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Lost In Transit

by 03/17/2012
Neighborhood: All Over

It was 5PM on a Friday evening and somehow I was the only person on the train. I may have put the “new” in “New Yorker,” but I was no stranger to the stuffy sardine cans that subway trains turn into during rush hour. I craned my neck to get a look into the adjoining […]

Harlem Girls

by 09/21/2011
Neighborhood: Harlem, Uncategorized

I love this train station. 125th St. The 1 is sentimental, alluring. It’s Ice T’s shadow in the credits of Law and Order SVU, It’s an isolated and spectacular scene that rises from below at 125th street, and Harlem is unfolded from panoramic elevation. I stood on 125th street, listening the rumble above me as the […]

Don’t Look

by 05/01/2011
Neighborhood: Herald Square, Uncategorized

When I took a position at a legal research firm, I became a frequent rider of the subway, sometimes spending more time under than above ground. My new job  had me traveling from office to office during the day giving presentations and training attorneys. I hate to drive, so I’ve never minded the subway. Usually […]

Don’t Cry for Me

by 02/07/2011
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights

I was standing at the platform waiting for the Q Train in the deep underbelly of the Atlantic Avenue station. I shouldn’t have been there. It was a Sunday afternoon and if everything had gone according to plan, I should have already reached Prospect Heights off the 3 train, if only the trains were running […]

Sympathies of the Mad and Lonely

by 01/30/2011
Neighborhood: All Over, West Village

An overweight middle-aged woman got on the F train somewhere in Midtown, and took the seat facing mine. She was wearing dirty clothes and was carrying two battered plastic bags, a combination that—two weeks in New York had already taught me—was not a good one. She immediately took a pack of Twinkies out of one […]

Beat It!

by 01/30/2011
Neighborhood: Queens

On the middle level of the ever moving station stop at Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, where the subway and the elevated meet in a shaky embrace and humanity flows on a non-stop escalator between heaven and earth, the melting pot boils over with new arrivals as trains disgorge their loads. Here reed-flute players from the […]

Winter Wonderland

by 01/08/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown, Multiple, Uncategorized

The snow is beautiful and magical as it begins to come down in light flakes in the early morning hours of late February. The roads and sidewalks are still manageable, the seagulls playfully carving the air a few blocks away from the Hudson, children throwing snowballs, people out walking their dogs. As the hours pass […]

It is Easy To Speak Chinese

by 01/08/2011
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

At the 96th Street subway station, a Hispanic man with a graying beard hopped on the train. He immediately launched into a barrage of loud, incoherent ranting, which made me wonder if he was freshly sprung from the Bellevue psych ward. After several minutes of rambling in English and Spanish, he finally hit upon a […]

Celebrating the American Revolution

by 07/04/2010
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

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 […]

Get Off the Train Now!

by 06/08/2008
Neighborhood: Union Square

As the glass doors to Trader Joe’s swing away from me I struggle to enter the real word again: the one without cheap organic produce, and shelves of exotic cookie combinations like cashew caramel chip. Water spits down from the darkened sky, frizzing up my hair. All at once I’m balancing three overstuffed shopping bags, […]

You Look Nice Tonight, That’s All

by 05/25/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

A friend told me recently, at a small dinner party at her and her husband’s brownstone, that she’d once been throttled on the subway. The train car, she said, was packed. For balance, she raised both arms into the air and held onto the metal bar above. A man stood behind her, she said, and […]

At the Prospect Park Zoo, 1965

by 05/25/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

Billy Hederman and Eddie Babicke started the migration. So I applied and with their tepid references, “He’s OK, Bob,” I was hired. I was now an official busboy in the Prospect Park zoo cafeteria. Others from my working class Catholic parish adjacent to the park signed up as well. Mo Maloney was assigned to the […]