Showing posts with label new york city transit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new york city transit. Show all posts

3.6.17

Photo: I Wish I Were the Camera's Eye


A straphanger waits for a train at the 36th Street subway station in Brooklyn.
A straphanger is focused on his phone as he waits for a subway train in New York City
I wish I were the camera's eye. I would watch the world the way a film camera surveys its filmic world.

I would be a rare film, one that danced when it surveyed the world, but rarely seen, not distributed like a Hollywood classic.


I am a fan of the long take. Maybe it is because I admire the way some filmmakers are able to capture a moment for as long as it can last.


I'd be the eye on a Max Ophul's film-watching Madame wind a staircase. Or, I'd be the eye in Raiders of the Lost Ark, inventorying lost treasures.


I imagine the camera's eye is lonely and I'll admit I don't agree well with loneliness - who does? - but every once in a while I just want to zoom out and take on what the philosophers call "The God's Eye View."


I'd catch myself in a frame shot - kind of like what happens when I dream. I see myself in the corner of my eye. It's me. In my own dream.

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Photo Credit: Greig Roselli

6.6.14

New York City Subway: A June Journey On A Thirty-Day MetroCard

Here is a transcript of a month's journey on the New York City subway system using a thirty-day MetroCard.
*Home is Sunset Park, Brooklyn
1. From Home to Herald Square / 34th Street via the Sixth Avenue Express.
2. From 47/50th Street to Home via the Sixth Avenue Express.
3. From Home to Carrol Gardens via the Fourth Ave Line and the Culver Viaduct.
4. From Prospect Ave. to Home via the Fourth Avenue Local.
5. From Home to Brooklyn's Chinatown via the B11 bus.
6. From 8th Ave. in Brooklyn to Home via the Sea Beach Line and the Fourth Avenue Local.
7. From Home to Bay Ridge via the Fourth Avenue Local.
8. From Bay Ridge to Home via the B63 bus.
9. From Home to Grand Central Station via the Fourth Avenue and Lexington Avenue Lines (with an out-of-service connexion on Metro-North's Harlem line to Golden's Bridge). Note: Because of construction on weekends the Fourth Avenue Local has been rerouted along the Manhattan Bridge.
10. From Golden's Bridge to Grand Central Station with connexion to the New York City Subway via the Lexington Avenue Express and Fourth Avenue Lines to Home.
11. From Home to Herald Square / 34th Street via the Sixth Avenue Express.
12. From Bryant Park to the Bronx Library Center via the Sixth Avenue Express to the Grand Concourse.
13. From the Bronx to Home (via the Sixth Avenue Line).
14. From Home to the Bronx via the Sixth Avenue Express.
15. From the Bronx to Home via the Sixth Avenue Local.
16. From Home to NYU via the Sixth Avenue Express.
17. From Second Avenue to Fort Green/BAM via the Culver and Nassau Lines.
18. From BAM/Atlantic Ave. to Home via the Fourth Avenue Local.
19. From Home to Madison Square Park/23rd Street via the Broadway Line.
20. From 23rd Street to 57th Street via the Sixth Avenue Local.
21. From Home to Atlantic Ave./Barclay Center via the Fourth Avenue Local.
22. From Atlantic Ave./Barclay Center to Home via the Fourth Avenue Local.
23. From Home to 36th Avenue (Queens) via the Broadway Line.
24. From 36th Avenue (Queens) to Home via the Broadway Line.
25. From Home to the Bronx via the Sixth Avenue Express..
26. From the Bronx to Broadway/Lafayette via the Sixth Avenue Express.
27. From Grand Street to Home via the Christy Street Connection.
28. From Home to the Bronx via the Sixth Avenue Express..
29. From the Bronx via the Grandconcourse Line to Union Street along the Fourth Avenue Local.
30. From Union Street to Home via the Fourth Avenue Local.
31. From Home to 8th Street/NYU via the Broadway Line.
32. From Union Square to 53rd Street/5th Avenue via the Lexington Avenue Line and 53rd Street Tunnel.
33. From 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center to Home via the Sixth Avenue Express.
34. From Home to 86th Street via the Lexington Avenue Line.
35. From 79th Street to Astor Place via the Lexington Avenue Line.
36. From Chambers Street to Home via the Nassau Line and Fourth Avenue Local.
37. From Home to 47/50th Street via the Sixth Avenue Express.
38. From 47/50th Street to Delancey/Essex Street via the Sixth Avenue Line and Christy Street Connection.
39. From Grand Street to Home via the Sixth Avenue Express.
40. From Home to Canal Street via the Broadway Line.
41. From Spring Street on the Eighth Avenue Line with a transfer to the Canarsie Line to Union Square.
42. From Union Square on the Canarsie Line to Spring Street on the Eight Avenue Local.
43. From West Fourth to 47/50th Street via the Sixth Avenue Express.
44. From 47/50th Street to Home via the Sixth Avenue Express.
45. From Home to the Bronx via the Grand Concourse and Sixth Avenue Express.
46. From the Bronx to Columbus Circle via the Sixth Avenue Line.
47. From Columbus Circle to Grand Street via the Sixth Avenue Line.
48. From Canal Street to Home via the Broadway Line.
49. From Home to 8th Street/NYU via the Broadway Line.
50. From Union Square to 51st Street via the Lexington Avenue Local.
51. From 47/50th Street to Home via the Sixth Avenue Express.
52. From Home to 49th Street via the Broadway Line.
53. From 47/50th Street to Home via the Sixth Avenue Express.
54. From Home to 34th Street Herald Square via the Sixth Avenue Express.
55. From 34th Street Herald Square to the Bronx via the Sixth Avenue Local.
56. From the Bronx to Home.
The end of June 2014 Metrocard.

