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A New York Slice of America, July 3: 128 Riders United

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A New York Slice of America, July 3: 128 Riders United

NEW YORK TIMES

July 4, 2008

 

04subway_500.jpg

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

A woman, squeezed in between her fellow passengers on the Q train, put on her earrings.

 

THE R68A subway car is shiny and modern-looking, with seats in two shades of orange — few of which can be glimpsed when the car is crowded. And the second-to-last R68A of the (Q) train that pulled out of DeKalb Avenue at 8:27 a.m. on Thursday felt near capacity.

 

There would be no four-day holiday weekends, it seemed, for the 128 passengers in this car.

 

As the train went over the Manhattan Bridge, few riders looked up from their books or newspapers or iPods or private thoughts or even their dreams to see, to the south, through the bridge’s riveted girders, the Statue of Liberty in the haze of a hot summer morning.

 

Is it nearly impossible to take a single authoritative snapshot of New York City’s population, to freeze it in place, to discover and list all the different people who live here. Or were born here. Or who came here in search of success, or family, or to escape misery. Each block is different, from Park Avenue to Parkside Avenue, from the East Village to Eastchester — each is its own little city, with its own evolving ethnic mixture, its own traditions.

 

But if there is no perfect way to take that snapshot, then there are certainly worse ways than to catalogue the people in that car of the 8:27 a.m. (Q)There would be no four-day holiday weekends, it seemed, for the 128 passengers in this car.

 

As the train went over the Manhattan Bridge, few riders looked up from their books or newspapers or iPods or private thoughts or even their dreams to see, to the south, through the bridge’s riveted girders, the Statue of Liberty in the haze of a hot summer morning.

 

Is it nearly impossible to take a single authoritative snapshot of New York City’s population, to freeze it in place, to discover and list all the different people who live here. Or were born here. Or who came here in search of success, or family, or to escape misery. Each block is different, from Park Avenue to Parkside Avenue, from the East Village to Eastchester — each is its own little city, with its own evolving ethnic mixture, its own traditions.

 

But if there is no perfect way to take that snapshot, then there are certainly worse ways than to catalogue the people in that car of the 8:27 a.m. (Q) train in the middle of the Manhattan Bridge, to learn who they are, and how they happened to be there. And there are certainly worse days to publish it in the newspaper than the Fourth of July.

 

And so six reporters and four photographers from The New York Times set out early on Thursday to capture the intricate human mosaic sharing one journey in one R68A, high above Brooklyn and Manhattan, with the skyscrapers and a little green statue out the windows.

 

In all, 99 people were interviewed — not everyone in the car, but a large cross section of this captive population. In this proudly unscientific approach, riders were asked what they did for a living, where they were born, how long they had lived in New York. Some were interviewed in more depth. Twenty-nine were not interviewed, for various reasons, including four who were asleep. They were not disturbed.

 

To look at all the homelands, all the ages, all the professions collected in that car is to see — as much as is possible — New York City in the summer of 2008, everyone traveling together across the Manhattan Bridge. train in the middle of the Manhattan Bridge, to learn who they are, and how they happened to be there. And there are certainly worse days to publish it in the newspaper than the Fourth of July.

 

And so six reporters and four photographers from The New York Times set out early on Thursday to capture the intricate human mosaic sharing one journey in one R68A, high above Brooklyn and Manhattan, with the skyscrapers and a little green statue out the windows.

 

In all, 99 people were interviewed — not everyone in the car, but a large cross section of this captive population. In this proudly unscientific approach, riders were asked what they did for a living, where they were born, how long they had lived in New York. Some were interviewed in more depth. Twenty-nine were not interviewed, for various reasons, including four who were asleep. They were not disturbed.

 

To look at all the homelands, all the ages, all the professions collected in that car is to see — as much as is possible — New York City in the summer of 2008, everyone traveling together across the Manhattan Bridge.

 

(Q) Train Slide Show: nytimes_logo.gif icon_offsite.png - February 2, 2008

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:P

that picture is kinda how the E looks like during rush hours...if its a good day lol

 

Basically.

 

I hope they do more stuff like that. One of my favorite quotes (which i can't get the exact wording of) states that natives are jaded and take everything the city has for granted. One ride from terminal to terminal on each line will show you this, as the more residential areas have people trying to ignore everything, whereas the more tourist-centric areas are filled with people talking about this and that. It isn't 1980 anymore, people will not come on the train to bother you, open your eyes & your mind. You might just see something you don't have to report to the (MTA).

 

- Andy

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