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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Closer Look at New York Subway Preachers

From the New York Times:

Subway Preachers Speak of God

The graffiti has been replaced by advertising. The tokens have been replaced by MetroCards. But the subway preachers are a constant. They were there before I was born and will likely be there after I die — unless, of course, their occasional prophecy of the exact date that the world will end turns out to be accurate.

Some hand out leaflets quietly while others shout passages from the Bible. Some have a strict schedule; others show up whenever they are moved to do so. There seems to be little uncertainty of mission, no sign of existential angst. Most are Christian, servants of Jesus, but there is the occasional Hasidic Jew wandering the concourses. These proselytizers do not, generally, ask for much. You don’t have to give them money to buy a sandwich, and you’re not really obliged to feel guilty if you look away. If you take a tract or ask a question, you’ve gone well beyond your civic duty. Most riders ignore them. Over the past few months, I did not.

Read more: here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Impromptu Dance Party Breaks out on Subway Platform

Thank you nyctheblog, for this gem.

Here's an impromptu dance party that just apparently happened the other Saturday night.
It's not just hipster kids, look in the back for the older gentleman in the grey sweater, and the two little boys dancing on the right.

Was it the "supermoon" getting into our New York blood--even underground?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Magic Trick about the A train

There are two magic tricks in this video. The first is a silly card trick.

The second is the Columbus Circle 59th St. Subway Station.

Best moment starts at minute 2:40.

From the 80's cult film "Brother from Another Planet"

If you know the Columbus Circle station, you may have seen this yourself....

(background: protagonist is a mute alien disguised as a human, and more than just a little freaked out by NYC.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Panhandler Ploy....

I went to get an E train at 5th Avenue & 53rd Street, and at the bottom of the stairs/escalators onto the Queens Bound platform there was a beggar asking for money. He was in a wheelchair with semmingly no legs and stubs. So I gave him a few bucks. I was younger like 16-18. Right after I put the $$ in his cup this cop came over, took the $$ out of the cup gave it to me, and said "watch" and he goes and grabs the guy barehanded under the guys armpits and I started getting upset at the guy's humiliation and getting upset with the cop, but within seconds the cop lifted the guy and the legs fell out from a secret compartment, I was speechless. The cop put the guy down on his legs and dude can stand! That now makes me never give $$. Boy did I apologize to that cop lol


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Looking for good stories from people you see on the subway on St. Paddy's Day. Feel free to comment. You know you've seen some crazy leprechaun on the Lexington Avenue line....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


SWIPE AGAIN is an open exhibition of art--using metrocards as the medium.

The exhibition is starts this week, with a reception on Thursday, March 17 at the Sloane Fine Art Gallery at 128 Rivington. Works on metrocard are all for sale.

Check out the specific and personal drawings of Jason Das

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

House Above the Train

From somewhere like Fort Hamilton, on the N train, out in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. Can you imagine living on top of the subway like this? How would you cope with the noise? What stories do these people have about the subway?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ten Year Old Loses Brother on Train

In the late 60’s / or early 70’s…either way, I was barely 10 years old…my brother (who is 12 years older than me) would take me to all the 4 major sports via the subway. We lived in Yonkers, so we would normally drive to the Bronx and pick it up there (238th on the #1, or Woodlawn on the #4). My brother would always drill into me about being safe on the subway…you know, what to do and what not to do. One particular important “plan” was that if I got on the subway but my brother didn’t, I was to ride to the next stop, get off, stay EXACTLY where I got off the subway and for him to arrive.

Sometimes we wouldn’t take the most direct route from point-a to point-b…we’d get a little creative so we could ride different lines. I think this may be where I became a NYC subway railfan…

We were again on our way to a Mets game, and I remember we were switching from the D at 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Ctr, to the E or F out to Roosevelt Ave to switch to the Flushing line. I remember nearing the stairway down to the E/F platform and I could hear a train rolling in. I started to run because it could have been our train (c’mon, I didn’t want to miss Tommy Agee taking batting practice!).

Sure enough it was, I ran down the stairs, and hopped on to the again somewhat crowded train. Happy I made it, I turned around for my brother, and there he was standing on the platform…smiling, and waving to me as the doors closed! I panicked for a few seconds, but I remembered what he told me…so I turned back around to the rest of the car and all the people looking at me, and I remember saying, “It’s ok folks…I know what to do”. I got of at the next stop (5th Ave)…and didn’t BUDGE until the next subway arrived. Sure enough, there was my brother standing behind the door that stopped directly in front of me! Yeah, I was a bit scared…but I knew and trusted my brother so I knew he’d be there. I’m sure this is something you wouldn’t do to a 10-year-old THESE days!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Man who Kisses Rats in Subway Bites them at Grand Central

see this fine gentleman making out with his rats on the subway on nyc the blog, here!

question: why do his teeth look bloody?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Unclaimed Wheelchair leads to Unexpected "Miracle"

Let me contribute here. Many years ago, I was in charge if the lost & found in Grand Central Terminal. There was an abandonded wheelchair that wound up there & left unclamed for several months.

At the time, my dad was termilally ill & sent can guess the rest why, so we could have used the wheelchair to help the guy get around & save a few bucks. I asked my boss if I could have it & he said ok.

After spending a few quid at McCanns saloon after work, it was time to go to my folks home in Woodside & drop off the wheelchair.

