Posts tagged trains
Posts tagged trains
I’ve written about the subway a couple of times. I don’t sugarcoat how I feel about it; I think it’s one of the worst places and experiences on the planet. Riding the subway for many years now has me accustomed to armpits in my face, cranky and/or irate passengers, overcrowding and awful smells. It is what it is.
Not many people know this, but one of my biggest NYC-related fears (aside from pigeons) is the fear of being pushed onto the subway tracks. I remember seeing a Dateline type show when I was in college, and a young girl was violently thrown onto the tracks and killed by an oncoming train. Turns out it was just a crazy person who was off his meds and just like that; he pushed her and she died. Done. She never saw it coming.
If I can pat myself on the back for a minute, I’ll say one thing I am the opposite of is oblivious. I am VERY aware of my surroundings and I am suspicious of everyone (probbbbbbably because I think everyone is going to murder me). I observe, I watch, and I’m on alert. The other night I was waiting for the 6 train and a weird guy was approaching where I was standing. He had a bizarre look on his face, and just looked “off” to me.
My first reaction was that this could be the kind of guy who pushes someone onto the train tracks. So I watched him like a hawk, I firmly planted my feet on the ground and got in a stance that would make it hard for a person to toss me anywhere. I clenched my fists, took the headphones out of one of my ears (can’t be distracted by music if something’s about to go down), and I get ready.
…And then he continues to walk by. And the train arrives. And nothing happens. At least you can’t say I wasn’t prepared.
The sad thing is, I do this about once a week.
Just today, though, my biggest fear was realized. It was all over the news this morning that two men got into an altercation on a subway platform here in Manhattan yesterday, and it escalated to a point where one of the man threw the other down onto the tracks. A train arrived a minute or two later, striking and killing him. So, yeah. People do this.
It’s not the man’s fault that he was pushed, but if I had any advice for my fellow New Yorkers, it would be to TRUST NO ONE. Just assume that everyone in this city wants you dead. Don’t look at anyone funny, don’t say anything to anyone, and don’t participate in any arguments. There are a bunch of lunatics gallivanting around The Big Apple, and it’s our job to just stay out of their way.
It was only one day before this incident that I was reading about ANOTHER subway brawl that occurred (ON MY SUBWAY LINE!); involving two women who got into a spat. One of the women in her dramatic fit of rage was trying to stab the other with a Bic pen.
Guys, be careful out there. We’re all cranky on the late and crowded trains, but I don’t think it’s worth catching a ballpoint pen to the jugular for.
And if the person coming towards you on the subway platform looks suspicious, get into a good self-defense stance like I do every day.
This cover is really tactless, New York Post, even for you.
For your reference:
The lady that went ballistic and tried to stab a woman with a writing instrument:
The Dateline story I saw in college that triggered my fear:
I wanted to take the time to write you an adoring letter to express my gratitude, appreciation and utmost respect for your organization. I would have written this note earlier, but unfortunately I was stuck on one of your trains this evening. A commute on the 6 train that usually takes about 10 minutes, instead took one hour. But, hey! That’s life, right? Things happen!
I’ll start off by thanking you for not having the air conditioning on in the trains in the morning. You obviously noticed that it’s gotten quite chilly outside, and knew all of us straphangers would love to emerge onto a toasty warm, stifling, stuffy train car. Geez, you guys think of everything! I just have to remember to stop dressing for the Fall weather and instead wear some kind of tank top or perhaps even a bathing suit for my commute; especially since I’ve been sweating in your sauna-like conditions lately! And sure, does the lack of flowing air create a stagnant, smelly (who DOESN’T like the smell of fresh B.O in the morning?) and somewhat nauseating odor? Of course, but it’s a small price to pay for all that warmth.
Secondly, the entertainment that your train rides provide is certainly top notch! These musical acts, religious prophets, paranoid schizophrenics and beggars are such a joy while commuting to and from work! I often think to myself, “you know, I haven’t read the bible in a while” and then BOOM! I’m relieved and overjoyed to find that an individual has now entered my train car to speak — I’m sorry, did I say speak? I meant SHOUT — excerpts of the Old Testament. How fun is this!! Oftentimes I don’t even want to get off at my stop since I’m enjoying the show so much! I also enjoy the teenage boys who come into the train with their boom boxes, start doing flips and gymnastics in the tightly packed train car, and almost kick me square in the face in the process. Woohoo!
Sure, I’m a bit tired in the mornings at 8am when heading to work, and even more exhausted at night after putting 8+ hours in at the office and then another hour at the gym, but who doesn’t like to be jolted awake and distracted from their boring old books/iPods/naps for some good ol’ fashioned entertainment? I know I do!
Who said commuting isn’t fun?!
One of my favorite things about riding on the subways in Manhattan is the way the MTA brings the citizens of the city together. Literally. I really love how you guys purposely have the trains come infrequently and/or late to the station, forcing us commuters to stand in a packed-sardine-can-situation. What better way to get to know your neighbors than to have their armpits in your face, their genitals pressed up against your back, their morning breath seeping into your nostrils? It truly is a beautiful thing.
When I think about the cost of my unlimited monthly ticket; I often wonder why it isn’t MORE expensive! I can’t believe it’s only $104 a month to ride in this pleasurable, wonderful and exhilarating subway system! To me, $1250 a year is merely chump change for the chance to ride in Manhattan’s most coveted transportation method.
Lastly, your employees! Where did you find such kind, helpful, cheerful employees?! The level of care and compassion is unlike anything I’ve seen from any other organization. I particularly like their style of “tough love;” the idea that they want YOU to figure out your own way, and they don’t believe in hand-holding or going out of their way to assist. What a genius method of customer service! Like the time my boyfriend’s Metro card was eaten by the machine, and you told him there was nothing you could do about it! It really taught him a lesson in responsibility and taking charge!
In conclusion, THANK YOU, MTA. You really know how to brighten a girl’s day and make life a little more interesting. Whenever I catch myself getting aggravated, frustrated, or filled with utter rage at your late, hot, disgusting trains, I always remember that you’re doing it all in my best interest.
PS- love is certainly in the (hot, sticky, gross) air when riding on the MTA; just see this photographic proof of these two meth addicts PDA-ing up a storm! <3
Well, I suppose my good luck streak had to end. I had a nice week-long stint of easy commutes on the 6 train to and from work…until today.
Something happens in the city when it rains; trains are less reliable (it’s actually shocking they can be LESS reliable than they already are), people are more obnoxious (also shocking), and there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that your commute won’t be a nightmare.
I left work at 6pm, and was standing on the platform at 23rd Street shortly after. The train didn’t come for ten whole minutes, which in commuter time is about three hours.
Because the train took so long to come, the crowd on the platform started to grow at a rapid pace. People were wet from the rain, smelled extra funky, and looked increasingly agitated.
The train arrives, and now it’s a game of Human Tetris to try and fit all the people in their various shapes and sizes into the packed car. People are shoving, people are irate, and my anger level is reaching unhealthy decibels.
I’m now in a packed-to-the-max sweaty and stinky train car, and have lost count at the amount of eye rolls and sighs that I’ve produced. Some idiot tries to squeeze into the car even though he cannot possibly fit, but makes several attempts anyway. All the while the train doors begin to close and then jerk back open because he’s in the way, making that dreaded sound… BING-BONGGGGGG!
“Knock it off, asshole!” someone shouts.
I hate commuting.
The doors finally close, and I now feel something pressing into my back. I ignore it at first, but it continues; and the force becomes stronger. I turn around to find an ignorant tourist (how did I know she was a tourist? The huge camera and strap around her neck was a good indicator) behind me, so close that her body was beginning to push into mine. I shot her a nasty look. She didn’t notice. She continued to press into me. MY ANGER LEVEL IS THROUGH THE ROOF.
I slightly shove her. She slightly shoves me back. Am I going to get into a fight on the 6 train? I will if I have to. I hate this tourist.
I look down. The guy in the seat in front of me is mouthing the words to a song on his iPod. I hate him too.
Finally, my stop! The doors open at 68th Street and I realize I need to get through a crowd of 400 people. ”Excuse me…EXCUSE ME….EXCUSE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!“
I’m sweating, I’m frazzled, and I almost lose my oversized Michael Kor’s bag in the shuffle. I finally make it out alive. I feel like I’ve been in battle.
I walk out, straighten up my clothes, fix my hair, and breathe.
Let’s hope it’s better tomorrow.