In late August, I hit my ten-year mark as a New Yorker. I think I had been here about five years when I thought I had seen it all, but another year or two after that, I realized that you really can't see it all. Not here, at least. Maybe one can see it all in Billings, Montana. I should go there and find out. Anyway. Several times in the last month, I have found myself starting sentences with "in my ten years in New York, I've never..." and finishing them with "...until now!" One of those sentences told the tale of a crazy guy on the subway and an unfortunate episode involving his pants, but I won't go into further detail about that. But the non-crazy guy highlights have been:
1. Being in a retail store on Black Friday. I work in the advertising department for one of the largest stores in the country, and our corporate offices are built on top of the flagship store. As the new person, I didn't have the luxury of taking the day off, so I was thrust into the chaos, even if it was just for a few minutes to get my coffee at the Starbucks on 5 before heading to the office. It was packed beyond reason, but while I had imagined the crowds to act like the Muppets in times of panic or celebration (screaming, throwing chickens, set pieces falling down and Janice talking about nudity during a lull), they were surprisingly well-mannered, and no chickens were injured.
2. Being on a subway train when a rider pulled the emergency brake. I mean, come on, it's right there, vulnerable and unencased and just begging for someone to pull that little red handle and bring the train to a screeching halt during morning rush hour. Or, there really was a hideous emergency and it was somebody's only choice. I don't know because the MTA doesn't like us to be aware of the reasons for delays beyond the bare facts: "Ladies and gentlemen, this train is delayed because it isn't moving right now." or "Ladies and gentlemen, due to an event at a location, things are happening. We will begin moving in a time. If you see something, say something, but not right now." So I delved into Angry Birds and let the MTA Secret Service do its work.
3. The best of the three! Riding an old-timey subway train! I've heard rumors of this wonder the entire time I've lived here, but it's on a line I've never ridden regularly, and only on Sundays in December, and randomly. It just sort of appears. Below is a photo of the outside, because my pictures of the inside didn't do justice to the charm: 50s-era print ads, including one for the upcoming Miss Subways pageant, red seats, and ceiling fans, you guys! I mean, yeah, modern subways are all air conditioned and whatnot, but I'd kinda like them to bring back the ceiling fans, if for no other reason that to make the flip in the Show Time hip-hop act a little more interesting*.
*nobody who doesn't ride the New York City subway on a regular basis has any idea what this means. I apologize, and invite you to come find out.