"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Subway Stories

New York Minute


How do you react when someone sleeps on your shoulder? I generally won’t have it but I suppose it depends on my mood and the person who falls asleep on my shoulder.

Where & When: Game 20

Welcome Back to Where & When.  This will be a special edition to highlight the recent loss of a cultural icon.  For several generations and cultures who inhabit the city, this was their Penn Station. I present this without further comment, but feel free to post thoughts.

Where & When 20-1

New York Graffiti Landmark 5 Pointz Continues To Appeal Demolition

Tuesday, November 19, 2013:

Where & When 20-3 111913

Where & When 20-4

 Here is a Google Gallery of what was 5 Pointz. 

Here is a little history.

New York Minute


Occasionally I see a big kid on the subway platform in the morning. He has a full head of dark hair and he gets on the subway at the same door as me. One morning I established position as the train arrived. When it stopped and the doors opened, the kid slid past me and got in first. He tapped on the side of the train twice before he got on.

No manners. So I began to play a little game every time I saw him, getting position like I was boxing someone out on the basketball court. But still he moved past me, knocked on the side of the train and got on.

Finally I realized that I was being ridiculous. The kid could be autistic and here I was getting offended. Or maybe he didn’t have autism. Anyhow, what’s it my business?

Yesterday, I saw him again. Made eye contact. He looked away. When the train came I stayed back, watched him knock twice on the side of car then get on. I was happy to let him go first.

[Image By Nacho Ormaechea via Ghost in the Machine]

New York Minute

I saw this dude on my subway ride to work today and asked if I could photograph his arms. He’s a Brit but has a deep love for New York.


I asked him why Lou Gehrig and he said, “Why not?”

Good enough, right? He was a shy kid, wasn’t talkative and that’s cool. I’m thankful he let me admire his devotion to New York.

New York Minute


Could have used a jacket this morning. Well, that might be stretching it some but it was cool. Autumn is in the air.

So fresh, so fresh.

New York Minute

forgive me

I saw this kid on the subway this morning. Sitting next to his girl, plump and black with a gap between her two front teeth. She wore a black T-shirt and black shorts, white socks and flip flops.

I remarked on the kid’s tattoo and asked if I could take a picture. The train was moving so I didn’t get a good shot but he was happy to let me photograph him. Maybe it’s a generational thing–kids are used to putting themselves out into the world now.

They are from Tallahassee, Florida and have been in New York for a week.

I wonder what he’s done to make him ink “Forgive Me” on his neck.

New York Minute


Early days of the IRT. 

New York Minute


A different kind of subway map.

New York Minute


“What is your superpower?”

“Fix the trains.”

Because it’s hard to get enough of Humans of New York.

New York Minute


Guy I know went to the game last week when Derek Jeter returned to action.

Sent me this e-mail:

Went to the game again today, got a $5 ticket, bought it a couple hours before the Jeter announcement.

On the train on the way up, I see a couple. (I was running late so there weren’t many of us). The girl’s wearing a Jeter T-shirt, looking at her cell phone. The guy’s got on a Yankees wife-beater, Yanks shorts, and he’s holding one of those bona fide gray Jeter jerseys that cost like a 100 bucks.

I sidle up and say, “Hey, got the Jeter gear! His first game of the year!”

The guy looks at me then looks away. “I dunno, we don’t follow them.”

The girl keeps on checking her phone.

[Photo Credit: Meredith Winn]

New York Minute

Something you don’t see everyday. Dozens of boy scouts waiting to get on the subway.

New York Minute

My wife and I were standing on the subway platform at Chambers Street last weekend when I saw a guy holding something familiar.

“That guy’s got a bullworker,” I said.

“Excuse me?” said my wife.

“A bullworker.”

“I don’t understand what you are saying.”

I told her to hang on and went over to talk to him. Sure enough it was a bullworker.

My father had one back in the early 1980s in one of his periodic attempts to be fit. I said as much to the guy who said he bought his off some guy on the street. Showed me the model–made in 1969. He said it’s indestructible and that he uses it all the time. Said it’s making a comeback.

The Bullworker. I’m not kidding.

New York Minute

A 1955 PSA by Milton Caniff. Via the most cool site, The Bristol Board.

[Featured image by Sy Kattelson]


New York Minute

Beautiful gallery of NYC subway photographs over at Magnum Photos.

New York Minute

Hey Ma, what’s fuh dinner? Seen on the 1 train last night.  Too funny.

New York Minute


Over at Wired, Tim De Chant has a piece on how engineers are building a new railroad under NYC.

[Photo Credit: Dean Kaufman]

New York Minute


The Third Avenue El, via Easy Gig.

New York Minute

Only Baseball Matters this morning on the 1 train.

New York Minute

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]

New York Minute

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.

Picture by Bags. 

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver