Thursday, October 27, 2011

beautiful post for a rainy, grey morning

from Lisa, in Brooklyn:
"I made the train a romantic ride for all this morning"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


For those of us searching for it, here are some options

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quote for the day...

Today, government is a lot like the subway. We tend to give the crazy person what he wants.

-Bill Maher

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Subway Humper

So I sit down on the subway. The train is crowded, but I take the one seat next to the guy who's drinking. I'm tired.

This gentleman has a neck brace on, has clearly broken his nose a number of times, and is drinking with a straw from a can in a paper bag. He smells like beer, not body odor, just beer.

We're two express stops in when he starts groaning gently.

Soon, he stood up and starts gyrating around the the pole. He takes his neck brace off, sips his beer through his straw, and starts humping the railing.

Yes. A Subway Humper.

The picture isn't the best, but it's the best I could do with my phone camera--being that I was in the seat right next to the guy.....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

11:49 at night 14th and 7th on a 95 degree day

I saw this guy come down into the station carrying a small coffee table.
He plops right down and uses it as a footstool.

It was probably the hottest day of the year so far, it was almost midnight, a empty 3 train pulls into the station and sits there, with closed doors, for a good 7 minutes, while the sign said the next train was 14 minutes away.

This guy had the right idea.

I caught up with him on the train, when it finally came. We were all glad to be in air conditioning and the car was friendly.

The guy's name is Gaspar, he was cool about me taking pictures. And he genuinely seemed to enjoy the attention he was getting by his neighbors. The table as stool was such a good idea we all wanted to put our feet up on it.

Gaspar is an awesome photographer, here's his website

Check him out in this photo below, and check out his site.

11:49 at night 14th and 7th on a 95 degree day

I saw this guy come down into the station carrying a small coffee table.
He plops right down and uses it as a footstool.

It was probably the hottest day of the year so far, it was almost midnight, a empty 3 train pulls into the station and sits there, with closed doors, for a good 7 minutes, while the sign said the next train was 14 minutes away.

This guy had the right idea.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Piano Stairs

What would it sound like if we did this in New York?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good Subway Behavior responds to some Bad Subway Behavior

An old friend of mine works in transit in Boston. He was actually the first person to see this now-viral footage of a woman stumbling onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. Here's what he had to say about it, with the footage below.

I'm actually the first person who saw the footage, my boss asked me to head over to the control center and see if there was anything on tape about what happened. I'm not sure what I exclaimed in the middle of the control center when I saw it, but it was enough for every subway dispatcher in the room to stand up and look at me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

F Train, Oh F Train

My friend Lisa put this haunting picture/video on her facebook page. It's hypnotic graininess serves as a reminder of my youth. I feel very strongly about the Kentile Floors sign over the Gowanus, it is a symbol of my home, perhaps the way a Texan feels about an image of a cowboy and a saguro cactus, or the way a midwesterner feels about a beautiful old barn. The only word I can use is patriotic. This is my home.

This is what these kids are looking at.....
The images are mesmerizing, the music, perhaps not as much...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Subway Seat Brawl

Is it just me, or does everyone in this video vaguely remind me of "The Dude" in the Big Lebowski. Maybe it's the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. I like that an older woman has joined in to get her share of the thumping.

I like that the train is in the station, a crowd is clearly watching these people tear each other to shreds, and the doors aren't opening.

Please leave your funny comments in the comment box.

My favorite commentary for this comes from the original poster, via YOUTUBE. You think it's dangerous to ride the train late at night? Try 10:40 in the morning! Also, note every reference to a piece of electronics used by this tech savvy straphanger

From Shugal G

The incident occurred at around 10:40AM on a Manhattan bound E or M train at E53rd and Lexington Ave ( I get on at Court Square-the previous stop and didn't notice which train).
I was reading an article on the train on my IPAD2 on my way to work , when I got off the train I heard a heated argument and saw fists start to fly. I immediately turned on my camera and began to record when I noticed the doors closed but the train not move- thinking police might need the video as evidence of the crime I kept recording.

As I recorded I noticed the train was full and I heard a girl crying and saw an old lady clawing at the door for the fight to stop.
After a minute I heard the doors open and people hurrying out of the subway car.
The fight then spilled out onto the platform at which point the old lady started hitting (her palm) the african american gentleman to try to stop the fight.
At this point the person who was assaulted kicked a bystander who thought was involved.

At this point the 2 men then headed up an escalator while yelling obscenities.
the Assaulted then came to the foot of the escalator and started yelling at the 2 men saying they are about to have "Round 2" and started running up the escalator.
The caucasian gentleman went first...he began to run down while the other guy was running up the stairs. They clashed and started rolling down the escalator stairs- I believe I slowed their
tumble by one of them smashing into my leg.

The man in the colorful shirt ran down a few seconds after first 2 clashed. Only he tripped, fell and started to roll down the escalator stairs.
At this point I reached the top and ran outside to flag down the police.

My question: Where is the second part of this video?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Exclusive Interview with Casey Neistat, Filmmaker Extraordinaire

When I saw Casey's film: "When to Pull the Emergency Brake," I knew it was exactly the fine New York work I'm here to record.

See it for yourself, truly impressive:

I've also recently admired Casey's recent movie on biking in the bike lane.

So here's an exclusive interview with the increasingly great Casey Neistat:

Subway Subculture: What inspired you to make this film?

Casey Neistat: a great and funny New York Times article by Michael Grynbaum. Reading his report and thinking the story seemed so visual. Better told with pictures than words so I thought why not. He wrote the outline i just had to shoot the movie

Subway Subculture:
Is this your first time getting arrested for a film? How did the police respond when they learned your purpose?

Casey Neistat: the cops let me go. they were upset. they didn't understand. but i apologized a lot. tried to explain it was a joke. then just played really dumb. i wouldn't say i was arrested for a film, that sounds intentional. I was just trying to illustrate a point, a point that is now lost on me, and i guess i was doing it in a way that was not in line with what the NYPD thought was ok

Subway Subculture: Did the fake baby make it off the platform okay?

Casey Neistat: i bought that baby in chinatown for $12. it cried when you squeezed it's little rubber hand. i have no idea where he is currently

Subway Subculture: Your work humorously aims to draw attention to things that will ultimately make life safer for New Yorkers. Have you gotten any responses from the city government?

