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My first month in New York City: The Subway

One day after long hours working at a cafe, I turn to the door to start my journey back home, when suddenly I feel how I am attacked by a wave of heat I could barely breathe and felt nausea. I suppose the effect of the air conditioning inside the cafe and the ambient heat shock me.

A few hours later when to a pharmacy to buy a Pepto-Bismol, until then I began to recover the color in my face. My self-diagnosed conclusion as a doctor that I’m not, was that probably I was getting used to the food and water of New York City.

Maybe wasn’t the cause, but I found it a good introduction to begin to tell my story about my first month living in New York.

There are so many stories that I don’t know where to start.

Maybe I should start my sordid adventures in the subway of New York.

Uptown or Dowtown, if it is local or express, weekends that line is out of service, at nights is out of service, must grab an alternative line, some lines are closed for maintenance, announcing changes that you can barely hear through speakers, but most of the times you are just simply a newbie in the subway of New York City.

I always feel proud to adapt easily to the use of public transportation in new cities. But this month has been an exception, I had never lost so much as in this city. But I guess is a way how the city welcomes new people, I say this because apparently several people that already have been living here for a while went through the same thing, so I don’t feel so embarrassed now.

The metro is definitely an experience in New York City. It is the most efficient way to reach any destination in Manhattan, Queens, Bronx and Brooklyn.

Within the metro you can hear all kinds of languages. Here a list of the most common languages that I have heard in the subway in New York; English, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, French, Korean, at least which I can differentiate.

One occasion I saw a group of 6 teenage boys were walking between each car, bringing a big radio with hip-hop music and doing a little choreography between the tubes of the subway, kinda urban hip-hop style dance poll.

Another day I heard an asian lady screaming to another asian lady that got off the train, and the one that stands inside the train start saying something in mandarin but with a very intense discussion. Then another random asian man began to say something to this lady in mandarin but like screaming and laughing. Then another asian couple joins the conversation-discussion. Then all asian people got off the next metro station and people who we were clearly not asian thinking “What just happened here!!!” Because we did not understand a word of what they were discussing, it was very unique.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people doesn’t offer seats very often. I mean, in Guadalajara it is an unwritten rule that a pregnant woman or with child would be referred to offer a seat. Maybe I’ve been on 5 situations in which 3 are not offered a seat. But perhaps the context is different, because twice I being denied to offer help to down stairs to mothers with stroller or girls with suitcases. They are friendly, not get me wrong, but I guess they are very independent, I have no idea, but it is something that surprises me.

Also there are posters announcing to be aware of the platform train, where the statistics says that every years they’re 50 deaths because people to get to close to the train when is arriving. So suddenly I get nervous when I see people walking on the yellow lines that mark the edge of the platform.

But surely what I love about traveling in the New York subway is to watch people traveling in it. Curiously, depending on the area where you are, you’ll find the clothes and color of people are different. It feels like you traveled to several countries in one wagon. I love seeing the different features of origin of each person, each with its own essence of beauty, it very unique and makes me wonder what are their jobs? where are they come from?, what’s their story?.

Some facts*:

  • Metro users: 11’855,900
* Forbes New York, NY

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