Subway Stories

You know, I really wish the MTA wasn't run by incompetent and greedy asshats, because what an amazing system we could have otherwise.

As most of you know, I've been to all 472 stations in the system, plus the SI railway for completest purposes. I dressed up as the R train for Halloween in kindergarten. And I am often thrilled to take a route I rarely see.

Other systems are cleaner, faster and more reliable. Truthfully, the most unique thing about the system (the fact that it never stops running) is what is holding it back. Because we expect a 24/7 system, when they try to shut it down to do the needed work, we get really upset (as we depend on it). Witness the people who complain about weekend construction and then about the delays caused by the things they need to fix on those weekends.

And it's going to get worse unless they finally just fill the streets with buses and shut down station after station until they fix all the signals. Tax the drivers to get the revenue. Fuck cars.

I really really hate cars, you guys. The thing we stupid Americans love about cars (control!) is why cars will ultimately kill you. Stop driving. It is dumb.

But I wanted to write about three delightful things I saw.

The first was yesterday. It was crowded, and a guy started yelling about being pushed. Older guy, white, late 50s, deep voice. A black guy starts yelling at him to shut up. Looks like it might escalate. I try to ignore it.

By the next station, they're having a chat about city politics and policies and smiling. If these people were driving, they'd've cursed at each other and left it at that.

Today, on the way to work, a young woman was very clearly watching a J-pop or K-pop video on her phone and practicing the moves from the video while looking at her reflection in the door window. It was amusing. She stopped once she noticed people could see her (what did you think?) but I like the enthusiasm.

And then finally, I switched trains, and the conductor on the A train said we had reached "High Street. The first stop in the borough of Brooklyn!" And he was just excited!

I really hate the isolation of cars, and the danger, and the fact that you can't read. And the fact that, if there's traffic, you might be stuck there for an hour (rather than the usual 15-20 minute delays on the subway).

The MTA is stupid. And needs a ton of work. But subways, at their best, are so so much better for the world, and for this city, than cars. And you should just take me out to pasture if a car is ever my primary mode of transportation, because it will mean I've given up on life.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality