Showing posts with label D train. Show all posts
Showing posts with label D train. Show all posts


On Drinking Prosecco And Watching Malcolm (And What Came Of It)

I drank a bottle of Prosecco in the late afternoon. The light had just begun to disintegrate. On my computer lay a MPEG of Malcolm X, a movie I had intended to watch. To my chagrin, I had never watched it and vowed to see it through during a time of inactivity. It is my goal to immerse myself in the cinema. It's been a recent habit of mine to sit in a cinema as often as I can gather the strength to take the D train to Midtown. Sunset Park is lackluster in cinema options. Bay Ridge only plays the shallow greats. Cobble Hill has a decent cinema but I don't take the F train. It's easier to ride into Manhattan, with its jaundiced eyes, and beleaguered denizens. Humanity looks browbeaten on the subway. I sort of feel shameful taking the D train to see a movie during rush hour. Shouldn't I feel just as browbeaten, just as defeated after a long day of work? That's a silly rhetorical question. Maybe these people, these sour brow beaten folks have more money in their pockets than me. They have mouths to feed. Rent to pay. I've paid my rent. I am going to see a movie. I wish they could come with me and rejoice in the pleasures of the visual screen. "It's a screed," I preach. I say. To them. To the woman with the holes in her hosiery, to the overtly masculine boy who keeps picking at his knickers. To the guy, a prince, so fairly laden, he only knows how to ask for something, never
to empathize. It's a guilty pleasure. I don't know why I feel so guilty. Today. I counted them. I saw eighty-six movies at the same cinema. That's not counting the other movies at other cinemas. I feel like Susan Sontag. Or something. Malcolm X. They soaked in information; then they launched onto the world. I feel like I am still a chrysalis in its shell, damned, but I do not know why.


Scared D Train (Repost)

Just to say: this is my neighborhood subway station at 36th Street and Fourth Avenue, the contractual confluence of the D, N, and R trains! Sometimes the D does hide in the hollow of the station entrance. This phenomenon also occurs at Delancey/Essex Street most commonly with the M train waiting to go over the Williamsburg Bridge. 
Scared D Train: Reposted from Adam Sack's Youtube Channel


A Judgment of Beauty At West Fourth Street Station (And a Rant about Education in These United States)

     Sometimes as a teacher of college students I am ridiculed by my own students. Today I got excited about describing an aesthetic judgment of beauty I witnessed in the cavity of the West Fourth Street Station as the D train sidled into the station - I will explain what that moment was in a moment - and Olivia, a student in the front row, just flat out laughed - you know, in that one-off laugh that does not indicate joy, but rather a mean, derisive laugh (a rough form of "huh") meant to show that she could not relate to what I was saying, so her only response was not to question me why, nor to give me a chance to elaborate, but to laugh in such a way as to communicate to me and the rest of the class, "what is this man talking about?"

     Maybe there was derisive laughter from this student because beauty and the subterranean chaos of the New York City subway system did not equate in her mind with a notion of beauty, or, it seems to me, the notion of beauty, a capacity to appreciate it - albeit in the slum of the West Fourth Street Station. I felt sad and isolated in front of the class. Not because they missed my point, but I felt isolated in that way a kid feels when they have said something wrong in front of a group of adults. As if I had said the wrong thing to a group of fellow human beings - and I do not think I am over-thinking this moment. I think educators, people like me who spend lots of time in classrooms, have witnessed two critical deformations in intellectual seriousness. First, we are educated to be producers, not thinkers. What this means is that a sharing response to what is beautiful is not what we do in classrooms. Notionally, we should be doing other more important endeavors (what this other stuff is exactly I have not fully ascertained but I get the impression it is dull and prosaic). Second, in the name of entertainment, the public sphere has been dumbed down to such a point that beauty is losing its shareability. I actually had the president of the school where I work tell me and a large group of faculty members that first and foremost the students should be entertained in the classroom. Tell a joke, he said. One time during a midterm exam a student got up from her seat and gave me her test. I asked her why she had not finished it and she told me, "if you had made this class more fun I would know this stuff." I never saw her again. She dropped the class.


Vintage Columbus Circle 59th Street Subway Sign

Meet me next to the glazed red wheelbarrow at Columbus Circle, she said, mimicking William Carlos Williams ...
Notice the symbol for the now defunct 9 line