Riding The 1 Train

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.’
A sigh!
“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.

A Game For Men With Funny Shaped Balls.


I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in 30 years, I went to a Rugby International.  Wales were playing South Africa at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

My wife, MrsA, is half American, half Bahamian and wanted to go see a game at the stadium.  Well a promise is a promise so I managed to procure tickets and off we went.

After a spot of lunch we headed for St Mary’s Street and into a sea of red.  Walking along Wood St in the crowds heading for gates 6 & 7 we were a few paces behind a family of South African supporters dressed in green and gold. “And they feel safe amongst all these Welsh supporters?”, said MrsA. “It’s rugby not football”, I said.

Sitting in the stadium I looked round at the pockets of green and gold dotted amongst the red, no soccer style ‘away fans only’ sections here.  Two rows in front of us sat three mates, two in red shirts flagging the guy in green. Around them sat the rest of us, if not wearing red then supporting it.

Whenever South Africa made a good play, or scored some points our green hearted friend was on his feet, jumping for joy, screaming his lungs out and punching the air whilst doing a slow 360 degree turn to survey the crowd.

And what did the Welsh fans do in response? Were there threats? Verbal Abuse? Violence?  Err, no! There was just polite clapping of the conversions and renewed chanting of “C’mon Wales!”

After the match and a 31-34 defeat we left the Stadium and spilled onto Wood and Westgate Streets. Welsh fans congratulated South African Fans, South African fans commiserated with Welsh Fans, some fans went to the pub together, others simply went home.

Elsewhere in Cardiff the Welsh Defence League were holding an anti-Muslim demonstration to incite hatred and intolerance towards others. They could have learned a lot from the fans of the men with funny shaped balls.