you see one. And of late, there's been a couple of videos making the viral route of rats actually getting into the trains and climbing on people, although I've never seen it and there's questions as to whether the videos were staged or not.
The general consensus is that the rats proliferate because of garbage in the subways, both trash dropped by passengers and the rooms where workers store up collected trash prior to it being brought above ground for removal. At times, rats have been used as an excuse to try and create laws banning food and drink on the subways (you're allowed to carry it in closed containers, but I've watched people practically have a 3-course breakfast while they sit on the train in the mornings).
As for the entertainment value, I'm not the only one who enjoys the show. It's a nice distraction to watch them scurry around, and then watch as one-by-one others waiting on the platform become aware, nudging friends to point out the show. They're entertaining -- but don't expect me to bring one home as a pet.
Can snowstorms shut down subways?
As a transplant from warmer climes, I would have thought no, but yes, yes, they can. How?
Not all subway lines are below ground. Most of New York's subway lines are underground in Manhattan, but when you get out to Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, many move above ground. And that's when things get fun.
See, they got this special thingee called the third rail. The train runs on two rails, of course, and the third rail is the one that's electrified and powers the subway car, the lights inside, and pretty much everything that makes it go. So in heavy snow, you've got white, watery, conductive powder stacked up high enough to cover this rail. Which can cause it to short out. Or, with a train coming through, you get a really, really cool free light show. Enjoy.
It was the annual Santacon event, and informally organized flashmob where everyone shows up dressed in Santa suits and proceeds to waunder and drink their way around Manhattan for an entire day until they either pass out or score with an elf.
We encountered the Santas as we walked through Central Park on our way to the Wohlman skating rink. We literally crossed paths with thousands of them, slowly milling their way up the hill as they prepared to catch a subway train downtown to the Villages and whatever the next stop their Twitter masters had Tweeted to them.
Some of the rules of Santacon (aside from the always enjoyable "we don't talk about Santacon") from the official website:
"What to expect: Santacon is an annual convention for Santa and his holiday brethren. Expect holiday cheer, unconventional gifts, naughty carols and general mayhem. Do not expect to be entertained: Santa IS the entertainment!
"How to be Santa: Santa doesn’t just wear a cool suit and invade your dad’s liquor cabinet: he also brings gifts! A gift can be a reindeer game, a song, a dance or a joke to entertain Santa and tourists alike."
"How NOT to be Santa: Santa never endangers his reindeer with violence, vandalism, inappropriate groping or theft. Santa never gets SO jolly he needs babysitting. Santa never expects to get away with behavior that an ordinary citizen wouldn’t. It’s not a bar crawl! Every time you call Santacon a bar crawl, a sugarplum fairy dies."
Were the Santas unruly? None that we saw. Most were just plain fun. Many posted for photos with kids and stunned tourists. Groups chanted "HO! HO! HO! HO!" loudly and robustly. Want to get a taste of the mayhem? Enjoy:
This lady was just sitting on the subway when some perv decided he wanted to flash her. Does she act shocked? Scurry away? Ignore it?
As Whitney says, hell to the no.
She basically starts ripping the perv a new one, and decides she's gonna get her some justice. She vows to stay "by his side" until she gets him arrested. Don't know if she did or not, but from the sound in her voice, I'll be she got to ride in the front of the squad car as they took this creep downtown.
Warning: Language NSFW.
Oh you merry New York City pranksters. If you're in Union Square, you can catch the new 9 3/4 line to take you to wizarding school. I plan to head there at lunchtime and slam my head into a brick wall trying to find the platform.
Was in Brooklyn last night, so I thought I'd share this video of a subway car making the trip across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan ... in 1899!
Kind of interesting to see how the city has changed.
And if you're into these sorts of things, here's:
Herald Square in 1896:
And Lower Broadway in 1902:
OK, forget the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tree-lighting at Rockefeller Center? Don't go. The event you HAVE to attend once in your life is the Annual Halloween Parade through the Villages of New York.
If you think the average New Yorker on the street is weird, you won't believe what you see when they're actually trying to be weird.
