Diaries Magazine

Le Metro

By Pearlmacek

The metro of New York city is like no other in my opinion–never will you see such diversity nor as much craziness as the train wagons of the NYC underground. A constant slithering machine that never stops….well…it does…for long periods of times… and quite often but the actual life…the people of the underground never stop. People from all over, speaking every language you can think of can be found in this often sweltering, dirty, ugly place. The seats on which you sit and the pole that you reach for as the trains slow and starts breath germs of who knows what, but we sit and we reach for those bastions of hope in fear of not falling because we are tired and we don’t want to be the idiot that is on the ground that everyone is secretly laughing at.

Yes, it is ugly and dirty, but there is a beauty to it….the humanity of it all…here the beggar sits with the Wall Street banker….the punk asian kid sits next to Gothic-Hipster/Buddhist (I might have made that genre of person up but I am pretty sure it exists!).

I used to only listen to my Ipod on the subway to drown reality out but now, I read my book and I listen….and sometimes I listen to those telling me about what I am reading. I feel more in touch with myself and with the world because I no longer tune out the noise of the subway culture….in a sense it is a meditative process that, whether I am going to or coming from work, I feel more at peace at the end of my journey.

There are many places in the city that I have not seen above ground, but I can get a sense of what these areas are like by the inhabitants that enter and exit the metro cars….the Upper West Side for example, is inhabited by upper-middle to upper class whites who hire Hispanics as cleaners and black women as nannies (generally although sometimes Asian women are included in the mix as well). I know this because I see these women…these working women, tired, going back home to Queens, often at 2 or 3 in the morning to their families. The G train or the ” Gee, I wonder when this train is coming” train as a stand up Comedian once said, is filled with an interesting group of cultures and identities: from Court Square to the last stop in Williamsburg, the general demographic is comprised of Hipsters, young white, middle class couples and a smattering of Hispanics. Hipsters are a funny creature–they generally are either engrossed in a book about something interesting and “profound” or having a very loud conversation to someone else about the recent art exhibition they attended or were featured in so all may now just how interesting they are…..when the irony of it all is they are a dime a dozen who generally when asked a question about what they think….spew out the opinion of someone important that they have read about (so how do I really feel about hipsters right?..I know but I can’t help it).

After Court Square, things start to get real…here you have the more Black and Hispanic communities and then once you hop on the A or C train a little further down on the G line, well that brings you up to Harlem and the Bronx, but first to the Financial Street Area, so you have an interesting mixture of whites and black trying there best to ignore each other…pretend that the reality of the other does not exist in order to feel more justified in their own existence.

So there you have it; a brief synopsis of New York’s subway system….it is a place, a reality I have to deal with everyday and I have learned to deal with it through observing and analyzing and I really just can’t wait for the summer months when it reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit….

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