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.