The missues and I rushed back from droppin' one of the younguns at the airport and quickly hopped on the C train to get down to 4th Street and hopefully see the parade. The subway ride proved to be the best and most surreal moment of the evening. At every station we stopped at, more and more people with more and more crazy costumes blithely walked onto the subway. Guys in inmate uniforms. Zombies galore. Werewolves. Girls wearing low-cut Swiss Miss outfits. You name it. And right at the point where our train reached critical mass and was rocketing nonstop toward our final station, we looked over to our right and watched as a second train car of equally bizarre partiers raced us at 60 mph on a parallel track.
When we arrived at the station, it was a mob scene, with more than 3,000 people all trying to work their way off the platform, through a tunnel and up to the street. When we got to the street, the mob was 30-people deep from the sidewalk, ensuring we wouldn't be able to see anything. We spend the next 35 minutes pushing through crowds and working our way north up side streets, trying to find a decent vantage point. By the time we'd back0-and-forthed our way to 12th street, we decided the best way to see the parade was on TV, and headed back north.
But we'd gotten the flavor of it. And it was amazing. The crowd along the parade route were just as amazingly costumed as those who took the street. It's not really an organized parade, per se, just a collection of tens of thousands of crazy New Yorkers walking down Sixth Avenue in costume having a good time. Nothing debauched. Kids and adults having a really good time.
I took a few pictures, but candidly from my vantage point you don't really get the story. Here's a link to Gothamist's site where they've rolled up some great Flickr images of the event and another link to Google images. Enjoy!
That's the question that keeps rolling through my head.
Saturday, riding the E train back to my apartment with wife and two college-aged children, we had a pack of nine kids enter the train. They were ages 15-18 I'd guess, and they were loud. At first, I thought, no big deal, kids are loud, they're having good fun. They're obnoxious, but no biggie.
Then they got more animated. And more foul-mouthed. They started shouting back and forth through the car about "f-ing someone's mother" and other offensive stuff I'd rather not type. My wife was sittingthere. My 19-year-old daughter was sittingthere. I was getting more and more ticked off.
Those who know me well know I'm the most non-confrontational guy there is. I hate confrontation. I'll walk out of a bank if my wife's arguing with the teller about a problem. I just don't like it.
So 999 times out of a thousand, I would just let these kids go on offending everyone in the car, keep my head down and let it go. Like almost every New Yorker does.
Except I didn't. I stood up.
I thought the simple of act of standing up and glaring at several of the kids would be enough to make them realize they were out of line and tone it down. No such luck. 16-year-olds are many things, and one of them is oblivious. More obscenities. So I walked to the corner of the car where four of the nine were standingand asked one of them under my breath, not to call them out, "Hey, I know you kids are just having a good time, but would you mind taking your party up to the next car?"
You'd have thought I'd asked him to shoot his sister. He gave me a look like he couldn't believe what I'd said. Then he cursed at me. Then as his friends figured out what had happened, they joined in, cursing and telling me they weren't going anywhere.
"You apparently didn't hear what I said," I said, more loudly now, and more ominously and threateningly. "I know you're just having fun, but go do it in the next car."
Now all hell broke loose. I had a pack of kids all yelling an screaming about how they weren't going anywhere. I was called a cracker. I stayed calm, knowing from my training as a football official not to let the situation escalate. As we pulled into the next station I looked over the shoulders of two of the kids through the doorway window into the next car, acted like I'd made eye contact and made a subtle gesture with my finger calling some nonexistent person up and pointing at the kids. It was subtle but convinced at least three of them that an enforcement officer might be in the next car and might be heading our way. They took the bait, and at least half of the kids jumped outside the doors and started calling for their friends to join them.
After a lot more name-calling and yelling -- none of which I returned or responded to -- they were all outside the door and I waited for it to close. But before it could, one of them reached down into their pocket and pulled out a small one-inch buck knife and started waving it at me through the open doorway. He made one slashing movement at me, which I didn't even have to dodge and then the door started closing. The train moved out and I calmly sat back down at my seat.
My wife was more amused than startled by the whole incident. My son had stayed calm on the other side of the car until he saw the knife, then had jumped up to cover my back. My daughter was quite shaken up, and scolded me -- perhaps rightly -- for getting involved rather than just letting the whole thing go.
So that's the internal debate I'm still having. Was I brave? Was I stupid? Was I right to get my hillbilly sensibilities up and shoo the toughs off the train? Or did I risk my life foolishly. I'm pleased to note that at no time were my wife and kids in any danger. And at the time, until the knife showed up, I didn't really feel I was. I was calm and in control. But it was so unlike me that I still don't know why I did it.
But was I brave? Or stupid? Hit the comments section and let me know what you think.
One of the enjoyments you get for your $2.25 subway fare is the sense of excitement as you stare longingly down the tunnel, wondering when is my train going to show up? It's a tradition to gaze eagerly down the tube hoping to catch that first glimpse of headlamps reflecting off the tile and concrete in the tunnel, knowing like a kid waiting for Christmas morning that your un-airconditioned 7 train is on its way.
So it was until recently when the MTA began installing LED signs that tell you exactly how many minutes away your next train is. Now, the excitement is gone.
Artist Jason Eppink shares the disappointment, and surreptitiously began installing (unofficial) signs warning riders that the information on the sign is a spoiler. It's cute, it's creative and it reminds us to avert our eyes and let the mystery remain.
Eppink has a history of doing such stunts, including this classic sidewalk lane piece where he divided up the sidewalk into lanes for New Yorkers and for tourists.
My expectations about what it was like to live in New York City were formed by movies. Admittedly, movies are perhaps the most inaccurate representations of real life, but my expectations of the subway system were formed by The Warriors. My ideas about what it is like to work at Rockefeller Center were created by My Favorite Year.
Since there's a film festival this week at the lawn at Central Park, this seems like a good opportunity to rattle off some of my favorite films about New York. Have your own favorite? The comments section is located below.
Those are some of my favorites? Got films to add?
"But now, I must take leave of you, for Stone and I journey to dine in some far-off land called . . . Brooklyn."
- Peter O'Toole, My Favorite Year
As sociology experiments go -- and my relocation from the South to New York may be nothing more than a giant sociology experiment -- traveling to Coney Island to study where New Yorkers go to recreate seemed like a natural. Here I could study the wild Yankee in his native habitat: Swimming in the water, preening as he tried to attract mates, eating their indigenous foods. It all seemed so exciting.
So Saturday after dropping the missus at Grand Central to visit her mother, I found myself standing on the D-train platform, with the choice of heading north and back home, or traveling south to the end of the line -- Coney Island. The train travels through Chinatown and then across the Brooklyn Bridge, so there were some sights along the way. Brooklyn was interesting from the elevated platforms and worth another visit later. Finally, after an hour-long ride, the end of the line: Recreational Nirvana for thousands of hot, sweaty New Yorkers.
When you cross the street and get to the Boardwalk, the first impression is: old. The second impression, which comes just as quickly and is much harder to shake is: dirty. Coney Island is dirty. Let me be clear. I'm not the neatest guy, and I've started adapting to the fact that a city of 9 million people isn't going to be clean. But after a lifetime of visiting Myrtle Beach and Panama City I can tell you that the cleanest part of Coney Island is far grungier, run-down and gray than worst part of those beach venues.
Some additional observations:
Unless you live in a big city, you have no idea what a Zipcar is.
One of the best and worst moments in the move to New York City was the selling of our cars. I loved our cars. The misses and I both owned convertibles, and in Atlanta we got to drive with the top down often. One time, we took our Mini Cooper on a 1,000-mile road trip to Wisconsin, with the top down most of the way. That said, I liked the idea of being on-foot 24-hours a day, with no car payment, no insurance payment and no payment for parking.
So when the misses suggested yesterday that we sign up for a Zipcar account, I said
I've just now adjusted to the subways and taxis. So now I have to start driving on the streets of New York again?
The misses made a good argument (let's admit here that she always does, even when she doesn't) that we would occasionally need a car to drive upstate, or pick someone up at the airport, or in emergencies. Our first "emergency" occurred this week when we bought an armoire desk on craigslist and then couldn't find anyone with a truck willing to help us move it. So we became "zippers."
