Only Baseball Matters this morning on the 1 train.
Couple of weeks ago I was on the train and looked around and noticed that were only a few white faces. It wasn’t an unusual sight. It was common. I just happened to make a note of it and then moved on to whatever else was on my mind.
It’s one of the things you take for granted when you live in New York–and can be painfully aware of when you leave: diversity.
[Photo Via: Think Different]
Get to the uptown platform of the IRT last night and there is a train in the station. Looks like it has been there for a while. I find an opening and slide in. There’s an announcement overhead that because of a sick passenger at our station the local trains are going express from 42nd to 72nd. Now I’m at a local stop between those stations but I figure I’d wait it out. Then, the train goes out of service so everybody empties out on the platform. We’re standing there, close together, and I still figure to wait it out when I see three EMT workers move their way through the crowd. This could take some time so I walk away, up to the street, where it is now raining, cross Broadway and enter the downtown station. Almost slip twice–damn weak ass shoes.
Figure I’ll go one stop to Times Square and then transfer for the uptown train running express.
Now, I don’t think I should have to pay again but there is no booth clerk on the downtown platform anymore. I consider jumping the turnstiles and feel righteous about it. Hey, if a cop stops me, I’ve got a story. But I don’t do it. Why? Cause I figure I’m going to bust my ass in the process. So I pay again and I’m on the platform when I look across the station and the uptown platform is cleared out. Local is running again and an announcement says the next local train will arrive in one minute.
Cue the Benny Hill music.
Dammit, so I exit, walk back across Broadway in the rain and then into to the uptown station agian. Now, I really don’t see paying again, but there is a long line at the clerk’s booth and I want to make this train more than anything, so screw it, I pay again. That’s $7.50 for one ride and you know what? I wanted to get home so I didn’t spend any energy being pissed off about it.
Fug it. And the point is, sure I got screwed but at least I didn’t bust my ass.
I saw a pregnant woman on the subway this morning. I was standing and tried to make eye-contact with her. If she looked at me I’d ask if she wanted to sit and then I’d see if someone would give up their seat for her. There was something girlish about her though her hair was completely gray, cut right around her shoulders and she dressed like a woman not a girl. In one hand she held a cup of coffee, in the other, she gripped a bagel with jelly. I wondered if she’d be embarrassed if I asked someone to get up for her.
She ate the bagel like she was mad at it. But she didn’t look annoyed just ravenous. It was amusing, even arousing, and I imagined making a video of her. It would be a family joke for years to come.
But I didn’t know her so I just admired her eating the fuck out of that bagel.
[Photo Credit: jkingsz]
Enter light. And it was nice out this weekend as the clocks changed.
This morning I heard two women on the subway talking about the weather. One, in a Rosie Perez accent, said, “It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. They say it will be in the ’40s and chilly but I find it chilly today, dammit.”
[Photo Credit: Jamel Shabazz]
There’s a slightly surreal quality to a subway station during the day when the light from outside falls inside–through a grate, or in this picture by our man Bags, through the stairwell.
The things around us are so easy to miss. This morning on my subway ride to work, though, I looked up from a magazine article and paid attention. First, uptown, before the train got crowded, a fat guy a few seats to my right, placed half of his Cuban sandwich on his left leg, the melted cheese almost touching his jeans, as he texted with both hands. And to my left, a trim, smartly-dressed guy who looked like he stepped out of a GQ fashion spread–skinny legs, red pants, no socks, black suede loafers with an ornate design. He sent a text, too, on a large Samsung smart phone. Surprised to see a SoHo dude like that get on at Dyckman.
Later, a middle-aged mother–Russian, maybe?–and her two boys, both wearing brown coats, not older than ten, her arm around the young one, the one with glasses, pinching his cheeks, holding him close. And the scowling teenage girl wearing combat boots who fell asleep, her head leaning to the side, her face not so angry in sleep, revealing the tenderness of her age.
Then a woman sitting next to me, hard and firm, angling for position. I didn’t want to give up my arm location, established because I was there first. I was finished with the magazine but I didn’t lean over and put it in my napsack, resting on the floor between my legs, because then I’d give up my position and she’d surely take advantage. A stranger, no words, no recognition even, but engaged in silent combat.
Soon it was crowded and I couldn’t help but smile at the young boy with the small head who, packed in his huge coat, backpack weighing him down from behind, looked like a turtle. Or the tall girl with the pom pom on her hat that made her look six feet tall.
And when I got off the train at my stop, there was the short man with the small, tight mouth that I often see, though he’s usually with his wife, who also has a small, tight mouth. They remind me of people whose dogs look like them and it makes me wonder if people are drawn together for similar reasons. Passing through the turnstiles with a school of commuters, up the stairs, a pretty Asian girl wearing a North Face jacket and black tights is at the top of the steps waiting to walk down. She halts and waits. As I move by I turn my head slightly–though never is slightly so obvious when we’re talking about a man–shift my eyes and and take a look. Sure enough she’s got a backside that could stop traffic. Ass for days, the kind that makes men–or women, for that matter–do foolish things. But I don’t stop, I keep it moving. It’s just that I took a moment to notice.
I’m on the train the other day on my way to work. A woman I worked with almost twenty years ago gets on and stands in front of me. She doesn’t see me and I look down at my book because I don’t want to make conversation.
We weren’t friends but worked in the same restaurant for about a year. Well enough to remember, long enough ago to forget. I read my book and then looked up, her crotch a foot-and-half away from my face.
We got off at the same stop. She didn’t look at me and I didn’t get the satisfaction of her seeing me but not being able to place the face.
[Drawing by Adrian Tomine]
Last night I was waiting on the uptown platform at 103rd Street. There was a kid playing the guitar across the tracks and at first I didn’t notice him but then I couldn’t help but listen. He wasn’t playing a song just jamming. I waited for him to finish so that I could applaud. He was good. But he didn’t stop. So I saw that my train wasn’t coming yet and ran up the stairs, crossed over to the other side, ran down the stairs and threw a dollar in the kid’s guitar case.
“You are doing work,” I said.
When I got back to the uptown platform I was able to capture this just before my train rolled into the station.
Listening to that dude play made my day.
[Photo Credit: Frederick JG]
It’s always fun when you see a dance crew on the train–so long as a flying foot doesn’t clip you by accident.
[Photo Credit: Humans of New York]