The subway system in New York is the great unifier. It’s the only place in the city where people from all walks of life, with entirely different destinations, and not one word to say to one another are in a pretty intimate space. It’s not just complaining about train delays that bring people together, however. According to photographer Ourit Ben-Haim, it’s the worlds we escape to in a good book on those trains that brings us together as well.
Ben-Haim loves reading and she loves seeing others read. There’s something magical about a person engrossed in a good book. The image was inspiring enough that in 2008 Ben-Haim snapped a photo of a person reading on the subway with her cell phone camera and it spawned a project that’s been going on for years and now has a huge following of people who check daily for more. The idea is simple, but it captures so much about Ben-Haim’s subjects, and about New York itself.
Love it or hate it, the subway system in New York is still the cheapest and easiest way for anyone to get around town. MetroCard prices have been on the rise for years with not a whole lot of improvement on the trains themselves. Even catching a train in Manhattan can take what seems like forever when 5 minute waits turn into 20 minute waits. Forget Brooklyn and Queens. Pack some food and a small survival kit because you may never get back to the outer boroughs if you’re relying on one train. We’ve come to love and rely on our subway system, despite it’s shortcomings, but it would be great to know if or when we could give up on one train and catch another.
There are only two retail spaces left in Grand Central Terminal, and for the first time in 25 years, they are up for grabs. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced this week that they are making two sizable new spots available for restaurants.
One space is roughly 12,000 square-feet and located on the west side of Vanderbilt Hall. The marble floors used to serve as the waiting room and has been used for special events.
The other section that will be available for lease is the area above the Grand Central Market. The 4,700 square-foot space that is currently being used for storage will become a place where diners can enjoy a meal and a view from the balcony looking over the market.
If you're ever bored or feel like life is getting dull, all you really need to do is trek down into the dark, murky halls of the New York City subway system a.k.a the Pit of Hell. Here, all walks of life come together. It's one of the few places where there are no barriers of status. The Wall Street guy rolls right along next to the homeless guy, all packed into one steel cage of potential madness. While most commutes go off without a hitch, we've all had our fair share of "unusual" experiences --sometimes entertaining, other times flat out scary. We're not sure what the deal is, but stuff goes on down there that you don't normally see in the streets. From crooners to gregarious rats, to the shoe-licking, inebriated, or masterbating creeps, the subway is the ultimate freakshow. Move over Coney Island, you ain't got nothin' on this...
Thank goodness for Youtube. And rats. And subways. And NYC. And Gothamist for linking this video today of a sleeping man on the subway literally getting a rat face alarm clock. The video was posted back in January, and has made its rounds. But like any other pivotal moment in history, we're happy to resurrect it and relive the glory days. This oughta chase away your Monday blues.
Listen. We love culture as much as the next guy. The editors here at Joonbug enjoy rolling out of bed at noon on a Saturday (or one, or two) and heading to our favorite fine art institution. But we are not about to waste our hard-earned weekends on New York tourist traps. And as it turns out, staring at paintings is a favorite activity of the Times Square-loving, Ray's Famous Pizza-eating, crisp white tennis shoe-wearing museumgoers...so the MoMA and Guggenheim will have to wait. Rather than shelling out to bump shoulders with a stroller-toting family of four, consider some of these exhibits that have been happily forgotten by the fannypack crowd:
The moment every New Yorker has been either anticipating or dreading has arrived: cell phone service may slowly make its way into the subway system starting next week. AT&T and T-Mobile customers will have reception on their phones at four stations in Chelsea starting Tuesday. Verizon customers will have to wait and see.
Service will be available in all areas of the train stations and even inside trains. Tunnels, however, are still a no-service area. According to the New York Times:
Musician Alexander Chen has created a musical piece inspired by the New York subway system’s map. The project’s aim was to turn the subway map itself into a string instrument based on the train’s schedules. The trains trigger the pluck of a chord. This quickly becomes a chorus of sound as the different lines begin and end their journeys across the boroughs.
The speed and length of the line’s movement is set by the duration of the train’s scheduled run. That is, the schedule used in 1972. Seasoned straphangers may be happy to know that the trains running in Chen’s piece are on the weekday schedule. Of note is the simplistic design, which looks very different from the maps at our local stations today. Chen used the aesthetically pleasing and minimalist design of Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 subway map as the base for his project. Some train lines that don’t even exist any more are featured and run as ghost trains between 12:00am to 2:00am.
All aboard. Hogwarts Express is now leaving from New York’s 14th Street Union Square Station. The 9 ¾ symbol appeared on the 14th St. Union Square subway sign Sunday night. The marker is in the MTA standard fashion of any NY subway line.
For anyone who is not a Harry Potter fan or doesn’t know the significance of the magical 9 ¾ number, it is the platform for students traveling to the magical academy, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Students would search for the portal, which is an enchanted brick wall, and charge the wall at full speed. They would end up on the other side’s platform packed with wand-wielding witches and wizards.
The MTA has announced that cell phone service will be making a landmark entrance into the New York City Subway System. Stations in Chelsea will be the first to receive the massive upgrade, with all stations joining in by 2016. Along the 6th Avenue Line, the new plan will service the 14th Street Station with connections available to the F, L, and M trains. On 8th Avenue, the 14th Street and 23rd Street A, C, E stations will be wired along with the 14th Street and 7th Avenue Station service local and express trains on the 1, 2, and 3 lines.