Friday, May 10, 2013

The R Train

I hate the subway, and I particularly hate the R line, which is the train that services my Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge. I live near the next to the last stop (or the first stop depending if you’re going to the city or coming back from the city. I’m a native New Yorker, Brooklyn born and raised and when I was growing up we always referred to Manhattan as the city, we went to the city to go to a movie or to shop, and we never said anything else. The R line runs from the south end of Brooklyn, near the great Verrazano Bridge, which I see every morning when I leave my house, it looms over 3rd avenue, and is one of the reasons why I decided to move here, that and the sound of the fog horns on rainy foggy nights that I love listening to. I live 3 blocks from the water. The R line runs all the way to Queens. It slowly makes it way up 4th avenue through Sunset Park, Downtown Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Soho the Village, midtown and then on to Queens. I could change for an express train at 59th street in Brooklyn but I would never get a seat and besides all the stops that I usually need are all local, and since I get on at 86th street which is the next to the last or first stop (please see above) I always get my favorite seat. I know exactly where the train will stop so I can hop on and get my  two seater, and I always take the seat on the right side so I’m protected from people pressing their fat asses and backs in the opening that is on the left side. Sometimes there is someone sitting in my favorite seat when I get on at 86th street and I get all sullen and mad. Sometimes I get lucky and no one sits next to me for most if not always the entire trek into the city, but not always. I dread it when an overweight person will try to squeeze their full figures in the narrow space next to me, and sometimes when this happens I will be so uncomfortable that I get up in a huff giving the overweight man/woman a dirty and glaring look as I move directly to the two seater for disabled people directly across from them. Of course most of the riders never pay no mind that these seats are for people with disabilities and they will plop down in them, so I have no qualms about sitting there since I am 66 years old. Its a long ride into the city as the R train toddles along at a snail’s pace. The N train is nice because it runs over the bridge and you get some spectacular views of lower Manhattan that the tourists love. After the early days of  9-11 the R train had to also run over the bridge and we would gaze at the missing space and the dust and haze that still hung over the lower part of my city. The subway car would always get silent until we went over the bridge and back into the tunnel, it was a daily memorial service. I always have to have something to read, and since moving back to Brooklyn I now do most of my reading on the subway. I’ve read what seems like 100’s of books, newspapers and magazines, and Heaven help me if I don’t have something to read to pass the time during this long and boring subway ride. Sometimes I don’t feel like reading and I will put on my sunglasses and stare at my fellow passengers, hoping some hubba hubba guy will be sitting across from me preferably with legs spread wide and sometimes I will carefully and Unobtrusively snap a few pictures of my fellow passengers.  I hate the ones who eat on the train, the smells of their friend egg sandwiches or McDonalds turning my stomach. I also don’t care much for the women who wear lots of cheap perfume. Once a woman reeking sat next to me, and I was starting to feel ill from the smell. She noticed my condition and asked me if her perfume was bothering me, yes I said struggling to get the words out as my throat constricted and my eyes started tearing.  Sorry she said and got up to find another seat which I thought was very considerate of her. I won’t go into my feelings for the nail bitters and the nose pickers just use your imagination.  I’ve always hated the subways even when I was a kid. I use to have a close friend who no longer lives here, but when he visits usually in the spring he will spend a day of his vacation  just riding the subways, I think he’s nuts.  


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