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) ocme.nyc.gov
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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_Places_(1974_film)wikipedia "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…