Sometimes you need a shot of subway

Since Covid I haven’t been getting enough subway. I’ve only been able to come into New York City a couple of days a week so my time is cut down considerably walking down the stairs to the transportation I like.

Shocked? I enjoy the subway. No, I don’t like the dirt, the noise, the delays, the quasi-acrobats swinging on the subway poles and the furry visitors you see scurrying on the tracks.

So what in heaven’s name could I possibly like about a transportation system that can take me almost anywhere in New York City for only a couple of dollars?

The folks who join me on the ever-changing show that tells a new tale with every stop and in every borough. Every time I walk onto a subway I come across a new group of happy, sad, exhausted, fearful, anxious, bored, rushed faces.

On the subway each journey is an experience and when I don’t get to swipe my MetroCard through the entryway at least once a week, I feel a little bit less New York-ish.

Example. A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to go to Lincoln Center for a ballet recital. The performance ended at 10pm which meant fewer subway trains because of the late hour.

Standing on the subway platform I looked at the Arrivals clock and saw I had 20 minutes to wait until the next train. Even though I was tired after a long day, I decided to take advantage of the time and walk the length of the platform just to check things out. Since the platform is two city blocks long, I had a fair amount of area to cover and observe.

Within 10 minutes I saw a man practicing his dance moves, a woman dozing on a bench alongside another woman arguing on the phone with her boyfriend/husband/partner (I’m trying to be correct here, folks), a well-dressed man looking for a hand-out, a disturbed person talking to the ceiling, a happy couple and I knew they were happy because they were actually holding hands, and finally at least a dozen people staring down the subway track looking for those two bright train headlights that would mean “Finally, the train is coming.”

Did I look down the track as well? Of course. Did I get anxious waiting for the train? Not with all of my interesting fellow passengers around me. Every one of them told me a different story and they never had to speak to me directly to get their point across.

When the train arrived and I finished my 15 minute trip downtown, I left the subway with a smile and it wasn’t because the ride was over. The NYC Subway System had lifted my spirits again.

All it takes for me is a quick shot of subway.


About nhbrownlee

Advertising copywriter, Creative Director and state of New York college professor. I love true stories. Who doesn't?
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