Photo by SpecialKRB
Young white man with large backpack, heavy French accent, and reasonably capable English: Excuse me, is there a local Number 2 train? It comes on this track?
Middle-aged white New York woman with long, dangling earrings: No.
This is the Number 1 track. Number 2 trains, they’re all express. Over on that track. A Number 2 just pulled out.
French man: Oh! I just got off that train! A girl on that train, she tell me to get off because it was express and I need a Number 2 that is local.
Woman: I tell you there’s no such thing as a Number 2 that’s local. Where are you going?
Man: Here, I show you [opens large, MTA map]. One Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Street. That girl on the train said there was a 2 Local.
Woman: Harlem. You’re going to Harlem?
Young white New Yorker man wearing black yarmulke in hair: There IS a Number 2 train that’s local!
Woman: No there is not! There’s not. I don’t think there is. Lemme me see that map.
NY Man: Where are you going?
French man: One Hundred and Twenty-fifth. Right here on the map.
NY man: Harlem???
Woman: He’s going to Harlem.
NY man: This Number 1 local here, at Broadway and 125th, is also Harlem.
Woman: No it’s not! It’s Manhattanville! Morningside Heights! He wants to go to Harlem!
French man: Is there something wrong with Harlem?
American man: Oh no. There’s nothing wrong with Harlem.
Woman: He wants to go to Harlem. Let him go to Harlem!
French man: That girl on the train, she said there was local Number 2. That girl–
Woman: Forget that girl. You want Harlem.
French man: Yes, Harlem!
Woman: Here’s a 3 train coming right now. Take it! Take it! It’s just like the 2. It takes you to Harlem.
French man: Harlem.
American man: Harlem?
Debbie Nathan lives in Upper Manhattan and is working on “Sybil, Inc.,” a book about the making of the 1970s bestseller Sybil.