The NYC Subway Has Its Own Flavor

nyc subway

Here’s another story from Changing Every Day about our beloved NYC subway system. When you’re finished reading, take the quiz to test your understanding!:

Life Underground

Ally Li

Do not just look at the dated and grimy side of the New York City subway system. It’s not comparable with a system built a hundred years later, like in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Guangzhou.

After over one hundred years of cultural precipitation, the NYC subway obviously has its own flavor, to show the world its unique charm. It has become a miniature of society and also a great stage: People perform their different stories over there. It’s definitely deserving of being called an “underground museum.” As long as you come into the subway, wherever you are, you will see many showstoppers and reality shows; then your wonderful trip is beginning.

There is a patch of ground in the 34th Street station; it seems reserved for some bands that play jazz, heavy metal, percussion, and fusion. Sometimes there is a saxophonist, who is my favorite. When the music sounds, I quietly listen to all the varieties, either velvety or blue, forceful or mild, joyous or sad. Your heart will follow the melody to go to a wild and distant space. You’ll get an illusion while the saxophonist plays; you’ll imagine that Kenny G stands by the side; you’ll see Boots Randolph pass by the crude stage with his saxophone, and you’ll feel he’s still alive because of his immortal music.

And you can stop and take a rest at the passage that goes through to the 7 train platform at the 42nd Street station, and appreciate an accomplished violinist there, as a string of fantastic notes fly upward from her fingertips, composing a melodious tune that floats in the hallway. Just silently lean against the wall, forget all vexation, and indulge in the fancy solo—“speak softly,” “meditate,” along with the pleasant music beyond the bustling subway; drifting away to a place of solitude, far from the maddening crowd, you are surrounded by tranquility.

Also, you can go around and take a look at some interesting artworks in many subway stations, created by some notable artists. Like the reliefs “The Revelers” in Times Square, the mosaic “Empress Voyage” in the Canal Street station, the “Missed Connections” poster inside certain subway cars, or the “Life Underground” in the 14th Street station—I love those bronzes, I just love them! They are so full of childlike bliss, and lingering among that imagery, you perhaps lose track of time. But even so, you don’t have to worry about this, because can always get the train to go home whether early or late. The subway in NYC is running for 24 hours. Besides, in the cold winter, the subway is a sanctuary for some homeless people. Don’t be fussy, be kind, no matter where he comes from and where he will go, just let him huddle in a corner to catch his breath and have sweet dreams!

Of course everything isn’t rosy in the world. The subway has its shortcomings. Some people complain the subway is a maze that drives them crazy, most areas have no cell phone signal, passengers eat and drink in the train, and rats play on the tracks. And some subway stations are very stuffy because of lack of ventilation.

Uh huh, we know that, but we’ll overlook it, because there can be no sunshine without shadows. Just turn your face to the sunlight—the underground sunlight—and enjoy it.


 To read more stories from Changing Ever Day, click here. 

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