The loneliness of the NYC subway rider


I’d forgotten how much I love to ride the subway.  When I first moved to Manhattan back in 1960, the subway was 10 cents a ride.  And I’d often be on it in the middle of the night (I was young) and not be afraid.  Then there were years when it was not a fun ride but things are changing here now, it seems.  It is still a busy, crowded city, maybe even more so, but in many ways, much friendlier.

I often bring a book and forget to read it; the people are so fascinating to watch.  The subway system has been dramatically upgraded even since my last visit here.  It’s easier to know where you are in the system and where you are going and when to get off the train at the right stop.  The announcer on the loud speaker not only tells you what station you are approaching, what the next stop will be but also, that it is important to give your seat to pregnant women, to the elderly and to the infirm.  Courtesy, he says, breeds courtesy.  And indeed, it does.  The general tone of the city is much softer than I remember.