Tuesday, September 11, 2018






New York underground Metro rail network is more than 100 years old. Platforms are not air conditioned or air cooled.. As per Newspaper reports, it is difficult to do air-conditioning of the platforms presently for so many practical reasons. Accordingly , it is a  little unpleasant experience to wait for Trains at Metro Stations in hot and humid summers especially in the months of July and August .The intermittent thud of the wheels created by the speeding train( as it moves over the rails ) is loud and too much . But the trains run promptly and about 4.5 million people ride Metro trains every day . This traffic gets halved on Sundays. This Subway or Metro network connects Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn through what is known as Rapid Transport System that operates almost round the clock everyday. The elevators installed at stations have provision of carrying physically challenged( in Wheelchairs) and infants( in trolleys . While you can travel all over the City for just $2.75 a ride, the size of the subway system can be   frightening for Newcomers to the city . Panic  not: As a matter of fact,    it is quite easy and simple .And   MTA run buses and Trains have a common Metro Card that can be easily recharged on machines installed at Subway  stations or may I help You counters at the entrance to  Platforms  .  On the machine , You can  recharge Metro Card by Cash or using   credit  Card  payment mode .

Apart from Buses, Cabs  , Subway  is the  most visible , Robust, Affordable, Convenient and fast Public Transport System in New York.


Subway/ Metro  advertising puts message right in front of you  when you are actually   in need of a distraction.  These advertisements target the  captive audience   comprising   of Students, Householders  , Office goers , Workers   and Tourists.  You can not escape looking at the Advertisements /  Billboards . These are before you while you are waiting for the train to arrive . These are in front of  you while you sit  inside the train. These  billboards are  in front of your eyes  as  or you move  out of a Subway Station . The advertisements/  Bill boards  inside Subway stations and  Trains  ( Meant for Aggressive Marketing )  reflect the prevailing  socio Economic Reality of the Country .  I read  something like this :

“ Diamonds may Not be always for ever.  For Divorce / Bankruptcy Call us ….. “

“ This winter help a homeless  …Call us ………..”

“ If you see something… Say something …   Dial ……”

“ Health care at Lowest premiums …. Call us  

“ Parents need time to be with Newborn kids . Paid Childcare  leave is  a birthright …. ”

I didn’t see Political advertisements in Subway Trains or stations . I also didn’t see any liquor or Cigarette advertisement .


As you step down from any avenue or street corner to enter the subway platform, you may find some person stretching his hand at you saying:

" Any Change ? "


" Can you spare a Dollar sir? "

He may be on the Staircase steps or near the entry gate where you swipe your Metro card.

So many singers with Recorded music played in the background occupy busy and convenient places on the platforms.They perform in Solo or in a group. They attract your  attention apart from provoking many commuters to dance and pay anything they deem suitable.

Then you have simple beggars who toss up coins held in glass. These beggers generally move from person to person in a moving train or they may be on the footpath near the subway entry . And you may also listen something like this:

" Good day guys. I got two dollars. My evening meal costs six dollars. Would any gentleman give me just four dollars to let me sleep with food ? I welcome change or coins to make up my shortage. My big big worry fight tonight's hunger. Any gracious sir. Jesus bless him. Jesus bless all. Jesus great provider through many good people sitting here. You bro ,you sis, you my Indian sir . Anything will do." And he moves to next car of the speeding train.

You find another group of young acrobats who perform in moving trains. These acrobats will suddenly appear as you board a metro train and make yourself comfortable .

Quite often you observe that someone has placed a deck type recorded music player on full pitch in the train . And then as the train starts, A boy suddenly starts break dancing like Michael Jackson. He moves close to your legs. Afraid, You pull yourself in and move towards the window. He then hangs himself on the steel bar over your head and dances. Quite often with one hand . If there is a little miscalculation on his part, he may land up on your head.This looks strange and risky . Some commuters smile while a few make frowny faces but everybody keeps a watch on his movements. He makes strange body movements as if he was flying in the air.This all he does for a few minutes and then asks for money. As the train comes to halt , he moves to another train with his music system.

Another fellow may come and say something like this :

" I Earnest Tobo. I teach now retire. I know all history and politics of African American, Native and the European People. Ask any question i got answer. "

‌Suddenly ,he may move towards a row of commuters sitting on their seats and starts pointing towards individual travellers . He says :

" Your name william, your name Roger, your name Charles, your name Susan, your Philips, your Margret ,your jack, your Ricardo and you last Daniel. I close my eyes. I dance and i twist. But i remember all your names. I remember because jesus give these names to you not me. You all deserve his love and blessing. He make me remember. Hey you william just one dollar , you bro roger just dollar or change, you great prince Charles just 50 cents, you sis Susan help your hungry bro to eat, my great Philips sir your friend hungry , O you Margret , Jack, Ricardo , Daniel just pool one dollar together. Jesus be kind to you ."

And he moves to next metro car.

“Yes i don’t like all that action right in front of my face and quite often close to my body. I need to remain careful till this show goes on.. What can else can you do? ”

said a commuter to me.

A dancing acrobat told me:

"Sir we don’t  force anybody pay . Watch free .We here entertain and make a living . We also put a kinda little friendly mood in New York’s No Lookin No Talkin Metro travel .We invite you for lookin at us and enjoy. we make you lookin each other and smile. You getin me sir. People share  smile or  laugh watching us. That make travel happy."

You may enjoy the performers or just ignore them but they keep you on alert. Many passengers resent becoming a captive audience for the acrobats and break-dancers in a crowded subway car.

If the beggars do nothing offensive, The acrobat dancers (even if highly skilled ) create a risk to themselves and to the public on a moving metro train car that shakes, sways and jolts as it moves. I personally didn't find any special entertainment value in what they were doing except creating a safety risk for passengers by turning, tossing, somersaulting and pole-dancing in crowded metro cars.

(AVtar Mota)

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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