I don’t usually ride the R train, so on the recent occasions that I did, its ways were new to me. The first time, I rode it from the Atlantic Center in Brooklyn to 28th Street in Manhattan. Upon the closing of the doors, a group of five middle-aged men who called themselves the “Echoes of Harmony” announced that they were happy to see we’d all survived Hurricane Irene, and to celebrate our survival, they were going to serenade us. They sang a song with improvised lyrics, mentioning everything from the R train to the hurricane, to what a lovely day it was. They were actually pretty good, even though the song lacked lyrical depth.
On my other R train exploit one week later, I was waiting on the 34th Street-Herald Square platform and had the pleasure of standing next to a group of 30-something guys that reeked of excessive afternoon drinks (hey, it was five o’clock somewhere). They were discussing, in an uproarious manner, something clearly hilarious that had happened at the office that day. The words “awesome” and “bro” were excitedly yelled more times than I could count. I looked around to see the reactions of my fellow bystanders, and it was just as one might suspect — a mix of eye-rolling, head-shaking and annoyed grimaces. Quite a few people, myself included, walked further down the platform to avoid being stuck in a car with the frat boys.
On both of these trips, one thing that caught my eye in a couple of the stations was the mosaics. The Prince Street. station has little tile scenes of commuters going to and fro, some walking up stairs, others holding umbrellas or suit cases. The 8th Street-NYU station has large, colorful, circular mosaics of various scenes. Given the fact that the subway platforms are not the most visually striking places in a city filled with so many beautiful sights, I appreciate that the city attempted to spruce up the one place so many of us spend time in every day of our lives.
Now, if they could just do something about the G train stations…