another piece of NY

the time has come that i have to jiggle my big behind in different subway cars and metro buses. i might as well quit paying rent and start washing up in the public bathrooms and changing in pub stalls. i am also running out of books to read, and i am singlehandendly raising Barnes & Noble stock. but that is enough of a rant.

actually i wanted to describe several snippets of subway life that have such a distinctive NY flavor (and odor), and that really stand out even in my own jaded eyes. and possibly get off my chest this i-have-to-blog guilty feeling.

1. got on #6 train. found a whole empty seat next to a little guy in the corner. dunno why i did not take it. then the other seat became free and i took that. there was no smell or anything, but the little guy sitting in the corner was crouched and looked like he had peed on himself. as i watched closer, it appeared that he had indeed, peed on himself. ugrrh. as he got out to leave, i saw the puddle he left behind and i was very glad i did not sit next to him. then a beefy guy sat on there so fast, i did not have time to do nothing else but watch his face switch from the joy of an empty seat to the wet embarrassment and fervent prayer “please let it be water, please let it be water, please let it be water”.

2. #2 at allerton, the crowd that gets in is mainly black and latino peppered with an albo face here and there. then it gradually balances out as the train goes into the West Side only to turn into Wall Street WASPS on the Lower West Side, and then into cool poor artists pale and dark again as I switch on Atlantic Ave to the #q. they change for a different type of people. several are wearing distinctive avgani/pakistani garb and mix in with the orthodox hebrews and high maintenance russians or heart-shaped face ukrainians. and of course, the token albo guy, who turns out to be a superintendent on 14th street. who would have thunk it? (as my friend doris used to say)

3. there is always one single native indian or guatemalan indian playing those strange pipes and trying to hustle his CD-s to unsuspecting passerbys and tourists. if he could only lay off Simon and & Garfunkel, he’d have probbably sold some. and if he actually knew how to play those darned things, instead of posing there with a poncho and a scruffy dog.

4. there is a 300yrs old violinist on the tunnel at 42nd street times square, who can barely hold on to his violin. yet he plays and even makes enough quarters to do his laundry. of course you’d have to get so close you can see his toupee is too big for his head, in order to hear the music. but he plays on.

5. at the #f train, i fell asleep on my feet like a horse, one hand hanging from the overhead metallic rail, the other holding my huge bags (i dunno why i drag them around, it is not as if i am trying to compensate for something). so this gentle black man felt sorry and gave me his seat. i smiled gratefully and i promptly went to sleep, waking up once again next to a very irritated babushka. apparently i’d been using her generous arm for a pillow. oh well, at least it was not a man this time.

6. on my long ride to  stillwell ave and back, i experienced: two people asking for change so they could call their families, one band of three mariachi, two black guys beating on those drums and preaching love for their brother man (one of them winked at me), one overripe homeless werewolf who did not even bother to speak, three chinese women and one man selling bootleg dvds and batteries (batri on dola, batri on dola), two candy sellers (have you noticed that their spiel has changed from school charities to their own favorite charity, themselves?) and a very pregnant woman who refused to sit on my seat when i offered and kept on throwing me dirty glances throughout the 25 min ride we took together. so much for my good deed of the day.

oh, i ran out of steam. my thighs are still jiggling though.


10 thoughts on “another piece of NY

  1. Subway experiences are very interesting especially here in NYC because of the diversity of cultures that ride the train each day back and forth from work.

    The worst rides in the subways are when some homeless is in the corner of the train and it has spread his “fragrance” all over the compartment and its sufficates you. I remember one night as I was riding the train, one homeless guy was there and he stinked. The train was packed and i could not move at to a different place. Everyone was having problems with the smell. Then, I see this young lady reaching in her bag some bottle of probably victoria secret body fragrance and sprayed all over. We started laughing but at the same time i was grateful because I was able to make it home without dying of the horrible smell.

  2. Your description of those experiences reminded me my time in NY. I have experienced the subways of many cities but like NY naaaah, there is nothing like NY.

  3. Since yall talkin about nasty shit ,I was in South Carolina or Georgia using the bathroom of a restaurant or smth, our waitress was like 85 years old no kidding, so i went to the mens room and as soon as i openend the door i felt like i was gonna throw up so i decided to use the women’s.. then as as i went in there somebody had already thrown up in the floor..nature here i come. This was like 9.30 – 10 in the morning in a breakfast buffet servin just three things… ended up just eating butter and toast coz the sunnyside eggs were uncooked and jello like, and the grits, who the f eats that crap.. Can’t go complain to the better business bureau though.. 3.95 all you can eat buffet :D. Ended up tippin the waitress more than the price of the food, she looked like she needed a cane, but was very very polite. And we bussed our own table..:)

  4. boyan what d’u expect for 3.95? caviar?
    but if you have been disgusted by that bathroom, you’ve obviously never been to a rave in a brooklyn abandoned factory. i only went once and stayed about 10 min. then i saw the bathroom, and no amount of coolness cred could keep me there.
    bc, we totally agree on that. but the subway love song will come next time.
    belle that is very funny,. might use it next time. 🙂

  5. U know, for all the times I took the Metra in Chicago, I never experienced anything like what u describe Blete. I guess the suburbia trains are not to be found in that part of the world huh? 😀

  6. Well, NY is not special for nothing 😉 Maybe because it is so old and welcoming to everybody. it is an entirely separate world from the one aboveground
    I actually rode the subway in SF and DC and enoyed the ride in both cities quite differently than the rides i enjoy in NYC

  7. Invite ppl here but make sure they don’t have the ride experiences that we have everyday so that they get a better piece of the NYC experience. I don’t complain though because after a while one gets used to it, and tries to ignore it as much as possible. Oh well, the package comes with the good and the bad, so that’s NYC for us, baby 😛

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