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MTR Admiralty

How did the subway impact your life?

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Other than being a commuter everyday, the subway is an integral part of me since I grew up with it. My current block has a subway station entrance and when I was young, many times my family would go uptown on the F to say 34th Street. The subway is not just the subway, for me back then, it was the portal to a more sophisticated world. I had a rather humble beginning during my early years in New York, I did not know much then and the city was still foreign to me. Chinatown was just Chinatown, nothing special. Most of the folks speak the same language; life was so uniform and monotonous there. Everything was set on the same beat. However, just several stops on the F train would take my family to 34th Street-Herald Square, a shopper's paradise. Thousands of people would rush around down the street. It was amazement and wonder for me as a child then. It was so cosmopolitan compared my laid back provincial settings.

 

My dad and I would take frequent trips on weekends around the city. We would travel to places like the Rockaways, Coney Island, Flushing, Pelham Bay, Jamaica... all via train. After my dad would drop in the token, we would head downstairs, ride on the train and perhaps would need to make the necessary transfers. A few minutes later, the train would burst into the outside, showering the entire car and its occupants with light. For a five year old like me then, it was full of wonder. I would sit in that window seat full of excitement and impatient to get up and watch over the world from the train. I had no regard for the activity occurring within the train, had no regard for what the other passengers were doing... I was just so into watching my little view.. of skyscrapers, of trees, of tombstones, of the water, of the houses, of the endless slums...

 

No matter how excellent or horrible the trips actually were, the subway has showed me New York. All of its characters were introduced to me; the schoolboys, gangsters, white-collars, garment workers, preachers, con-men, tourists, teachers, homeless people and people like me, people who are just into developing a firm bond with the subway and would actually sit back and enjoy the ride. Most of its lands were shown to me, above or below ground. From the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side, from Flushing to Ridgewood, from Bronx to Brooklyn, the subway takes me everywhere I want in the city.

 

Here I am 10 odd years later, looking back at my past and typing in this box. As I look back, I wonder, how has the subway impact me? Why am I not the regular teenager who doesn't give a damn about the subway? Perhaps it is due to my long bond with the system. And lastly, without the subway, I would not be writing in this box either! While I am not planning for a transit-related career in the future, I do hope that the subway will continue to influence and change the lives of many individuals in New York.

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Simply put, it isn't only the subway's impact on my personal life, it is the historical impact that the mass transportation network in general has had on New York City. I love the subways because of that. The subway brings people together, people who otherwise might not have ever mixed with each other, and that is as powerful as any other factor in contributing to the idea of New York City, as well as the zeitgeist of being in the city in this particular time period.

 

I have always felt like something of an outsider, because I was the only person among my group of friends who went to College in New York City; most people went off to a small private school, or to one of the SUNYs, but I went off to Hunter, which I love for many of the same reasons that I love the subway system, the diversity of all of the people. While Yonkers is pretty diverse and has quite an interesting history (the Putnam Railroad, anyone?), the City is really where "it's all at" and I have an entire network at my hand to explore in front of me, all for $2, which is quite remarkable. I love all of the nuances of the system, and I love to imagine people throughout its history, what they would have been thinking as they traveled along the same tracks as I do presently.

 

I suppose I often personify the system, because I visualize the spreading of rails as a sort of beacon to people, an advertisement for the City itself and for all of the opportunities (and sometimes even a lack thereof) in the area. I am always struck by how neighborhoods developed so quickly when rapid transit was available. It is so fascinating that I am planning to make the study of railroading history in the Metropolitan area one of my concentrations when I go to Graduate School. I would love to get a job with the (MTA) one day, but I am pretty sure there are not many job opportunities for said prospective railroad historians. :) Oh well, that doesn't dampen my love for the system.

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Ever since I was born I loved trains. I was so mesmerized by large vehicles on rails in an intricate network. I really loved the elevated trains. I remember railfanning the M1's on the LIRR to Penn Station on Sunday trips to my late grandfather's house.

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I always had a love for trains especially express trains.....from growing up on the Brighton Line (D) and (Q6), Lexignton Avenue Line (4)(5)(6), riding the Redbirds. Riding the yellow (D) via Broadway and going over the Manhattan Bridge. I love it then and I love it now.....riding the subway makes me want to live in New York City even more and watch how the development of other lines will expand and more stations will be added!

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The subway has been an interesting way to get around. I grew up watching the R68 and R68A cars on the (D) and <Q> or (Q) which was in fact a (Q6). Riding it with my parents, sometimes it was hard to tell the difference between (D) and (Q6) from far away, because they looked like letter O. The R68As on the (D) were awesome, but then came 1995, and the R68As on the (D) were disappearing, and the (Q6) had some bunches. I first recieved my subway map from my dad with the service changes

 

(:)(D) trains did not go south of 34th Street in Manhattan.

 

(Q6) was replaced by the (Q) and served all what was then (D) stops in Brooklyn, ran local via Broadway, via Montague Street tunnel to 21 Street Queensbridge.

 

A second (B) route ran only as a West End Shuttle between Pacific Street and Coney Island.

 

I would spend days just reading that map because it was that interesting.

Nowadays, I have lots of maps, some dating back to the late 90's, well I don't have that 1995 map anymore. The Subways were great when the redbirds were around, but now the NTT cars are even better!

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The subway has been an interesting way to get around. I grew up watching the R68 and R68A cars on the (D) and <Q> or (Q) which was in fact a (Q6). Riding it with my parents, sometimes it was hard to tell the difference between (D) and (Q6) from far away, because they looked like letter O. The R68As on the (D) were awesome, but then came 1995, and the R68As on the (D) were disappearing, and the (Q6) had some bunches. I first recieved my subway map from my dad with the service changes

 

(:)(D) trains did not go south of 34th Street in Manhattan.

 

(Q6) was replaced by the (Q) and served all what was then (D) stops in Brooklyn, ran local via Broadway, via Montague Street tunnel to 21 Street Queensbridge.

 

A second (B) route ran only as a West End Shuttle between Pacific Street and Coney Island.

 

I would spend days just reading that map because it was that interesting.

Nowadays, I have lots of maps, some dating back to the late 90's, well I don't have that 1995 map anymore. The Subways were great when the redbirds were around, but now the NTT cars are even better!

 

i remember all that, the 1995 Manhattan Bridge reconstruction. i personally thought R68As should have stayed on the (D) and R68s on the (N)(Q). idk why they changed the cars like that

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Imagine one place where all your memories have their start. From your seventh grade crush to crying because you'll never be what someone wanted, from rushing to high school to coming home from college...they all center somehow around the 6 train.

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The subways tought me about life. Take it easy on the turns, don't push it or you might derail. Go fast when you get the chance. Take what the rails give you. On the subway I learned how a baby was born, I learned how a baby was made.. Back then I thought they was fighting over a seat.

Edited by Orion

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As much as i like riding the subway, it has made me late for 10 trains. One time in fact i didn't trust it enough to get me there in time, so i ran the 10 blocks from nyp at 33rd street to 43rd st to say goodbye to my girlfriend on her birthday. On the way back i took the subway ((2)) and had 3 minutes to spare.

 

So yea, my life has been affected by the subway both negatively & positively. B)

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Take it easy on the turns, don't push it or you might derail. Go fast when you get the chance. Take what the rails give you.

 

That is a golden quote you've stated, Orion! :tup:

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