Here's how the deal works: You pay $50 a year to be a zipper. After that, whenever you need a car, you go online and reserve a Zipcar -- which can be anything from a Mini to a pickup truck or van. You go to pick it up at a nearby garage. You hold your zipcard up to the door and it unlocks, with the key already inside. You drive the car around as much as you want for a flat hourly or daily rate. The hourly rate usually ranges from $8 to $13 an hour. Not too bad. When you're done, you return the car and re-lock it for the next person to use.
You don't have to pay for the insurance. If you need gas, it's paid for, you just use your Zipcar to fill up. It's not a bad deal, giving us the ability to have a car when needed, without all the long-term headaches.
How did it work last night? Pretty well. I took the subway to where the pickup was located. Took a minute to figure out where to hold my card, but when I found the sensor it unlocked easily. The truck even had an iPod plug for the stereo, which was cool and allowed me to play Sinatra while rolling down 57th Street. Moved the 4,000-pound piece of furniture from the seller's house to our apartment (thank God for our elevator!) and then returned the car and subwayed back home. All in two hours. Cost me $28 for two hours, far cheaper than what I'd have paid someone to move the armoire for me.
One regret: No tractors or four-wheelers in the Zipcar stable. I just got my email asking for feedback, so I'm sure it'll raise some eyebrows when they open my response.
I didn't realize how important purses are. And I certainly didn't know the special rights and privileges they hold in the big city.
Was sitting with the Misses earlier in the week at a restaurant, and a third person helping us find an apartment came in to join us. We needed to add a chair to the table, and there were three vacant chairs at tables next to us.
All occupied by women's purses.
You can see where this is going. Yours truly had to ask each of the ladies at these three tables if we could borrow their what-I-thought-was-empty chair. And in each case, they gave me a look like I'd asked them to sacrifice their first child for an entree. Me forcing her to put her Coach handbag on the floor under her? To allow her bag to actually touch dust? What I rube I clearly was.
What was more sobering was when I learned that 90% of the Coach, Aignor and other designer handbags I was seeing weren't even real. Apparently, counterfeit handbags are more common than the real ones in New York City. And obtaining them is kind of a cat-and-mouse sting operation. A female friend of mine decided to go down to Chinatown last week with the expressed intent of scoring a faux ladies handbag.
First, we walked up and down the street, looking at the no-name handbags for sale in the various shops. "The people who sell the knock-offs will come up to you if they see you're in the market for purses," she explained. We walked 12 blocks. Nothing. We walked down the narrowest and seamiest of streets, the only non-Chinese within miles. No one said a word.
"You're the problem, she finally snarked.
"You look like a fed."
"They're obviously not talking to me because you look like a police officer." I took this as a compliment, but couldn't understand how someone like me with a stocky build, short cropped haircut and aviator sunglasses could be confused for a law enforcement officer. "Go up to the corner and wait for me there."
I waited. And waited. After 25 minutes, I began to think I needed to call real law enforcement officers. Finally, my special lady friend showed up. She had been accosted not two minutes after I'd left, supporting her argument that I was cramping her illicit shopping style. She had been ushered down dark alleys into back rooms, and different people kept coming and going with handbags. At no time did the same person discuss price, touch the merchandise or exchange anything. It was as if she was purchasing drugs or illegal arms, but everyone was much more paranoid.
For me, I just don't understand the whole handbag thing. I figure a good burlap bag can do the job as well as anything and is much more durable. You don't even need to save a seat on the subway for it.
This is why New York is such an interesting place.
A local improv group staged an impromptu scene from Star Wars on the Number 6 train, to the confusion and then amusement of commuters.
OK, let's first admit that I like subways.
So needless to say, I'm not proud of the fact that I fell for the oldest mistake in the book when riding the MTA: getting on an express train when I meant to take a local.
The A, B, C and D lines all run through Columbus Circle, where I got on. Guess which ones are the locals that will stop at the 96th Street Station? I'll give you a hint: It aint the "D" line. Now admittedly, I was in a hurry, there were lots of people on the platform and I wasn't really paying attention. But as the second, third and fourth platform went whizzing by with no stops, I quickly realized I'd screwed myself. And I was getting a free tour of 155th Street when I got off the train to turn around.
I'm going to master riding the subways here. I promise. And now doubt about the time I do, the MTA will change something or shut down a line to totally screw me up again. That's what being a New Yorker is all about, right?