18.2.13

New York City Subway 30 Day Metrocard Notebook

The MTA offers customers a 30-day
MetroCard; but, is it worth it?
Note to myself: Is my 30-day New York City Transit unlimited MetroCard worth it?

$104 Metrocard
Cost Per ride (with 7% discount): $2.09
Total Number of Rides: 64
List of rides with random notes made on a 30 day unlimited card purchased at the BMT 45th Street Station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn January 19, 2013
Subway List Graffito
1. $2.25
2. $2.25
3. $2.25
4. $2.25
5. $2.25
6. $2.25
7. $2.25
8. Tuesday aftn 01/22/2013 $2.25
8. $2.25 Wedy morning 01/23/2013
9. $2.25
10. $2.25
11. $2.25
Thursday afternoon after class.
12. $2.25 Friday night
13. $2.25
14. $2.25
15. $2.25 Saturday afternoon
16. $2.25 Saturday night
17. $2.25 Monday morning
18. $2.25 herald square Monday even
19. $2.25 Jay Street/Metro  Tuesday
20. $2.25 Tuesday afternoon jay
21. $2.25 Tuesday whitehall
22. $2.25 Wednesday morning (smoke on the track) 01/30/2013
23. $2.25 Wednesday night to 42nd
24. $2.25 Wednesday night home
25. $2.25 home
26. $2.25 Thursday morning
27. $2.25 Thursday evening jay
28. $2.25 Friday afternoon 45th street
29. $2.25 Friday at 33rd st.
30 $2.25 L train
31. $2.25 l train to the q then n
32. B63 bus
33. r train at bay ridge
34. Sunday afternoon 45 street
35. b63/Atlantic avenue Pacific street
36. 49th street night
37. 45 street R/N express
38. 42nd street times square
39. 45 street R local
40. Court Street R local
41. 45 street R Local evening
42. G at Bedford/nostrand
43. G at Nassau (church ave bound)
44. Atlantic/Pacific (I walked from the Fulton G station).
45. 36th street D express Thursday night
46. Union Square n/r Thursday night
47. 45 Street Friday afternoon
48. M1 fifth avenue
49. 47/50 Rockefeller center
50. 45 street Saturday afternoon
51. Astor Place Saturday afternoon
52. Grand Street Saturday afternoon
53. 36 street D train
54. E/M 53 street/6 51 street
55. 8th street NYU
56. 45 street
57. Q union square
58. 45 street ash wednesday
59. 42 street with melanie and Troy
60. Broadway/Lafayette Ave. D train night. I watched Lore tonight. I had butterfly shrimp with Melanie and Troy. I have $1.16 in my bank account.
61. 45 street waiting for Manhattan bound R train. Picked up money order at Western Union. Got a call back from a job. Transfer to the M3 bus

62. 14th Street Union Squre: Commute home
63. I gave my metrocard to a friend to use. I think she took the L train to Williamsburg and 64. came back home on the G (then a transfer to the R).
Metrocard expired.
Baby, it's worth it!

30.1.12

Photographer's Lens: 7 Train Yard

 7 train yard in Corona Park, Queens
Image: Patrick X. Liu

If you take the 7 train line towards Flushing, get off at the Mets/Willets Point Station. From there you can cross over a pedestrian bridge that leads into Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. Around here is where you can snag a decent picture of the Corona Yard - a major train storage trackage for the IRT division of the New York City Subway system.

25.5.11

The 181st Street IRT Subway Station in New York City

A station entrance to the IRT Broadway line in New York City is accessible by a staircase.
The station entrance to the IRT Broadway Line in New York
At the 181st Street station on the number 1 local, I see a man humping the platform floor. Two ladies clad in business dress call the police. The police, on arriving at the primal scene inquire, "Sir, will you get the fuck up?"

Detail of the New York City Subway Map
A flock of pigeons flies through the tunnel space. The police carry Onan away. More than one hundred feet below the surface of the street, flanêurs ascend and descend via one of four aesthetically displeasing metallic elevators, brought to life today only by the Dominican men who enter with me listing their accomplishments. “Can you believe it?” one asks. “No, to be honest, I can’t. That’s a brave man. That one. That’s a brave man.” The accomplishments are lost to me. All I know are the sounds. The pleasure in their voices was being.
     The elevator brings us to ground level; the men go quietly; we hurry out to the street. My destination is the Fort Washington Branch of the New York City Public Library. I want to write in a quiet space. To escape the noise. The factotum at the circulation desk points me to an especially quiet place in the back of the library. The patrons are a mix of young teens freshly evicted from the diurnal school duty and retired folks who read newspapers and mind their own business. The Fort Washington Library, like many of the libraries in New York, was a Carnegie gift. It is not my first visit to this particular branch. I remember my last visit here last summer. It is queer to have summer memories during winter. I remember the building that sits atop the tunnel entrance onto the George Washington Bridge. It reminds me of a battered housewife. The rumble of cars and trucks come to the surface of the street with a persistent violence. This is the ugliest building in all of Manhattan. I remember walking past it last summer, while shirtless boys on St. Nicholas Avenue played in the opened fire hydrant. Langston Hughes comes to mind. He was a flanêur of urban American streets. He wrote poetry about memories. About dreams. About IRT trains:
Sometimes a crumb falls
From the tables of joy
Sometimes a bone
Is flung
To some people
Love is given
To others
Only heaven.
Would you like to read more? Fetch Greig Roselli's book of essays, Things I Shouldn't Have Said (And Other Faux Pas) for more good writing, dammit.  

A Station Entrance to the 181st Street IRT Station on the New York City Subway Broadway Line

19.1.11

Photo, Grand Central

Lubavitchers, Grand Central, New York City

7.7.10

New York City Subway Stories: 231 Street Station


A Stopover in Kingsbridge
The Broadway local stations in the northern Bronx between Westchester County and Manhattan are elevated, reminiscent of the old els that populated most of the city before the inception of the subways at the turn of the century. Here in Kingsbridge, I can sort of get the feel of how the city used to be — sort of — I can imagine none of these buildings around me exist and instead there are rolling fields and hills that punctuate the countryside when this line was originally built. For my subway car reading, I've been diving into New York City Subway history. In one book, The City Beneath Us: Building the New York Subway, I recently checked out from the Mid-Manhattan Branch library, depicts the 238 and 231 street stations. The pictures are eerie snapshots from the past. The difference in setting is striking. But the elevated train remains the same. I am on a time machine. The structure of the stations are unchanged. The same Swiss Chalet façade adorns the front (here it is inviting white!) and the steel infrastructure is unchanged in appearance. The difference is the emptiness that surrounds the Broadway local train. I can close my eyes and return to this spot a hundred years ago. Perhaps I am a Manhattan father with two children and a wife. We move north to escape the chaos of downtown and the typhoid and tuberulosis of lower Manhattan tenement living. Here, it must have felt like a spacious Western dream. "Don't fence me in!" The first train passengers more than a hundred years ago probably did not imagine the extent of urbanization New York would undergo. Or maybe they did. Because it did not take long for this area to rapidly acquire buildings and concrete. At one time, though, a cow could have taken a dump right here on the extent of concrete below me. A horse could have been crushed by a drunken driver in a Ford — right here. I take a swig from my Orangina and a tiny Dominican woman offers me a smile.

Northern Manhattan and north of the Harlem river still retain vestiges of the old that most of lower Manhattan has buried. The trains are still elevated, not below the ground; and the streets beckon an old-world feel. Even the name of this neighborhood, Kingsbridge, is antiquated, not Dutch obviously, but a New England name that fits comfortably alongside New York. Kingsbridge, New York. The name is lyrical. The space begs people to notice its own origins. Banners affixed to poles in the street cry out, visit Kingsbridge, "It's all under the bridge!" Instead of cows and horses, the sound of ladies softly alighting their feet on grass, I hear the rush of cars emanating from the Major Deegan Expressway, not far from where I stand, which snakes through the Bronx north-south. I am not really sure what Kingsbridge refers to, perhaps a bridge that once existed here but no longer stands. A quick Wikipedia search concludes that a bridge did stand here but it was covered up and replaced by the Duivet-Spuivel canal. For some reason I think of Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere, of an alternate universe in the London Underground and imagine if Gaiman had written the novel here, Kingsbridge would have to serve as some magical portal to New York’s own Neverwhere. Maybe Van Cortlandt Park to the north would be a faun's playground. I think for a second how fun it would be to write a novel about the subways of New York as a fantasy. Gaiman might sue though. I put my idea on a cupboard in my brain. I can figure out my own creative slant. I'm sure of it.

Interacting with Locals and an Encounter with the Police
After asking her a few questions, which at first startles her, a middle-aged black woman carrying a leather satchel and an umbrella tells me Kingsbridge is a nice place. She points in the direction of Broadway and says something to me about the canal that was dug that replaced the original Kingsbridge. I tell her thank you and walk along Broadway. The heat creeps through the streets. The pizza I ate at Mario's still feels heavy in my stomach. I climb the stairs of the elevated platform and find a quite place to jot down notes in my moleskine.

A policeman from the 50th district stops me and asks me not to loiter. Either get on a train or keep moving. He’s polite enough, but there is an unnecessary heightened sense of authority in his voice so I board the Manhattan-bound Broaway local as quickly as possible. Seated on the train again, I remember just yesterday a New York Public Library security guard had asked me in not so kind words to not sit in the stacks to read a book. “Tables are for reading. Get up.”
Read more stories just like this one in my book of essays "Things I Probably Shouldn't Have Said (And Other Faux Pas)"

5.7.10

New York City Subway Stories: 238 Street Station

5:37 PM
In this post, I contribute to my series on the New York City Subway — "238 Street Station" edition.

A lost child's mottled gray marble rolls across the car floor like a cliché. A Dominican woman I've seen before on the train remarks to me with rapt concentration, her eyes on the stray marble, not on me. "Someone's lost their marbles," she says and laughs at her own joke, rapping her head with the brunt edge of her umbrella.


The heat in the train is suffocating. Two girls in summer dresses apply makeup and talk about a party on 168th street. It's the Monday after the Fourth of July and the town is still on holiday. The evening has done nothing to slake the heat. Shirt sticks to skin. The dry heat sits stale. The air conditioning is barely enough to keep us alive. A female conductor's voice reminds us all that it's hot and if we see anyone passed out, let a MTA employee know. Isn't there a subway car that serves beer? I thought I had read about such a train in the newspaper. The train offers a poem by Robert Frost printed on an advertisement called "Train of Thought".
“Dust of Snow”
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
The subway is a cacophony of bodies in motion. Every station is a change of mood. Most people look angry. But it is a quiet anger. A guy about my age, reading War in Peace, totes a cat carrier, but I don't see a cat. He looks up from his book and glares out the window. He seems to say, to no one in particular, "It's fucking hot in this car." It is. I agree. But heat is nothing exciting to write about. The marble rolls by again, hitting against a boy's skateboard. No one else seems to watch its trajectory quite like the familiar Dominican woman. Every time it rolls by she laughs and points to her head, then at me.

