5 Reasons I Love Taking the NYC Subways

    January 7, 2013 at 4:00 am

    The reasons I love taking the NYC subways are plenty. The news represents the NYC subway system as a maze of death, filth and disease. It’s only half true, but that’s part of the fun. Here are 5 reasons I love taking the NYC subways.

    It can be fun to fear for your life

    fear on the subway
    Sure, I’m afraid of being pushed into the tracks, riding a train that may suddenly explode, getting groped or ejaculated upon by some random lunatic, or sitting in a puddle of pee someone has so graciously left as a gift on one of the seats. Did I mention that I love thrills? That’s why I love taking the NYC subways. What roller coaster do you know of that costs a little over two dollars?


    The music

    Subway musician

    While having a full Mariachi band blast music into your drooping, hungover face from three feet away while you’re trying to get to work without vomiting is a dictionary definition of ‘Hell’, there are many subway musicians who are immensely talented and entertaining. Even the Mariachi bands, just when they’re a little further away.

    Every instrument can be found in the subways. All kinds of guitars, singers who have a little stereo playing their backing tracks, six-member a cappella groups, keyboards, drums fashioned from upturned buckets, saxophones, violins, electric violins, and even people who don’t play anything but just dance. There are no commercial breaks (fuck off, American Idol), no sponsors, and no massive amounts of plastic surgery and makeup to make you feel like you’re watching a Real Doll perform a musical number. It’s really, really real, and the performers come from a colorful variety of backgrounds — from homeless men who speak secret, unintelligible languages to award-winning performers who simply enjoy performing for crowds, the subway system has a little bit of everything. Yet another reason I love taking the NYC subways. Hell, I might just start living there.


    The People Watching

    Subway People Watching

    A million stories come together on the train like some cheesy Coldplay music video. I hate Coldplay, but I love watching people and their interesting mannerisms on the train. Look at that fat guy snoring in the corner! Check out that weird old lady clipping her toenails as she eats a cheeseburger with her other hand! I wonder why that teenage girl is crying into her iPod? I wonder why that angry couple is vehemently arguing in Russian? Just about the only thing I don’t wonder is how come I love taking the NYC subways so much.

    You never know what you’ll see. Rich people, poor people, tall people, short people. It’s like a Dr. Seuss book, only with a lot more misery and a lot less redemption.


    Fast and Cheap and Probably Safe

    Fast and cheap subway travel
    If you’re very obviously not a native New Yorker, good luck getting a yellow cab whose driver is going to take you directly where you want to go; they’ll get halfway toward one side of town before deciding that ‘the other way’ would be better and running up the meter an extra ten to fifteen dollars. Even if they do take you straight to your destination, sitting in traffic will probably be more infuriating than anything you’ll encounter on the train. And while a trip from the middle of Brooklyn to Harlem costs $2.50 on the train (or whatever they’re charging these days), a cab will cost you over ten times that.

    And by the way, most people don’t get pushed into the subway tracks. One way to ensure that you stay on the platform is to avoid standing on the edge of the platform. You know, the dangerous part. The part where the train comes. Don’t crane your neck down the tunnel, searching for that beacon of light that implies an approaching train. It’s not going to make your trip faster. Just lean safely against the wall and play Angry Birds or whatever terrible mind-numbing game you’ve chosen to take up all the quiet spaces in your life.

    And I’ve never been on a train that’s exploded. Trains don’t usually explode. Even if they did, I would still love taking the NYC subways. Odds are, you’ll be just fine.


    Making Friends

    You might even make a friend on the train. You probably won’t, but you might. All the girls my friends have met on subway trains have looked real cute but turned out to be extra crazy. That’s unfortunate. However, there’s always a possibility that, someday, the girl will be both cute and sane.

    I’ve met some interesting people on the subway. A lot of them turned out to be creepy old men, but a few were actually genuinely interesting individuals who had a wealth of information to share about their peculiar lives. Friends I have made:

    – That weird, nodding-off guy who screamed at me to “SMILE AT HIM GODAMMIT,” exclaimed “THAT’S BETTER” when I did, and stormed off the train in a fury.

    – A man in his 50s who told me about his collection of antique photographs of Brooklyn before admitting that he competed with his son to see who could fuck the youngest women.

    – Random man who tried to slide his hand down the pole to hold mine on Valentine’s day and acted shocked when I became upset.

    – The cute guy who liked me so much he couldn’t bear to make eye contact with me and rushed off the train out of sheer nervousness when I tried to grope for his shirt collar.

    – Homeless woman who said she had a spot reserved for me in a mental institution, told me about her celebrity friends like Britney Spears, and offered to give me an injection. Of what, I never found out, but whatever it was I bet it would make me love taking the NYC subways even more.


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