So with a serious buzzer on, I bring the wheelchair on to the 7 train at Grand Central for my trip to 61 st. in Woodside, Queens. I get on the last car & its already crowded but im able to maneuver the wheelchair up against the rear window of the last car. No seat?? no problem! I unfold the chair & have a seat up against the RFW door.

So Im sittin down there in my comfy wheelchair & crowds come & go. By the time we got to Rawson St, there was a much different crowd on the train than what left Grand Central. Im sitin there mindin my buisness when we get close to 61st Woodside. "61st Woodside next stop, change for the LIRR downstairs" the conductor barks over the tinny pa system that the R36 train car's had then.

So as we start braking for my stop, I calmly get up, fold up the wheelchair & head for the soon to be opened last set of double doors of the 11th car.

At that moment, eyes open, jaws & newspapers drop & one overemotional hispanic woman shreaks," Oh MY God... then something in slurred spanish..then another Oh MY god" & she starts blessing herself.

Then she starts tugging the arm of the guy next to her & screams" he can walk now..he can walk now!! a miracle!!"
As the doors close, I blow her a kiss thru the window from the plarform & give her a hand gestured sign of the cross.

Then went to Sweenys downstairs, had a night cap & savored thinking of the "miricle" this woman went to bed that night thinking she saw.

Remember that like it was yesterday.

--Fisk Ave Jim

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fearless Train Drives strait through Flames in Queens

About 30 years ago a friend and I were on the 7 train heading to Shea Stadium. The train stopped on the curve over the rail yards between Hunters Point and Courthouse Square.
There was a tanker truck on fire under the el.
The flames were shooting up between the ties ahead of us.

Then the train started moving again and we went right through the fire.
We made the stop at Courthouse Square and continued on to Queensborough Plaza. At Queensborough Plaza a supervisor of some kind got on the train and yelled at the motorman. But the motorman wasn't taken out of service. We kept going and got to the game on time.

flames leaping up from underneath the track? no problem!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MTA EMT shares the story of a train accident, long ago.

The craziest thing I ever saw on the subways as an EMT was the Union Square accident 20 years ago. An inebriated train operator took a switch just north of the station at several times the posted speed. The train derailed and killed five people. We treated and transported around 200 other patients to hospitals all over Manhattan. I was just getting ready to go home (it was around 1 AM, IIRC, I was doing tour 3, a 1800 x 0200) when we got banged with this call as a "late job". I remember it was hotter than bloody hell down there, and that we carried this hugely fat woman up a frighteningly narrow stairway from the Brooklyn-bound plat.

The real kicker is, the T/O got down from his cab after the wreck, walked up to Union Square Park, sat down on a bench, and drank beer as he watched all the crews take the patients away from the station. He was later sent to prison for five years--a relatively lenient sentence, considering.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stunning Poetry about the 6 train by Willa France

Uptown 6 Train

A spindly limbed girl skips aboard
at Bleeker. Mother follows, pushing her child
at a space between two business-men
and seats herself, opposite. With a little room
to spare, no one stands on this evening local.

In a hop she reaches the empty seat.
With one hand on the knee of the stranger
she chooses, she levers herself up
by one bony leg, pivots and slides
in the gap like a human puzzle piece.

After studying the passengers,
she fails the struggle to quiet hands,
and then her dangling legs swing wildly.
She grasps the stranger’s arm and climbs to her feet,
turns, leans into his shoulder for support,
and cups her hands to peer at sparks beyond
the window. She hums and humming rocks
and cannot stop her feet from tapping.

The stranger has moved neither body
nor limb nor lifted his head—the way sight
of a wild creature freezes an intruder
to the scene. Paralyzed, not to betray,
perhaps, or not to startle. Though he’s raised
his eyes, once devoted to The Journal,
casting about for anyone who will
acknowledge his broadly beaming face.

Replacing one hand on his shoulder
by the other, steadying herself
against lurch and sway, she turns and gazes
from her new height at everyone again.
The sleepers, the dazed, and the silent readers.
But not at him. As if she expected
him just to be! What a pair! Youth and age.
Touching and touched. Blessing and blessed.

The mother rises at 14th. Her child
clambers down his leg, grasps her hand and is gone
as quickly as she appeared. Even so,
he has not moved. But smiling still,
searches the eyes of others one by one,
as if to say: Look! Oh look at me!

Willa France 12-07
Manhattan Poet

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Privacy. While surrounded by strangers.

"I love the subway. It's the only time I get to be alone. I have three kids. I'm tired of my husband. I hate my job. I have no privacy. In the subway, no one bothers me. It takes me an hour to get to work every day. There, no one bothers me. It's the only private time I have."

Name withheld, The Bronx

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Try the Local -- from the Transit Museum

Funny, I feel like I've sat next to this guy myself.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Missed Connections Excellent Adventure

Snowy night on the F / R trains to Brooklyn - The Filmmaker - m4m - 28 (East Village)

Wednesday night after 2 am We were both stuck waiting for the F Train to get back to BK. You were funny and very handsome. The suggestion to make out while we waited was a great one. That was a fun ride through 2 trains and 3 platforms. I loved your curly hair and DAMN, are you a good kisser.

I was tall, sleepy and just barely able to keep your hands out of my pants. I tried to text you the next day but I saved your number wrong.

Let me know what the woman in the booth said to us, or at least your first name.