A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 362: After the Taking of Pelham 123

June 27th · No Comments

imagesMy colleague Rebecca and I stepped onto the Pelham-bound train with our eyes darting suspiciously this way and that. Just moments before we had left our seats at the Union Square movie theater, where we saw “The Taking of Pelham 123.” Taking the subway after seeing that movie is akin to watching “Deliverance” deliverance-741464right before paddling off through the Georgia backcountry.

The lowdown on the film, in case you spent the last month in a sensory-deprivation chamber and missed the ads, is about a mysterious tough guy (John Travolta) and some gun-toting henchmen who commandeer a train on the Pelham line, better known as the Lexington line, or the 6. They announce their presence to the stunned hostages with a hail of gunfire. Grimaces, blood and lots of shrieking ensue.tn_the_taking_of_pelham_123_photo-5

Arrayed against the bad guys is your typically ineffectual mass of police, SWAT teams, sharpshooters, and…one man.

That man is an MTA employee, played by Denzel Washington, who is forced by circumstances to take on Travolta and his fellow ne’er-do-wells. Washington does this with the same grace, patience and good humor that I have seen exhibited in all MTA employees who are under a multimillion-dollar Hollywood contract.

taking-pelham2As we rattled uptown, I looked around the car to see if director Tony Scott had gotten the details of the train right. Mostly he had, with a few exceptions. A frosting on the window between the cab and the train car? Please. A stop at 75th Street? Ha! I shook my head wearily. What was he thinking, pulling stunts like that on a subway veteran like me?  Just then the conductor’s PA squawked to life, and he said something I’ve never heard a conductor say.

“Ahem. Ahem! Is this thing on?”

Rebecca and I turned toward each other with eyes like saucers. I think I expected to hear a gunshot and a scream next.

“Uh, so remember that this train only goes to 125th Street, late night no service to Pelham Bay. Pelham Bay-bound passengers, please exit 125th Street for transfer to the 4. Next stop, 42nd Street.”

I exited at 68th Street without incident, feeling an uncommon sense of relief that I hadn’t run into John Travolta.

Tags: Entertainment · Sights & Scenes · Urban Survival · Why I Love This Town

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