Casey Neistat: that's sounds way more noble than the reality. i like to tell stories. typically the stories i think worth telling are of the experiences i have in life that stand out in some way. sometimes, infrequently, those experiences are ones that also happen on others and happen in this big fast moving city. i love the idea that others might benefit by the way these little movies are received but i'd be lying if i said that was my expressed goal. my goal is always just to make a good movie.

Subway Subculture: Have you recovered from your physical injuries in the bike lane movie?

Casey Neistat: no injuries sustained

Subway Subculture: What can we, as your NYC audience, look forward to hearing from you next?

Casey Neistat: working on a feature film i shot in Afghanistan about USAF Pararescue men. some of the most amazing human beings i've ever met.

You can check out Casey's website here and learn more about his HBO TV show.
Casey is a winner of the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award with sometimes colleagues Josh and Ben Safdie of Red Bucket Films

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fine Conductors

Words of experience from Train Man Paul

To be honest, 3 people I can note who definitely fit that bill, one is a trainer for conductors here at MNR, who thinks very highly of me and my abilities and even goes out her way to get student conductors on OJT to be on my trains as much as possible (extremely flattering, and yes the extra hour is good too, but yes it does feel good to impart good work ethic on the new folks, and have someone promoting you in that respect!!)....and yes, she does call me "#1" (not said or meant in any conceded way, just expressing how I am dubbed, so that is clear!!).

Second, was one of the very first conductors in the TA I did OJT with, who thought very highly about my interest in the business, and how confident I was and comfortable I was on my very first day (which was on the D out of Coney Island for OJT), and she went out of her way to make me feel more than welcome aboard, which I remember and do appreciate to this very day!! :-)

Third, another conductor, who I last saw when working the E out of Parsons-Archer, who got to know me and my interest in the job and business and from how he interpreted my work ethic, he always stated....."You are definitely destined for bigger and better things in this business, I know it!!:. A great guy and I hope he still on the road in Queens Division (though I suspect he might have retired by now!!)

It's these experiences one always will remember until the day one retires from service!!! And I strive to become one, whom someday, will be as talked about in a respective and positive light as this guy is, and maybe someday be someone people whom trained on my trains, or met me and befriended me in service, can say "his words, actions and ethic made a difference in my life here"!! :-)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Train Man Paul

I see this guy and I think how much I wanted to be a train conductor when I was a little kid.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memories of a Great Subway Conductor

In all likelihood, Harry Nugent was broken in by a real old timer named Abe (Al) Steinberg who retired sometime in the mid 1960s. When I was in high school from 1958 to 62, I would often ride his last trip out of Van Cortlandt after school and he made the most interesting announcements such as "Next stop good old 137 St, City College for better knowledge," 66 Street, the 99 upside down station," and "Times Square, change for the BMT if you want it." Abe was known at the time as the poet laureate of the subways and due to his public image had connections to obtain various types of theater tickets for any of his friends who wanted them.

A Gentleman and a Conductor....

Yesterday's honoring of conductor Harry Nugent sparked a variety of tributes to great conductors and MTA everyday heroes.

Here's one such incredible guy. Truly a gentleman. You can see it in his eyes.
(everyone's pal)
Fred G.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The most charming subway conductor from an age ago....

This may have made it through the interwebs already, but it is the most truly charming video, and exactly what I would like to present in this forum.

Early 90's 1 train conductor Harry Nugent

Interview with the people who did NYC Dining Car

Interview with Michael Cirino of A Razor, A Shiny Knife:

Subway Subculture: I know you've received a lot of press and a lot of attention, what has been the most surprising response?
Nothing is terribly surprising as food is provocative and political no matter how lighthearted and simple you act. Actually the Daily Mail's article was the most surprising. They created an entire story based on the video, with details and facts that were completely fabricated. That blatant acceptance of the performance aspect of our event was shocking and it was nice to see them play along with the absurdity of the whole thing.

Subway Subculture: What was your favorite onlooker reaction to the luncheon?
There was a couple who stay on the train much longer than they expected trying to figure out how and what we were serving. They were very quizzical and enjoyed the extremity of the table side soup service a lot.

Subway Subculture: Do you feel that you could do this on other trains than the L, do you think people on the N or A trains would have responded so well?
To be honest the main reason that we chose the L was start location as being in an accessibly part of Manhattan and the length of the line. It is only 42 minutes long and we figured the less amount of time we have the less chance we have of making mistakes. I am sure that anyone would have found this funny.

Subway Subculture: What inspired you to do this, and what inspirations are you working with now for future lunches?
Well the idea of hosting performances on the subway system in NYC or any city is not new. We were driving in LA after an event in December and Jonny was sitting i the back of our rental car and we were throwing ideas around and he mentioned that we should host a dinner on the L train because it was convenient for him. So we agreed it was a good idea and then the holidays happened and we all got busy with different things, and about a month later i gave Jonny a call and said that i thought i had figured out how to actually do the lunch on the train. To which he responded, "great just tell me when and where to show up."

Monday, June 6, 2011

So that's what happened to the girl from the Blind Melon Video

Okay. The title is taken from one of the finest blog comments I've ever heard period, on Gothamist. Spoken by a commenter named splicernyc.

This woman illustrates the "five second rule" eating a hot dog that falls on the ground on the subway. Is that disgusting? Quite. But whatever the source of her haze (heroin, painkillers?), the video is more than just a little mesmerizing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Good Cop / Bad Cop / Bunny Cop?

Okay...for all that NYC has done to keep people from smoking lately. A pack of cigarettes, taxed beyond $10 a pack, signs of rotting teeth in every bodega, those ghastly "dying from smoking is rarely quick" signs everywhere, and of course the no smoking in parks ban (which is so sketchy from a civil liberties point of view)....

we get....

Bunnies Never Lie

Thank you, New York Anti Smoking Campaign. We needed a little "good cop" from you.

Real Art on the NYC Subway, if you're fast enough to catch it...

Incredible zoetrope on the end of a Q/B train tunnel leading to the Manhattan Bridge by Bill Brand. It's called Masstransiscope.

What it looks like, filmed from the train

See another animated rendering on Bill's website here

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Condolence Board for Young Woman killed at 77th Street

My deepest condolences go out to the friends family of Fatoumata Diallo, 21, who died just after 3:00 yesterday after falling on the local tracks of the 77th St. Lexington Ave. line station. The young woman was a bright and beautiful Bronx native from Ghana, studying to be a doctor. Her family believes that she passed out from the heat, as she had done so in the past.
Reading the local news can make your heart so heavy. Yesterday, when the 6 train was "delayed due to an earlier incident", I was waiting at Union Square. The crowds were getting restless, people were pushing on the platform. When a small war of words broke out on my uptown 6 due to pushing, I knew the cause and shared it, we were all cramped in here because a young woman probably fainted in this hot weather and died on the track. A shudder went through the crowd.

Here are some responses on comment sites around the internet. We, in New York, feel these things personally.

"This was a tragic day. First reports were that it was a child who fell into the tracks and the mother jumped in rescue the child and they were both killed. It was news that left those of us on the sidewalk utterly devastated and saddened. It wasn't until the news crews showed that people finally learned what really had happened. It has been brutally hot in the city and tens times worse on the tracks. This is the second death at this station in a year and yet the MTA has closed a both. Not that they would have been able to prevent it but if it would be nice to know that if there was a situation that someone was there to send out an alert for approachin­g trains. Such an incredibly sad story. Heart felt prayers to her family."

"A friend of mine, lost her brother this way, he fell onto the tracks many years ago and to this day they don't know if he jumped or it was an accident. A lot of people like to look down the tunnel to see if a train is coming. It won't make the train come any faster if you do that. I like the new system of an electronic alert with the ETA of your train."

"I am so sorry to hear this. must be really tough for her family during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.She was studying medicine and wanted to be a doctor so she can help others."
-- nyyankeesfan

"I'll be always missing you were so full of joy and life! May u rest in peace!
Loveeee uuu 4ever sweetheart!"
--Sona Leno, from London

Subway Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?

Apparently, my last post stirred up some heated emotions on graffiti, vandalism being taken as art. Me, I've seen a lot of vandalism in my day, but I believe in art.

And there isn't anybody out there who can't say the highlights in this video aren't art. This is art. It's some phenomenal friggin' art.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is kind of how I feel about the fact that it's summer

Break dancers on the train. Way talented. I love when the guy comes towards the camera, full on backflip after backflip.

Happy Summer, Everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pole Dancin' on the L train

Why is it always the L? People think they can do anything on the L train.

Actually, it's a video shoot for Girl Talk/All Day

But still....people think they can do anything on the L train.

Tsk, tsk.

Suicide at Union Square

Whew, so yesterday, there was a suicide at Union Square. I believe this would be the most upsetting thing a person could possibly see in the subways.

The most odd detail? The deceased left a full bag of groceries on the platform.

I'll never forget seeing an old classmate, in a wheelchair, without legs. He had tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of a subway train and failed, losing only his legs. I always wondered what kind of decision that would be, where you would do it, how impulsive it would be. It speaks for the human impulse against suicide, that more people don't chose this in NYC.

When looking to find statistics on this, I discovered that the MTA doesn't keep suicide records (perhaps out of respect.) I did find an abstract for an academic medical article though. I've highlighted what I found interesting.

J Forensic Sci. 2009 Nov;54(6):1414-8. Epub 2009 Oct 5.
Subway train-related fatalities in New York City: accident versus suicide.
Lin PT, Gill JR.
Office of Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York, Jamaica, New York, NY, USA. plin (at)
We examined the characteristics of subway train-related fatalities in New York City between Jan. 1, 2003 and May 31, 2007 in order to determine which factors are useful in differentiating accident from suicide. Subway train-related deaths with homicide and undetermined manners also are included. During this period, there were 211 subway train-related fatalities. The manners of death were: suicide (n = 111), accident (n = 76), undetermined (n = 20), and homicide (n = 4). The causes of death were blunt trauma (n = 206) and electrocution (n = 5). Torso transection and extremity amputation were more frequent in suicides. Antidepressant medications were more frequently detected in suicides, whereas cocaine and ethanol were more frequent in accidents. However, autopsy findings should be weighed in the context of the entire evaluation along with other circumstantial and investigative findings. In unwitnessed deaths where additional information is unavailable or discrepant, the most appropriate manner of death usually is undetermined.

Ultimately, though, my heart goes out to the family and friends of the deceased. This is a terrible loss, and something agonizing to grapple with.

Especially for the people who may have planned to share that bag of groceries.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

That mysterious tinkling sound?

craziest one I saw, but not photographed, was at 14/Lex-southbound plat. I walked the tunnel from 23rd St, onto what I thought was a deserted platform, this was around 2-3 in the morning. I suddenly heard water falling into the trough on track 1, but the platform wasn't being washed. As I neared the curve near the center, I saw a stream of water shooting from what would be waist height and knew right away what it was.....

-from "monorail"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Old Subway Map, 1967

How does the shape of the subway map affect your perception of the shape of New York City, especially Manhattan? Look how different Manhattan looks in this map, versus the Manhattan we are accustomed to seeing on our maps today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Most Colorful Train Ever

--Impressive capture of swatch "wrap" train, by Paul.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Subway Wedding Photos.....

Happy Anniversary, babe....

(best wedding picture ever, from the incredible TI photography, check out perfect placement of the express train between the bride and groom)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Apocalypse on the Subway

Will it happen tomorrow?
The apocalypse?

It's kind of fun to think about.

Without any of us here, the pumps on the train would fail in about two days. This is from Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. Check out these images

This picture of the rats has haunted me for years. I think about it every time I look at the rats on the A train platform at Broadway Nassau. Which is pretty much every time I'm on that platform.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Something to think about when you stare at strangers on the bus

Apparently, yesterday, in Bushwick, an assailant in a blue hoodie shot an 18 year old teenager on the B60 bus.
Reason given: They got in a staring contest. Victim said, "he kept staring at me, so I stared back."
Apparently the teenager was shot just after he alerted the driver too stop.
Details are still emerging.

Here's a security video below.

Look, the guy in the blue hoodie, running away: "I shot a man in Bushwick, cause I didn't like his eyes."

Crime took place on the corner of Myrtle and Wilson avenues, just blocks from the 83rd precinct.

From a witness Jose Vasquez: "The dude who did it had no conscience."

Here's a quote from a bystander, via NY!:
"The cops came around asking questions. They said they picked up a couple of passengers a few stops up, next to Grove. They got into an altercation. Somebody pulled out, shot twice," said a bystander.

So, if you see a guy in a blue hollister hoodie, still running, say something..

Straphangers Campaign wants YOUR pictures to win a free Metrocard

Straphangers Photo Contest

Enter to win a free metrocard, here are some details:

Participants can submit up to three (3) photos in each of two categories: “Good Transit Scene” and “Bad Transit Scene.”

For the first category, “Good Transit Scene,” you can choose images that show how subway and bus scenes highlight the best of New York.

The second category is "Bad Transit Scene." These photos can depict conditions in the subways or on buses that need fixing, everything from peeling paint to garbage strewn locations to rusted canopies.

Photos must be submitted in the following format:

JPEG or GIF format only
250K or lower file size
400x300 pixel size max

Completed entries must be submitted via the online entry form to NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign by 4 p.m., Friday, June 10, 2011.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"the Incident"

Here's a clip from a 1967 movie "The Incident" about two thugs who terrorize subway passengers on a seemingly interminable express between 125th and Grand Central.

What do I like the most about this? Young Martin Sheen, chewing gum and dressed as a big-haired'67 style punk.

Check out the clip at 1:43 minutes to see some classic Sheen features.

What happens when there is a death on the subway?

I've noticed my hits are lighting up over a "death on 59th street." My earlier post discusses a different 59th street, in Manhattan.

But there were some tragic events in Brooklyn yesterday, at 59th St. and 4th avenue.

Here's a clipping from the NY DAILY NEWS.

Subway graffiti artist, 20, struck and killed by Manhattan-bound D train; spray paint found by body

Cans of spray paint were found near the body of a 20-year-old graffiti artist who was struck and killed by a subway in Brooklyn early Monday, police said.

The man, whose name wasn't immediately released, was hit by a Manhattan-bound D train at the 59th St. station. Transit officials said the motorman tried to stop the train just after 5 a.m., but couldn't bring it to a halt in time.

Police withheld the man's name pending notification of his family. He was found in a tunnel. It wasn't immediately clear if the man had already vandalized the interior of the tunnel or was about to tag it.

Service was stalled during the early part of the morning rush. Trains were diverted to the N line.


This is a sad story, as it is every time someone dies on the train.

What happens?
Do we know?
It turns out a friend was late dropping something off at my house due to this accident. The train took a long time to come, ultimately she was re-routed.
It was shocking and poignant to hear that it was as a result of a death.

Let me know if you guys have feedback, in the meantime, my heart goes out to this guy's family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sitting next to John Turturro on the train

So I got pretty starstruck today when I saw John Turturro on the subway platform at 96th St. today. I knew it was him, and snapped a picture as subtly as I could.

I also snapped a picture of his shoes. Can you tell who the movie star is by looking at the feet?

We boarded the train together, when seats opened up he took the seat next to mine. I played it cool, not making eye contact, being a respectful New Yorker.

Turturro was reading a well thumbed copy of a 70's era book titled "Going Places" by Bertrand Blier. He was underlining passages and taking copious notes in the margins.

So I had to look up what this book was, and found these two references: "going places"
More tellingly: the NY Times review of the 1974 film:
new york times "going places"

quote from Wikipedia: "Two whimsical, aimless thugs harass and assault women, steal, murder and alternately charm, fight or sprint their way out of trouble.

Anyone smell a new Coen Brothers project here?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rush Hour Pepper Spray -- 59th Street 5 Train Platform at Lex

Best Argument yet for getting that Second Avenue Subway up and running....

From the New York Post:

Straphangers hit with pepper spray at Midtown station
A woman hit her male companion with pepper spray today aboard a packed subway train during evening rush hour just as it pulled into a Midtown station, officials said.

Two other nearby adults were affected by the fumes and all three were treated on scene, the FDNY said.

The wild scene sent dozens scurrying from the platform while coughing and trying to hold their breath.

"It happened so quickly," one witness said.

"I heard why she’d do that. I saw everyone running away, coughing.

"I smelled it and thought it could be a terror attack."

The dust-up occurred around 6:20 p.m. aboard a southbound No. 5 express train shortly before it pulled into the 59th Street station, an MTA spokesman said.

The woman was arguining with the man — either her boyfriend or husband — when she sprayed the harmful fumes, the spokesman said.

Cops said it wasn’t immediately clear if the woman was arrested.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Naked Guy on the Subway

Charming New Yorker strips naked and terrorizes innocent bystanders.

I appreciated David Letterman's take on it

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Off topic, but amazing: Brooklyn Bridge Tattoos for $28 at Brooklyn Tattoo

from the joint on Smith Street that produces some of the best tattoos I've ever seen in my life:

The Brooklyn Bridge turns 128 on May 24th. To celebrate on of our biggest inspirations Urban Folk Art© Gallery is having a group art opening dedicated to the Brooklyn Bridge on May 20th starting at 7pm. Then on Sunday the 22nd starting at 1pm, Brooklyn Tattoo will be doing $28 dollar Brooklyn Bridge tattoos! First come first serve. Contact the shop for details, or look on the gallery blog

Friday, May 20 at 1:00pm - May 22 at 8:00pm
99-101 Smith street, South Brooklyn

You can choose from a variety of images of the Brooklyn Bridge. Last year, they did about 60 tattoos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No more Metrocards?

Imagine life in NYC without this iconic symbol. Okay. I guess that happened with the token, far more iconic.

What's your favorite metrocard story?

Mine: I used to make bugs and butterflies out of old metrocards, and I would give them to my co-workers to stick on their desks. I even made a metrocard cockroach.

Check out my archives for much greater metrocard art.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ride the Pinup Express

Thank you, James of BMT Lines

Here's an excellent piece of subway art,

"Pinup Rides the BMT" by amazing artist Tiffany O'Brien
(I recommend her website strongly, filled with fabulous creepy/pretty images.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Reaction to the Death of Osama Bin Laden on the NYC Subways

How did last night's news make you feel? How does this video make you feel?

The special characters on the train....

Since I didn't live in NYC, I certainly didn't have the opportunity to witness as much...but, there's always 1 silly story I like to tell. When I was a kid, back around the early 70's, I was riding the Flushing line with my brother on our way to a Mets game. The car was a bit crowded, and
there was this one guy...I'd say early 20's...jet black curly hair and a beard leaning against the door. Not that that in itself was strange...but, he also had a microphone with the wire shoved into his pants pocket. He also had these old paper drinking straws stuck in his ears (Side note: not the plastic drinking straws we know today, back then, they were thinner and made of rolled paper, and the bottom of the straw would get all soggy and crumbled half-way through drinking your soda rendering the straw useless.). Anyway, he had the straws in his ears, and would dance around his area by the door singing, “Be a vegetarian and you’ll be as young as me, La-de-daa, la-de-daa. He would then stop his singing and dancing, and shove the microphone into people’s faces as like a news reported asking for comments. Now, if the guy was actually 70 years old, great! But, me thinks he was a tad off…


Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

City Heart from An Urban Anatomy by David Molander

City Heart from An Urban Anatomy

remarkable art: follow this link.

walk around the world in this surreal cross section of the nether-regions and layers of a city, underground.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Metrocard Yourself!

So...this is probably the most amazing Metrocard art website out there.

Metrocard Yourself!

Upload an image to receive the picture translated into a Metrocard Mosaic.

Here's an example, with Mayor Bloomberg.

This website wass created by amazing artist Nina Boesch, who currently ranks as my favorite metrocard artist, ever.

I heartily recommend her websites, you can purchase copies of your Metrocard Mosaic images as well. Truly an incredible idea.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Have your Train Face On....

Melissa Febos, excerpted with the author's permission from a piece on crying in public in New York in the New York Times.
Read more about this amazing writer on her website.

One afternoon, I was riding a Brooklyn-bound Q train with my mother, who was visiting from Cape Cod, when our conversation lulled. We each glanced around the subway car at the other passengers, their heads bobbing in unison, the eyes of the man across from us doing a creepy back-and-forth twitch as he watched a train whizzing by in the opposite direction behind us. Some people read, or pushed buttons on their smart phones, but most just stared without expression at the floor or the garish overhead posters for Dr. Zizmor’s cosmetic dermatology. My mother (who is, notably, a psychotherapist) leaned into my shoulder and whispered, “Everyone on this train looks depressed.”

I snorted, whispering back: “No, Mom, they just have their train-faces on.” In a place where we are so rarely alone, we find privacy in public. We all have our masks, behind which we are free to be, yes, depressed, or any other emotional state we may not want to share with 30 fellow passengers.

Monday, April 25, 2011

True Love in Brooklyn from amazing sculptor in miniature Alan Wolfson

This artist astounds me. I will be featuring more of his work and more details on how you can see more in the upcoming days and weeks.

Here is Alan Wolfson's website

Here are some details

and my obvious favorite

Friday, April 22, 2011

In case you were wondering how to do it.....

Actual sign, at station at 14th and 6th Avenues.

This is for Jowy at subwayartblog, which is really a spectacular dang blog, in reference to a recently posted service advisory with a similar punchline. This one, I think, gets strait to the point.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Train Arrival Information Signs...Coming to your station

This is publicity video from the MTA, currently doing some very pretty time lapse videos seen here.

As self-advertisement goes, this one makes me pretty happy. I like the diversity of stations and neighborhoods represented.

Thanks nyctheblog for your awesome footage of the timelapse over the Triborough (robert f. kennedy?) Bridge here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eyewitness Accounts: A Woman is Stabbed in the Face by a Blunt Smoking Homeless Man

New in disturbing news about the subways:
Woman stabbed in face with a pen after telling homeless man to stop smoking a marijuana blunt on the 3 train.

Here are two eyewitness accounts:

I was on this train and was one of the samaritans who held this guy down until the cops arrived. Here's some more background, which the article didn't report.
- The guy started rolling a blunt (it wasn't a cigarette, not that it truly matters), and the argument started when he tried to light it. The argument went on and was pretty aggressive (verbally) for about a minute before he swung at her and hit her with the pencil on the forehead.
- Pretty quickly after this a few witnesses pounced on the guy and pinned him in the corner of the car. He was fighting back pretty strongly, and at one point he got his hand into his pocket and grabbed a (folding) knife.
- Even though his hand was free at this time, his arm was restrained and a witness very quickly was able to take the knife away.
- It took a while between when the fight started (between 14th and Chambers, on the express) and when the cops arrived on the platform at Chambers. While we were holding him, it was pretty clear that the guy had a lot of problems. (If that was unclear previously.)
The homeless guy was definitely crazy and the aggressor here, but the lady also was - in my opinion, and with hindsight - acting out of hand. It was pretty clear watching this develop that neither of them was going to step down, and that this guy was going to go after her. I can't stand people smoking or being rude on the train, but she definitely needlessly put herself (and others) at risk.
It all happened quickly and I jumped in when the fight broke out, but afterwards I thought that if the guy got to his knife (or worse) more quickly, it could have been a real bad situation. There are worse things than people smoking on the train, and I walked away a bit later very upset at the lady.
Two more things... after giving a statement at the precinct the detective told me that the homeless guy had 56 priors. (FIFTY SIX!) And, because some other commenters alluded to race... both the man and the woman were white - it definitely wasn't a racial thing.


I rode the train earlier than usual today in an attempt to get to work earlier than usual. This train ride was definitely not the usual. Here's what happened:

I'm riding the train, reading my April Elle and still smirking from the cutie who kept making eyes before just getting off the train. (Super random interjection, but why didn't he just say something? I definitely caught him staring 3+times. This isn't the L missed connections here buddy. OK. This is rude. This story is bigger than this. /digression)

We continue riding and I hear a commotion. A woman is yelling at a guy, but I'm not sure what it's about. I chalk it up to stressed out New Yorkers and continue reading about Gwen Stefani & No Doubt's reunion assuming they would soon realize they were being silly and stop. They don't. The woman gets louder and says "Don't light that thing on the train!" I look over and see that the guy she's yelling at has a lighter and the flames seem larger than normal. It wasn't one of those $.99 cents Bic lighters, it was pretty hardcore. Congratulations kids, I'm now alarmed. The woman continues to tell the guy to stop and tries to knock the lighter from his hand and things get physical. The entire train is looking at this go down and people are starting to get a little frantic. The man tells the woman "I will f*cking kill you". The woman yells at the man "I will f*cking kill YOU!!" They are pushing one another. Another woman steps in to help.


This is where I get mad. Like, livid. I don't care if this is a feminist society and we're in the middle of a freaking bra-burning campfire. If a man is getting physical with a woman, why in the hell are men just standing around looking?!? My brain couldn't process this. I finally literally yell out "Why aren't any of you men helping?!?" At that point, 2 men run over to try to help restrain the guy. For context, this guy is probably 5'7 150lbs...I could probably take him. I'm in the middle of the car trying to calm people down and I look over and see blood gushing from the woman's face. While she was restraining the guy in the corner, he took out his knife (edit: according to reports it was a pen) and SLASHED her face - from her temple to her nose. Yes. I'm riding the train to work...and someone has just gotten stabbed in the face. Twilight-freaking-zone. The craziest part is that the woman continues to try to get the knife (pen) from the guy and beats his hand until he drops it. She's obviously running on adrenaline. We are still between 14th & Chambers.

People are freaking out. 2 of us step up. 1 guy stops the people from pulling the emergency lever. That will only make the situation worst. I send someone to the conductor so he can call the police. The train starts to slow down though we are 2 stations away in an attempt to give the cops time to get to the station. The guy is now being held up by 5 guys in the corner. The woman is sitting on the train bench with blood gushing from her face and I'm standing there trying to calm people down. People are looking at me for instructions on what to do next, but what could we do?!

I started praying. Out loud. I prayed for that woman's health, her face and her family. I prayed that we were all safe. Amen.

We finally get to the train cops. I run to every single car on the train and ask for a doctor or nurse. There wasn't a single medical professional on the entire train! (Note to self - donate to a cause getting more kids interested in healthcare) The guys are still restraining the man. 2 trains of people are out, trying to see what is going down. There were plenty of witnesses. A girl even took pics on her iphone. The MTA guy was attending to the woman. I could do no more. I am shaking...and I start to walk to work. I was 2 stops away, but I needed that time to pseudo-decompress from the craziest train ride I've ever had.

This woman was doing what she thought was right. She was standing up to this man for her safety...for our safety. This story will probably not make the news because this is New York - it's not news unless someone brutally dies...or someone involved is famous. My colleague was on a train behind me and was simply told "We are being held because of an 'incident' on an earlier train". I will never think of "incident" the same again.

--Ronetha from her fantastic blog


Pink Boa on Wall Street

Of all the places in the city, draped over a phone at the Wall Street 2-3 station. A pink boa where the only Pink you expect is Thomas Pink shirts, and you secretly expect someone to shine your shoes just emerging from the station.

Thank you, leaver of pink boa at Wall Street Station.

You have put a smile on the face of many, today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Responses from Stuck in an Elevator....

I am at the 168th and/or 181st St. subway stations five days a week (I work in the neighborhood). There are no stairs at either station. Every single day I ride the elevators, I think about what would happen in case of a fire or serious problem in those stations. And I also wonder how the city is allowed to get away with it. And by the way, the 168th St station has GOT to be the dirtiest one in NYC.

There are no stairs at 181. You feel like you're buried alive when you're waiting for the train at that station.

To the MTA: can you send someone to clean bloods splatter on the north bound platform. Thanks.


I was on the elevator. We were going to Casa de Mofongo for my birthday dinner. 28 people in there, it was interesting.

Responses from Stuck in an Elevator....

I am at the 168th and/or 181st St. subway stations five days a week (I work in the neighborhood). There are no stairs at either station. Every single day I ride the elevators, I think about what would happen in case of a fire or serious problem in those stations. And I also wonder how the city is allowed to get away with it. And by the way, the 168th St station has GOT to be the dirtiest one in NYC.

There are no stairs at 181. You feel like you're buried alive when you're waiting for the train at that station.

To the MTA: can you send someone to clean bloods splatter on the north bound platform. Thanks.


I was on the elevator. We were going to Casa de Mofongo for my birthday dinner. 28 people in there, it was interesting.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Subway Elevator Roundup

So it seems like it's been a big week in interesting subway news. The magisterial NYCtheBlog posted a video of people stuck in an elevator at 181rst and St. Nicks on the 1 train.

I personally like the image of the firefighter's feet coming from the top of the elevator, dangling like a hanged corpse.

181rst and St. Nicks is one of the deepest stations in the system, and from my experiences, also one of the hottest. THe platforms themselves are ancient, I think there was a problem with the vaulted ceiling crumbling down on to the tracks a few months ago.

There is always an elevator out, always a line to go up the stairs to reach the elevators, and sometimes, a crush on the platform as a second train lets out before the elevators can accommodate people exiting.

Most profoundly, this is not a fun subway station to have an elevator malfuncion like this.

It is, however, pretty awesome when you get out. 181rst and St. Nicks (St. Nicholas) is a mad mess of vendors selling mangoes and mofongo, perfume and pasteles. Restaurant La Casa del Mofongo, on St. Nicks north of 182nd is worth a trip from anywhere.

So I encourage all of you to head up and scope out the scene, the decaying terracotta platforms, the scene of this terrifying elevator advenutre, and fill your bellies above.

As always, share your stories! The MTA elevators are places of long waits, pungent smells, and unpredictable neighbors from every social class and region of the planet.

To me, the strangest crew I've ever seen in an elevator is not the latin Caribbean mix of 181rst street, nor the blend of orthodox and chinese women descending to the NR platforms at Atlantic/Pacific. It's the crew at Clark Street, a tony Brooklyn Heights station, elevator exit only, consisting of such entitlement you'd think you were in Chappaqua, not Brooklyn, on a street filled with luxury student housing, federal courts and a disproportionate quantity of lawyers. That mix is softened and blended with the most wholesome, cleanly scrubbed, all-American out of towners headed to worship at the Jehovah's Witness headquarters, also on the street.

Tell me...what is your strangest experience on a MTA subway elevator?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Prettiest Nurse Saves a Life

I had just graduated college and was a summer nurse intern at a hospital in
Manhattan commuting home from work.

I was transferring from the 6 to the E train, taking the long steep escalator down to the train. I looked at the stationary, nonworking escalator next to me and noticed a man in his 30's who had obviously fallen and was lying in a very awkward position on the stairs. His friend was calling for help.

I was in my scrubs, a new nurse thinking I was out to save the world, and ran up the escalator stairs to where him and his friend was. The first thing I see is a puddle of blood,but the man was awake. I made sure he didn't hurt his back, and lifted this guy (with his friends help) to a sitting position. I knew he had to go to the hospital, so I called for a bystander to call an ambulance. He looked up at me and said, "Amy, you saved my life." Little did I know, I stupidly left my name tag on that also had the name of the hospital I worked at.

I helped until the police and medics took over, and at work the next day, much to my surprise a bouquet of flowers was sent to me that said "I got some stitches and I'm okay! Thank you so much to the prettiest nurse I've ever seen", with only a first name. It was the coolest subway experience I've had yet.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Twins on the train....

Makes you wonder if they've been dressing the same their whole lives.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Singing that Lifted a Spirit on the Train

It had been one of those awful days. I can’t remember the specifics now, but I remember the rotten feeling in my gut. Life, job, the city, everything had been getting me down. I was late to some kind of appointment I think – one more thing that had gone wrong. The subway was crowded,it was a long ride and I knew I wouldn’t get a seat. I leaned against the door and tried to block out the world.

But the world jabbed its way in. I heard a voice – someone singing a song I didn’t know. I couldn’t make out the words, but I didn’t really want to. I was annoyed, and just not in the mood to try and ignore another subway performer and hope they didn’t bump into me while walking down the aisle asking for donations. Why was I here in this city? Why wasn’t I living somewhere where a car and a decent apartment weren’t reserved for people with incomes well into the six figures? Why was I here on a noisy, dirty, two-dollar ride trying to ignore another crazy person invading the personal bubble I had so painstakingly crafted for myself just for times like these? Then a dozen more voices joined the first and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.

They were some kind of Church, or maybe high school choir practicing. And they were really, really good. The song turned out to be “He Knows My Name” – a gospel song whose lyrics seem to feature a really creepy stalker Jesus (the first two lines of the chorus are “he knows my name, he knows my every move).” I’ve downloaded different version of the song, but none have meant anything to me – by itself the song is kind of saccharine. It was the people, and the moment.

Even though I was late, I left the train one stop after I should have, just so I could listen to the last verse. I knew in my head that the problems had not gone away, but somehow everything was OK now. I thought it appropriate that the song was a gospel. I’ve never been religious, but I’ve always had faith in the city. And just like how a priest looks for signs of faith when he has doubts, the city has always had a way of restoring my faith when I felt like it was being tested. Nowhere else could I have had that moment – especially not driving along the highway in some town with cheap parking and people who don’t sing in public.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Best G Train Photo I've Ever Seen

Thank you, Bill T.

Somehow, this picture sums up an entire period of my twenties.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Samuel L. Jackson vs. the A Train

Say what you want about rats on this m%thaf#ckin' train, Sam Jackson has his own issues with the subway.

This Daily Show clip is probably the thing that gave me the whole idea for this blog, years and years ago.

Jon Stewart himself said this was the wildest subway story he'd ever heard.

Here's a quote....

"I myself was dragged by a subway train. Years ago, in 1990. I was getting off the train, a lady dropped her bag, and I stopped to pick up her stuff. Had one foot on the platform, one foot on the train, and the door shut and the train took off. I got dragged the length of the platform! Luckily I was in the last car, I was a car and a half away from the tunnel before someone pulled the emergency cord. It ripped my ACL to shreds. And I sued the shit out of the MTA!"

Samuel L. Jackson, from Time Out New York

(Who would have guessed that Samuel L. Jackson would find the subways more stressful than flying?)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the Man behind the METROCARD BENCH -- Interview with Steve Shaheen

1. What was your inspiration for the project?

A large part of my creative work over the past few years has been in the area of seating design. Although I make a great deal of fine art, I truly enjoy “livable” art, and exploring the porous borders between sculpture and architecture, sculpture and design. When I heard about an exhibit happening in the city last month (“Single Fare 2”, at Sloan Fine Art Gallery, 128 Rivington St) with the theme of all artworks being created with used Metrocards, I saw it as an opportunity to challenge myself to do something which at the outset seemed absurd: to make a sculptural seat out of these thin pieces of plastic that a person could actually rest on. Most of the exhibiting artists chose to treat the card as a miniature canvas, making smaller versions of their trademark styles. While this itself poses difficulties and opportunities for creativity, I felt like the confines of the card's rectangle were keeping me thinking, quite literally, "inside the box." It was important to me to use the Metrocard in a way that honored the material, treating it as a “medium”, and acknowledging what it represents.

2. Take us through your design process. Did you know exactly how it
would look and how you'd put it together at the outset, or did you go
through multiple iterations? If the latter, can you describe them some
and how you arrived at the final solution?

My current design employs a 1/8” steel understructure, but my original intent was to use Metrocards exclusively to create a self-supporting structure that would also hold a person. I experimented with bending individual cards into tear-drop shapes, then attaching them inversely in rows, almost like the cell structure of cardboard. At that early stage I was daunted by the sheer number of Metrocards this approach would have required (though ironically I still needed thousands to create just the laminate). If I had gone the first route I would have united several horizontal bands, hoping to achieve a spongy but supportive chair. It was more daring and risky, and perhaps ultimately a more appropriate solution to the prompt, however the very short timeframe persuaded me to start planning with an armature.

The benefits of this latter approach went beyond expediency: the use of steel allowed for much greater strength and durability, and offered the option to play with the Metrocard’s physical identity on a macrocosmic level (extending the bendy quality of the unit to its aggregate). Once in this mindset, I toyed with several variations.

When sketching and brainstorming, I try to stay loose: aesthetics are foremost on my mind; however I quickly move to consider engineering. All of my ribboning designs for Metrobench had careful points of attachment that would allow such thin steel to support actual people. In the end I chose a design that was more essential than other, more baroque iterations, capitalizing on the strength of cylinders and keeping an open and balanced form. In retrospect, the two circles and diagonal element recall train wheels, though admittedly I wasn’t conscious of this when designing.

3. How exactly is it held together?

I have become an expert in the esoteric knowledge of plastic glues because of this project. Single cards are held together by Gorilla Glue. I chose this not so much because it’s the best binder, but to make assembly more fluid. The rows of Metrocards are glued using aquarium-grade silicone. Again, this was a choice based on my reluctance to be encumbered by epoxy’s mixing time, mess and noxious fumes. Ultimately, however two-part plastic epoxy was the most reliable binding agent in areas of high tension (the loops inside the “wheels”, for example). The Metrocard sheets were laminated on the steel, in sections, using contact cement.

4. How much weight can it hold?

It can hold three adults sitting across it; the cylindrical supports are very strong.

5. I understand you got the cards through Craig's List. Cool!
a. What did your ad say, and what did you post it under?

As I detail on my website’s blog, I posted under Craigslist Jobs, the category called “Etc.” The ad read:

$$ for old Metrocards! Fast cash…

I am working on an art installation made out of New York MTA metrocards. I’ve been picking up the discarded ones in stations, but could use some help as I need a lot. Here are the specifics:

1. I will pay 10 cents per card.

2. Only yellow, plastic metrocards accepted (not the white ones)

3. This project has a deadline, so cards need to be gathered within the next week.

4. Please have the cards rubber-banded in groups of 50. I will do a quick count and pay cash.

5. Do not submit more than 500 at a time, and please contact me before gathering so I can let you know how many I still need.



From that point on I treated all volunteers as a team, setting up an email list and sending daily updates. The response was terrific. I had more than thirty people write to me within the first 24 hours.

b. Did people mail you their cards or did you have to pick them up?

I actually went out to meet people in public places, like Union Square. I think there was a mutual curiosity to see who would dream up—and who would participate in—such a nutty project. This was the most enjoyable part of the process for me, interacting with people from all different backgrounds who chose to be involved in a very random act, perhaps for a little extra change, but I think mainly to be part of a creative endeavor. One NYC resident, Sarah Perez, involved her family and ended up collecting over 2,000 cards within days, to my shock. I later asked her motivation for helping out, and she wrote:

"Participating in a project like this is kind of like being part of the final product. Sure, the incentive is a little pocket money or laundry cash, but collecting a waste product that somebody intends to turn into an artwork that utilizes the beautiful elements of the garbage's design feels a bit like being part of the process and end result. "

c. How long did it take to get all the cards you needed?

Just under one week.

d. Any idea if they have money on them? If so, can you guess how much, total?

I’m sure there’s some value on the magnetic strips, though if most people are like me they won’t trash a Metrocard with anything more than pennies on it. My guess is that several are expired unlimited rides.

e. Why couldn't you get cards from the MTA?

Actually, although the final solution of tapping into the people of New York to get the cards was conceptually (and practically) the best choice, it was not my first. In the beginning I wanted to try to gather the cards myself, asking station managers if I could place boxes at the booths or collect the daily throwaways. However during the three weeks I had to actually execute the seat, I was in the middle of moving my studio and had two other large projects underway; there was literally no time. I then attempted to contact the MTA through various channels—the Transit Museum, the Arts for Transit Program, and eventually the division of MTA headquarters that handles production and distribution of Metrocards. As you might imagine, responsiveness was fairly slow (given my deadline), and ultimately I was told that it is MTA policy not to give away or even sell uncredited cards.

6. Is it for sale? If so, how much does it cost?

My original intention was to donate it to the Transit Museum, however after offering this I was told that neither their mission nor storage capacity extends beyond the housing of historical artifacts of the public transit system—not contemporary art. In lieu of this, I would work out the details with anyone interested in acquiring it. Frankly, it is of greater interest to me to get it out there into a design or functional object fair (such as SOFA) for people to experience firsthand.

7. They should put these in subway stations! Think they would hold up?

If this were for quotidian use, I would use another design I created (completely different) that has a back support. It would have to be coated in resin so that it could hold up to thousands of persons using it weekly.

8. Where is the bench right now?

I just removed it from the exhibition at Sloan a few days ago. It’s in my Brooklyn studio.

9. Any plans to make more subway-themed furniture?

I am toying with the idea of realizing some additional design iterations on this theme. I actually gathered more than 5,000 cards and would like to put the surplus to good use. On the other hand, the conceptual statement has been made, so any further extrapolation would need another layer to its purpose to justify the creation (for me). Making a beautiful form has its own merit, as does a form that follows function. However that which engages me most fully is design wherein form and function are closely tied to both the symbolic and practical meaningfulness of the material in which it’s realized. If it’s a found object, I want to consider what that thing did in its “previous life,” before it was upcycled or repurposed. In its new incarnation, as fragment or aggregate, ideally there should resonate something of its former character and raison d’etre. Although far from contemporary, the Inuit anorak is a fine example of very “complete design” in this sense. The waterproof parka is comprised of seal intestinal walls (in itself a kind of societal discard, or by-product of the principal industry of food procurement). These “upcycled” objects, originally functioning to imperviously retain liquids, are attached in horizontal bands (that still recall the intestines’ profile) to form a sort of collective vessel, this time with the function of keeping fluids out. I don't know that designers and artists can always hope to juggle all of these balls at once, but that is my objective.

Monday, April 4, 2011

W Train: Let's get it on.....

I see people having sex on the train and platforms all the time. I'm an overnight stock person at Duane Reade. Usually when I see them they see me, get surprised and stop. It’s happened so much that I just attribute it to the risk of having a night position.

In 2009, these two teenagers (or adults) were having full-blown sex on a W train. I was looking at them through the glass at the end of the car. She had on a dress, with her panties around her right ankle, and he was naked from the waist down to his shoes. They kept going at it from Broadway where I got on, to 49th Street where others started getting on the train. I was certain they were going to get caught at 59th Streeet, but surprisingly no one got on there (though someone from the platform did take a photo of the two lovebirds).


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jar Jar April Fool's Day Prank

Sure enough, the latest Improv Everywhere subway stunt turned out to be a prank.

What I find interesting though, is how they turned the prank around. Most Improv Everywhere subway stunts are pranks on the people on the train--this was turned around so that a person on the train played the trick on the Improv Everywhere actors. Well done, taking it to the next level.

Also interesting: If this was real, did Jar Jar deserve it?
How far can we push performance art in public space?
What's the furthest you've been pushed by a crazy stranger on the train?

Most importantly,
What do you think about this stunt?

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tribute to a Train Car of the Past.....

The R-10s and the A - a match made in subway heaven.

They thundered. They blazed. They were tailor made for the Abbott. When they ruled, the CPW express run was a DASH and not a leisurely jog. When they bore down on 81st St. in full flight, you had the feeling that nothing could stop them. If you were standing on the platform at 81st, you got an earful as they ripped past.

The TA has made some blunders through the years, but putting the R-10s on the route they were tailor-made for was among the best moves - if not THE best move - ever made.

A combination of express runs and the speed capabilities of those cars. Now, I know that all SMEEs had the same operating characteristics in terms of acceleration and balancing speed, so in that regard the R-10s were no different than, say, the R-42s. Perhaps the fact that the R-10s were, shall we say, noisier than other SMEEs gave the perception of greater speed. Being that as it may, I enjoyed riding on them.

My very first CPW express dash was on a prewar D on November 24, 1967. Their bull and pinion gears wailed away at F# above middle C for most of that sprint.

The R-10s were an immortal fleet. I affectionately refer to then as the Thunderbirds. I still remember the racing stripe scheme they wore in the late 60s.


Friday, March 25, 2011