"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

Walk down into the subway, pay a small fee, and the city can be yours. If the city is big enough, and the subway thorough enough, there’s no better way to get around. No other mode of transportation can bestow the access and the sense of accomplishment. Getting in a cab can get you most places, but there’s more chance of getting stuck in bad traffic in a busy city than there is of having a problem on the train. And walking is wonderful, but can’t take as far as you’d often like to go.

I realized this as I took the subway in Japan last Friday night over to the Tokyo Dome to see the Giants play. The ride was simple and short. Only one transfer and less than twenty minutes. But bounding up the steps of the Korakuen station and onto the exterior concourse of the Dome, I felt so happy. And in there was a little pride I think, too. I almost let a little, “I did it,” escape, but I stopped it at the top of my throat.

At first I was embarrassed to be proud of such a simple thing as a subway ride. But I’ve always had trouble confronting tasks with which I have no experience and no guide. I started thinking more and more about what it means. The access, the freedom, the speed.

And just like that, the city was mine.


1 Normando   ~  Oct 6, 2011 10:09 am

Love subways. When I was a kid, I got to go London, and it was my first time in a big city. I rode the subways around all day for fun, stopping at all the stations mentioned in Clash and Jam songs, reading the graffiti ("We White City Skins Rule" - that one always stuck in my head). I later lived in London for a few months, and I still did the same thing. I've lived in New York for 5+ years, and still feel like it's a treat to ride on the subway. It's my favorite way to get anywhere, in any city.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 6, 2011 10:41 am

I've been on the subway in London and in Paris. Both very cool.

3 Normando   ~  Oct 6, 2011 11:20 am

[2] Something about the London subway always gets me - maybe it's the escalators with wooden decks, I don't know. I liked the Paris subway. Rome's is fun, but it doesn't go anywhere you want to go. I remember liking the West Berlin subway system, and just being too freaked out to form a real impression of the East Berlin subways, other than they were quiet and didn't seem heavily used. I have a soft-spot for Boston's, even if it does seem like it is HO scale compared to New York's.

Anyone else get to ride on the Boardwalk Empire trains that ran recently?

4 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 7, 2011 6:05 am

I have been on London, Paris, NYC (of course), D.C., Seoul and my home city, Tokyo. Hands down, Tokyo is the best in the world. Clean, safe, speedy and comprehensive (actually of the stops, too close together..about 500 meters apart).

It is crowded and that can be a real pain sometimes (summer, sweaty....winter too hot), but it's a trade-off I'll take any day.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver