The New York Subway number 1 train runs along Broadway/7th Avenue from Van Cortlandt Park – 242nd Street through Times Square and on down to South Ferry. Here are some observations from my trips to and from the city.
231st and Broadway.
An empty carriage.
Do not lean on the doors.
The workman in Hi Vis carrying a rucksack.
The little girl speaks Chinese but reads English.
The homeless man begging for money,
A protein bar offered
‘Lady I ain’t got no teeth’.
The head nodder muttering into her Polo neck.
The young couple so madly into each other, touching, touching, touching.
Takeaway Pizza filling the air with scents of cheesy goodness.
English, Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, and others I don’t recognise bring the sounds of multiculturalism to my ears.
Muffled announcements that no-one understands.
‘Can you spare anything to help me?’
The protein bar reproffered
‘Lady, my stomach is shot, I can’t digest that.’
“Next time I’ll bring a smoothie!”
Laughter in the carriage.
The Asian girl looks at her phone and smiles, she bites her bottom lip, her thumbs a blur of reply.
Riding or moving between carriages is prohibited, unless you have an accordion, a vocalist and a bad version of silent night to perform that nets you nothing for your trouble before you get to the next carriage door.
Caps and woolly hats, and headscarves, and bobbles, and kippot, and rabbis with shower caps on their fedoras due to the rain.
In ear, over ear, Bluetooth and wired. Some cancel noise and some leak it wide.
There’s rap, there’s hip hop, there’s rock and there’s jazz; opera and classics, garage and blues.
The young couple have argued, he’s in a foul mood, she tries to make amends, but he wants her to suffer. She turns and silently sobs.
‘Food or change?’
‘I’m hungry, anything to eat would help.’
‘Can anybody help me?’
‘Everybody is cursing me out I’m going to leave!’
34th St – Penn Station.
Through the turnstile, up the stairs, walk towards the light.