I recently visited New York City for the first time and was quite surprised. I really never cared to visit the Big Apple. I’m not a city girl. I like trees and squirrels and….trees. The thought of pavement and taxi’s honking their horns and people rushing did not appeal to me. I did NOT want to travel on the subway. But, I had to go. My daughter was accepted to NYU for grad school, and she wanted to check out the neighborhoods.
We flew into JFK, as I didn’t particularly want to drive in the city. I have so little faults, (some may argue this), but for some reason I get mad when I get lost. I don’t know why, but I have a short fuse and no patience once I make a wrong turn. So, we flew. We took the AirTrain to a place called Jamaica Station and then took a train to Penn Station on 34th Street. By this time, I decided that I was going to try to get the nerve and ride on the subway one time. Just to say that I rode it. Funny how things end up.
I loved the Metro! And this picture shows just a few of our cards while we were there. I fell in love with the subway system. It intrigued me as we walked down the grimy stairs on the way to my first subway ride. As soon as you get down to the bottom, you have to buy a Metro card for $2.50 to ride.
The machines are easy to use. People are in such a rush, that it makes you rush too. After buying our tickets, we went through the turnstiles and waited for the subway. Some people were standing right on the edge. Stupid people. That’s why it is painted yellow. I then told Alex the story about some crazy person who came out of nowhere and pushed a guy right in front of an oncoming train. That would suck. Not one minute after I told her that story, an angry, demented man appeared and started yelling at imaginary people. Alex told me not to give him eye contact. Ok. I didn’t want to be pushed in front of a subway train. The brave people standing in the Yellow Paint stepped away. Not brave when a crazy is around, are you? Luckily, he got on another train.
Our train came to a stop and we stepped on. Now, for those who have never been on a subway train, let me explain one thing. When the voice over the loudspeaker tells you to hold on to the bar, they really mean it. Alex sat down and I was walking to sit beside her, when all of a sudden, the doors shut and the train took off. And, um, so did I. Oh, I didn’t just fall. I flew. I guess I tried to take a woman along for the ride. I flew through the air, landed and then slid. Far. When I came to a stop, I looked over at Alex. She was mortified. She was going to pretend she did not know me. After I managed to collect myself and my belongings, I sat down beside her. We looked at each other, and then laughed for about 10 minutes straight. Memories being made.
I did not know that people perform in the underground subways. There were pretty good performers at the 34th. Penn station. There were also people who were preaching about the prophecy. We were there the weekend the world was supposed to end. A guy on one side of the subway was holding his bible and ranting, while a woman on the other side was yelling at him, calling him a communist. Pretty amusing if you weren’t in a hurry to catch your train.
On one of our many subway rides, an older woman walked on, wearing a blanket around her like a shawl. She immediately began scolding someone. ” I am NOT a lesbian. And you can’t make me be a lesbian. I will not do things that you want me to do. None of your piggy-back things…..” I forgot some of the things she was going on about, but she was either rehearsing what she wanted to say to someone, or she had an imaginary person in front of her. Either way, I was amused. I did inch away from her a bit, as I thought maybe her tirade may include swinging her blanket.
I can’t tell you how many times we rode the subway that weekend, but I fell in love with it. Yeah, in the mornings it may smell a bit like urine as you walk down the steps from the street. Yes, you will have to hold on to the bar, because the train does take off quickly, and so may you. But, I never once felt like my safety was in jeopardy. People are nice. I heard New Yorkers are rude and mean. Never saw that at all. They went out of their way when they saw me looking at the subway map like I was from Pluto (which is bad because it isn’t even a planet anymore.)
So, if you have the chance to visit New York sometime, take the subway. You will be glad you did.