An announcement blares from the conductor, "We're being held in a state of supervision." The guy with the cat and Tolstoy rolls his eyes as he reads. I think I heard the conductor correctly. A state of supervision? I knew New York was a nanny state, but come on, this is ridiculous. I situate myself in the seat and prepare for what can only be a state of supervision. Nothing happens. The train sits in its own heat for thirty seconds and then lurches forward again, Bronx bound. Seasoned New Yorkers remain upright. The marble rolls again. If this were the Marble Hills Station, I'd add another joke to the already stale punch line.

I disembark at the 238th Street Station, the next stop on my writing tour. A Manhattan-bound train enters the station seconds after the Bronx train leaves. The train's shadow sparkles light on the exterior wall of a Rite Aid. The structure of the track allows light to flicker through the duvets to create a modest spectacle of sound, light and movement. A policeman guards the platform. I am reluctant to linger, for fear he may ask questions. I carry a black Moleskine to take notes on my subway rides. I am a bit paranoid that he may ask me what I'm writing, so I take the stairs to the street level. This station is similar to every elevated platform station on the 1 line in the Bronx. The façade of the station is the same train station-depot-look that parades the station at Van Cortlandt Park and Kingsbridge.

This station does not sport the same scenic look as Van Cortlandt Park did on the Fourth of July. In fact, I immediately get the sense this station may perhaps be the least populated station on the one line, if not, the entire MTA system. The buses are packed, though, and people seem to navigate mainly in cars.

I  am not an investigative journalist type. I do not intend to riddle people with questions about their neighborhood. My subway writing project is simple: I am not so much interested in description, as I am in impression.

My stomach growls. I am on a budget so a pizza looks good at Mario’s. Two Italian adolescents chat on a bench in front of the restaurant. The pizzeria is empty. The beeline bus to Riverdale careens by filled with passengers. When the boys see me they jump up and walk briskly inside to the check out counter. “Hi,” the younger guy says, obviously revealing to me that not only does he relax on the bench outside like a customer, he also works at the place. His accent is most probably Bronx. I can't tell the difference between the Bronx and Brooklyn, New Jersey or Queens. It all sounds similar to me. The guy talks really fast with a cheerful lilt. A quiet Chinese guy sits on a bench in the kitchen. A weathered woman with bleach blonde hair, perhaps pretty in 1981, sits at a booth with two girls. I order the Meat Lovers. I’m hungry. And a meringue soda. I love glass bottles. Bottled in Brookly, the label reads.

“I got to cook up the bacon and sausage for your Meat Lovers, OK?” the boy says. I nod in acquiescence and take a seat to jot down some notes. The boys and the Chinese man (who never emits a word) make my pizza pie. The place is empty, as I said; it is not the typical New York scene. Few pedestrians, if any, walk by. I eat the pizza with menace. Drown the meringue soda. Get up to pay, and the weathered woman gets up with me. I think she’s going to ask me for money. She doesn’t. She goes behind the counter. Her kids sit in the booth and play with each other’s hair. The boys are on the bench laughing and playing with their cell phones. “That’ll be $3.50.” After I pay the weathered woman, figuring what the hell, whom I assume also works here, the Bronx boys come back in the store, grin, and tell me, “Stay cool buddy, cuz it’s hot.”  I imagine this joint is their summer job. They’re happy to have a customer. Maybe they just graduated from high school? The woman stands proud at the cash register. A silver sedan pulls up to the curb with several of the boys' friends. I wonder if I am the only customer they’ll have tonight? Feels like I just ate a pizza pie in a Bronx house on 238th street instead of a restaurant. Despite the heat, I am in good spirits. The shadows of a moving train appear again on the Rite Aid façade. I dance a bit in the street, the Merengue flavor still hot in my mouth. Sitting down again in the subway card, the air conditioning has never felt this good.
Read more stories just like this one in my book of essays "Things I Probably Shouldn't Have Said (And Other Faux Pas)"