Meet the Subway People

This is a stream of accidental images and encounters describing the people I see in the New York City subway. I will keep updating it.

Comments are welcome. Stories are even more welcome. Add them as comments and I’ll append them to the main file.

A 300 pound guy and a 100 pound girl are holding each other hands.
And gazing at each other tenderly. Good luck guys.

A plastic butterfly rides the black girl’s sunglasses.
Like Benigni in Night on Earth, driving a cab at night.
Nice boobs though.

Fashionable holes on fashionable jeans.
Mosquitoes’ favorite.

A fat old Jewish guy with a long white beard and a bald head covered by a large warm yarmulke is slouching on a seat across me. He is reading a red and white Torah in Royal Folio size.

A fat young Jewish guy with a shorter brown beard and long hair covered by a small black yarmulke is slouching on a seat ten feet away. He is reading a Torah that’s the size of an iPhone.

A padded jaunty bouncy butt of a Santa Claus. Girls must like it.

The guy looks like a cross between a young Dalai Lama and a Bruce Lee. His son squirms on a seat next to him, a toddler in a blue T-shirt with a Superman logo. A fifty year old man in a red Turkish hat embroidered in gold stands nearby, with an iPhone in his hand. The squirmy kid keeps looking at the iPhone longingly. The guy smiles and gives it to the child. The kid takes the iPhone in two chubby little hands and starts carefully scrolling through pictures on screen with one finger. The dad spots him, but the kid operates the phone quite confidently.

Conventional pediatric wisdom says that children master small muscle control after age five. Welcome to the age of Apple devices. Good-bye conventional wisdom.

The guy is 6’5″ and built like a sumo wrestler. He is explaining to his kid how to spell the word ‘wrong’. He is carefully enunciating every sound with his heavy Brooklyn accent, “R, O, N, G”. The guy’s wife, a petite woman with sharp features is standing behind him. Her shoulder length hair is plaited in Egyptian pharaoh style. She looks at her husband broad back with love and exasperation. Unlike him, she knows how to spell ‘rong’. I try to keep a straight face.

As I pass her on my way out, I realize that, at 5’8″, she is only one inch shorter then me and she is quite solidly built. She only looks petite next to the huge bulk of her husband.

A immaculately groomed middle-aged guy in a Prada woolen jacket and very square shaped glasses is playing a game console, leaning it against an upper hold bar. His Doom style character is running among some stone labyrinth shooting guns, rockets and lasers, leaving behind smoking ruins and shattered enemies. A beautiful teenage girl looks at the guy with confusion, “When will he grow up?”

A woman in her sixties is sitting across Yvonne and me. It is immediately evident to me that she is Russian. I ask Yvonne, “Why?”

Yvonne looks at the woman. “It’s because she is dressed like a Russian,” Yvonne rolls her eyes at my lack of visual-analytical skills and explains, “They always dress like a baked potato. Look, she is wearing a round heavy brown coat with a frilly opening, just like a potato would open. And, it’s always the same dark color. The floppy squashable round hat with a flower attached to it is the topping”.

The woman pinches her lips suspiciously. She knows that the world is up to no good.

As I am getting into the last door of a last car on A train at 181st, I hear a desperate voice calling from the top of the stairs, “Hold the door please”. I obligingly hold the door with my foot. A man rushes in, carrying his daughter in one hand and balancing a drink on a pizza box in another hand. As the train starts, they devour the pizza. The girl is just as hungry as her dad, but she demonstrates decisively better manners.

I walk down the train and start counting. Twenty nine people are riding this train car and twenty six are wearing coats and jackets in various shades of black. Has somebody died? Three people wear gray and only one (your humble servant) is wearing a coat in bright happy green.

I have to admit though that white, yellow and red scarves help somewhat.

Twenty six people are sitting in the next train car. Everyone (including me) wears pants of mud blue, dark blue, gray and black. The only exception is a young teenage black girl in reddish pink pants and a purple jacket. Go girl!

A Asian couple is standing on a platform with their backs towards each other staring with angry defiance into space. Are the preparing for the last stand against an overwhelming enemy? Or, did they just have a family quarrel?

Guys, have some decency. If you’re overdosed on pot, don’t top it off with mushrooms. Incessant high pitch giggles don’t go well with glassy unfocused eyes. Oh well, at least they look like a happily married couple. And, three little red pompoms on her left knee are bouncing quite prettily as she is lurching her way towards the gates.

A cylinder five feet and eight inches high and 3 feet in diameter is wrapped in a brown fake fur coat. A underwear-thin pink pleated skirt hem coquettishly covers Mary Jane shoes.

A tall generously proportioned black girl is standing on the edge of the platform. She is wearing a black coat over black tights. A five inch thick fat roll runs along her back. Faded black cursive script on brown skin introduces Danielle.

It’s late on Christmas Eve and three young couples are asleep in the front section of a subway car. A white girl is resting her head on a white boy’s shoulder. A black girl is resting her head on a white boy’s shoulder. And, a white boy is resting his head on a white boy’s shoulder. Oh, these sweet broad shoulders of white boys.

My favorite preacher is bringing the word of Jesus to the uncaring subway public. He is a fifty year old bulky black guy in loose pants and a red jacket. His big belly hangs over his pants and it wobbles a bit every time he loudly exclaims,” Jeeeezus is the Lord!” Below is his discourse on comparative religion.

“You always hear people use word Jesus as a curse word. They never use Allah or Buddha as a curse word, but only Jesus. That’s the difference between Jesus and all them that other gods. Because, if them the other gods were important, you would hear people cursing with them. But, they don’t. Because Jesus loves you.”

Credo quia absurdum.

Bottichelli’s Venus walked out of Mediterranean sea, covered her body with winter clothing and stepped into an A train car. Her long wavy hair darkened slightly in the winter. An elaborately wrapped grey cashmere scarf provides a perfect transition from the unblemished skin of her elongated neck to the black wool of her coat. Her face is serene and her eyes are closed. She is dreaming about the sea, waves, shells, fishes, and tropical sun.

A poster on a train car suggests “a gift idea #3” for a girl to give her boyfriend – pig butchering classes at the Meat Hook in Williamsburg. A foot and a half long meat cleaver with a pink bow tied around the wooden handle is decorating the poster.
One hundred fifty years ago, squealing hordes of pigs were driven into New York every morning, towards meaty butchers with heavy knives and their blood stained shops. Tomorrow, a metrosexual boy with thin wrists will tie an apron over his Cashmere sweater and sink a sharp blade down a pig’s gullet.


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