A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 2: Lost in Transit

June 28th · 4 Comments

I am underground on a subway platform, sweating quietly and trying to look wise. I glance right, then left. One tunnel mouth will deliver the train, but I don’t know which. I don’t know for sure which line I’m on, or with complete certainty that this train will indeed deliver us to Washington Heights, which is above the Upper West Side. Even more upper than Upper. I crack my shoulder bag and glance at the laminated transit map, real sneaky-like.

“So is this the 1 line?” I ask my partner Joo. She visited New York a few years ago and has miraculously archived fragments of the map in her brain.

No, it’s the A. Or, wait, it’s the C.”

“Why are some of the lines numbers and some of them letters?”

“I don’t know.”

We descended into the system at East 68th and Lexington, down the concrete steps dotted with black spots where gum has been ground underfoot, to the platform. Some of the bulbs above are out and the wall tiles have needed a Colgate scrub since sometime in the Giuliani administration.

A train announces itself with the keening of steel on steel. Headlights illuminate the tracks. The line of metal boxes clatter in. The steel walls are shiny and just dented enough that they reflect the fluorescent bars in the ceiling at wobbly angles. We step on and hope for the best.

Tags: Sights & Scenes · Urban Survival

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Paras & Divya // Jun 28, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    NYC is such an amalgamation of distinct districts, connected by a common underlying theme. There’s the boroughs, of course; and then within Manhattan, say, the UWS and LES, etc.; and, even further, various block associations that bring sub-communities together. Have fun exploring the City!

  • 2 Steve // Jun 29, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Great start to your new blog. I especially like the part about the transit machinations.

  • 3 Ian // Jun 30, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    yeah, the subway thing. It’s kind of like a real-life video game. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it, and then it gets kinda fun to get around town. Definitely stay out of the cabs, though, they’ll eat your lunch money faster than Takeru Kobayashi.

  • 4 Vivienne // Jul 11, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Fun blog, David! So exciting that you are now on the same coast! If you haven’t read this article yet… maybe these boys can help you get around. :0)

    The Boys and the Subway

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