People on the Subway

I love the New York subway system. I love public transport in general, it keeps me from the abhorrent task of driving and allows me to people watch. There are certain groups/types of people I see on the subway that always pique my interest.

The moms/nannies with the strollers. How do they do it? I think it would be so hard to raise a family in this city. I always imagine my future children playing in the suburbs. I watch these women carry strollers and rally children together down the subway steps. I feel extra bad when it’s rush hour and they have to try and squeeze their stroller into the crowded subway car. On the other hand I imagine the type of wonder this type of environment can invoke in a child. The melange of people and variety of experience in one city block cannot be recreated in the tract house culture of the suburbs.

The groups of friends leaving each other for the day. I’ve caught several groups of friends systematically leaving one another after a night of fun, one or two getting off at 86th some getting off at 92nd etc. The thing I always notice is the comments the friends left on the subway make about the one that just left. If it’s a group of two guys and a girl just left 90% of the time it’s a comment about how they “hit it”. If it’s a group of girls left, it’s giggles about who they like and yes sometimes they talk about “hitting it” too. Girls and guys left together on the train often make small talk, about the food, the show etc. It’s hilarious most of the time, sometimes gets a bit graphic and vulgar. I think that’s the thing about living in a crowded city, it provides you with this anonymity that makes people callous with their conversation. I hear things that should be whispered, shouted across the subway car.

Trannies. The thing I noticed about the trannies on the train is that they get fancier the closer to downtown you get. I saw a trashy tranny get on at 242nd. He/she was a bit busted, unflattering makeup, bright 80’s inspired tights. All in all not a good look. Then I saw a tranny get on near 42nd I believe and it took me a bit to figure out that she wasn’t an amazon women but indeed a man. Maybe there’s some sort of tranny transformation train that turns the young ugly tranny caterpillars in the Bronx into fancy tranny butterflies by the time they hit Times Square.

The tourist(s). Always lost, poor things how I remember the days when I was counted among your lot. Walking the long blocks only to find I’m headed in the wrong direction. Not listening when the local train turns into an express train and I miss my stop. I feel for these people. Popping your head up from the depths of the subway station, you get turned around and can’t figure out where to head next. My favorite are the ones that act like they know where they’re going when they’re so obviously lost. I let them get lost, a little humility never hurt anyone.

The readers. My favorite people and can be found in abundance on the subway. I like to get a peek at what people are reading, and gauge whether or not we could be friends by the book they have in their hands. Yes I also do this when I peruse your bookshelf, but don’t worry it won’t make or break a friendship (usually).

Oh there are more so many more people. The hipsters, foreigners, meat heads, hot men in suits but maybe I’ll do a breakdown on them at another date. As for now I’ll leave you with some of my favorite subway archetypes.


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