In case you’re an American who doesn’t know because you’re oh…dead and buried in a hidden cave, Pope Francis is in town. Now, I like this pope, I like the things he says, I like the things he does even more, and I think he’ll make great strides worldwide with his emphasis on humanity, compassion, and service. I’m happy for those who are thrilled for the opportunity to see him and hear him speak.
But for the love of all, could you learn how to train before you walk into the subway? The stations and the train lines are all packed, overflowing with papal tourists and delays. This morning I think I saw every outer borough character I’ve ever written.
On the Shuttle:
“Mary, there’s a seat, go sit down.”
Mary clamps her lips together and shakes her head so hard her pin curls are quivering.
“You don’t like that seat? I’ll sit instead of you.”
“I don’t want any seat, Timothy, not just that seat.”
Timothy turns to the man in the seat next to him. “I only ride the train once every ten years or so, what about you?”
Man next to him lifts one side of his headphones, “Every day.”
“You must have a lot of extra time on your hands. What does it take you, hours to do your hair like that every day?”
Man touches his dreadlocks, looks across at me (guess I’ve got the stamp of a regular subway rider tattooed on my face), and laughs. “I do it while I’m on the trains.”
On the platform:
“Steven!! Get away from the edge, you’re going to fall in!”
“Oh my GAWD, is that a rat?”
“Is it always so hot in here?”
On the 2:
Group of senior women in their very best rhinestone studded Juicy Couture, talking at a young man in workout gear. “I’m tellin ya, they’ve got the best pizza on 18th Avenue, you’ve gotta go to Brooklyn.”
“Uh, ok, thanks.”
“Whaddya telling him that for, Rosemary? Don’t listen to her, honey, you’ve gotta go for the clams at Campagnoli’s.”
Pained nod from the young man.
All four lean in to him before they get off the train. “With spaghetti!”
There’re two things regular NYC subway riders get every day, and one of those is religion. Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to be the most organized, tables set up and staffed at many stations, 3 in Grand Central, politely waiting for those who appear interested. Many different Christian denominations can be found with signs and pamphlets. Every so often, outside the stations there’ll be a group of Orthodox Jewish men, offering…baptisms? conversions? in trailers. Last week there was a group of off-key Hare Krishnas singing and soliciting donations, bright marigold robes practically glowing in the tunnels. Then of course there are those there to alert us to Armageddon.
The other thing you get in the subways daily? Music. Often great music. I’ll admit, I’m not into the guys who’ve made instruments out of saws and violin bows, but they have their followers. And it would be fine if the trumpets would hold off until, say, 10am. But yeah, music is the perk of a sizable commute on and around the trains.
I know, I know, for most visiting today it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, an honor. Couldn’t they have scheduled this for one of the two days off the public schools had this week?
Happy Friday, Fringelings.
What a colourful city NYC is mrs. f – one day I have to see it in person! ❤
I really enjoyed this post, mrs f, the snippets of conversation, the photographs.
I saw a PBS documentary recently: scientists found skeletal remains of what may be the ‘missing link.’ The question arose: What makes us human? Language? Using tools? Or is it our social selves: our ability to be polite, to help each other, to follow self-imposed rules, navigate busy NYC streets at the height of papal visits. . .
Humanity is everywhere in the hustle of bustle of NYC streets and underground subway stations: often messy; sometimes ugly; always, a colorful jumble of sights and smells and sounds.
On a wing and a prayer, by the grace of God or fate or luck, we’ll keep this jostle going.
I wondered how you were weathering the papal visit! It was tempting to try and head south for it….but not tempting enough, clearly.
This post made me sooooooo homesick. Although I must admit I had a bad case of taxi-arm in my 20-year NYC residency (mostly because I seemed to be running late so darned often), I also spent a great deal of subway time in observations just like the ones here in Fringeville today.
I may also have been one of the few full-time residents of Manhattan who would actually stop to enjoy the street music (when I was NOT running late, that is). Truly, I miss it all – and your trip down memory lane (for me) is bittersweet.
Ah to win the lottery! I’d move back in a heartbeat, buy a Manhattan Condo, escrow the maintenance fee for oh, say 20 years or so & jump back on the audition trail – even if I had to work in food service to pay the remainder of my bills (and wouldn’t THAT be cute at my age?!)
Enjoy every single moment!
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to transform a world!”
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Thanks, Madelyn! NY is exhausting, infuriating, exhilarating, and uniquely, sublimely, NY. 😀
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Miss it like a lover – especially as the holidays approach. xx, mgh