Subways and Superior Ways?

Three weeks in Manhattan already equals so many subway rides. I've lost count. Entirely.

I've also lost the thread in my own mind of the discussion I was having with myself as to whether I liked or hated the subway method of transit. Let's see if I can find it!

    pro: Time to myself to think.
    con: All said time to myself to think is in white, noisy, moving metal tube.

    pro: Possibility of interacting with people from all walks of life.
    con: Possibility of interacting with people who don't smile/bathe/understand the basic concept of 'my property is here, your property is there'.

    pro: A NYC MTA subway transit car was the location of one of the only good scenes in Chris Columbus' film adaptation of RENT.
    con: A NYC MTA subway transit car was the location of a scene in Chris Columbus' film adaptation of RENT.

    pro: There's a MTA subway station at almost any location in NYC I'd like to go!
    con: There's a MTA subway station at almost any location in NYC I'd like to go. Grrr!

    pro: Standing in such a way so that you won't fall over when the train arrives is fun.

Honestly, I find the subway depressing. All straight lines and metal. People looking everywhere but at your eyes. Homeless people so slumped over on the benches they look like corpses. Stuffy, dank, and dark tunnels that stretch on into darkness. Maybe I've just had to take the thing AWAY from my girlfriend and that has colored my impression of it. I didn't hate it three weeks ago. Of course, I didn't love it either...

Well, at least it's fun. I recommend keeping your feet diagonally positioned so as to create a box-shape between them that allows you support for sudden shifts left-right and back-forward!

And it is cheaper by far than owning a car or taking taxis everywhere. Yeah, there's that too.


Matthew Webber said...

One of the keys to successfully riding on any subway is quite counter-intuitive and it is this, lean in the direction of acceleration. Say you're standing on the subway parallel to the direction of motion, meaning that your shoulders are parallel with the train tracks, or that you're facing the door :) As the train pulls out of the station, say to your right, your inertia pushes you a little to your left and you instinctually shift your weight there and then adjust, meaning push towards the right and shift your weight back to neutral center. If however before the train starts moving you shift your weight onto your right leg and keep it that way as the train pulls out the process becomes much easier! It's odd at first to try but it can be done subtly so no one notices and is very effective, no more stumbling or grabbing for the pole. A second point, I use the term "acceleration" in the physics sense, meaning change in velocity. The process works the same was as you enter a station as slow down. You still shift your weight in the direction of acceleration, but in this case that means onto your back leg, away from the station your pulling into. Again, if you're moving to your right and enter a station, this means putting your weight onto your left leg! BTW, I figured this out purely experimentally on the T.

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