One of my favorite things about New York is the subway.Full disclosure: I am a huge supporter of any and all sorts of public transportation, but especially when it is as extensive and regular as this city’s 656 mile transport line.
A few facts to make you proud:
-It is the most extensive public transportation system in the world by number of stations, with 468 stations in operation
-One of the world's oldest public transit systems--the first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904
-By annual ridership, it is the busiest rapid transit rail system in the United States and 7th in the world.
Yes, there are some disadvantages to riding the subway, privacy being among them, and perhaps I am romanticizing living in NYC a bit, but I love pretty much everything about the subway. The satisfaction of swiping my card and being given admission to ride as far north as the Bronx and as far south as Coney Island for only $2.50. The independance of being car-less but having access to all five boroughs almost 24 hours a day. A car full of people from just about every walk of life heading to dozens of different destinations.
At the beginning of the summer, I would often bring a book before heading out the door, but now instead, I mostly look around and observe. I see the father with his young daughter reassuring her on her first subway ride, “It’s ok, it gets really full sometimes, just hold onto me.” The women holding two dozen balloons, going to a birthday party (?) or the two incredible loud British teenagers telling the whole car what they did this weekend or the amazing rockabilly band cheerfully and expertly playing classic rock-and-roll, all these people and their lives somehow intersecting with mine, even if its only for one stop.
It reminds me of Sunday morning worship. A place where no matter where we call home, what labels we or others give us, or however long we stay, has the potential to bring us into communication with people we never would have thought we would meet. It also brings our life story with the stories of our faith ancestors: carpenters, kings and queens, and a little boy who gives up his lunch to help feed a crowd. It’s pretty amazing what can happen in one hour.