O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

Random Thoughts on the 1 Train

Letting the train take the strain in New York is utterly distracting

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Kelsey Osgood, Editor, NYC for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2008
Another New York City mystery: cab drivers are always on their cell phones. Who are they talking to?
by Kelsey Osgood, Editor, NYC for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2008
Another New York City mystery: cab drivers are always on their cell phones. Who are they talking to?

14th Street and 6th Avenue station:
Whenever I swipe my card and the machine says, "TOO FAST SWIPE AGAIN", I think, "What? Can't handle it?!?!"

Underpass from 6th to 7th Avenue:
Fat homeless people?

Another New York City mystery: cab drivers are always on their cell phones. Who are they talking to? My friend asks, "Each other?" I've considered that possibility as well.

Hocking loogies in the underpass: okay or not?

14th Street and 7th Avenue:
The girl standing next to me is wearing flip flops adorned with a bunch of alarmingly realistic-looking green grapes. I'm hungry.
(Their resemblance to real, juicy grapes is negated by the sad little cardboard butterflies on top.)

23rd Street:
This is my favorite street. I always want to get off here.

42nd Street, Times Square:
Is it a good idea to have one advertisement in all the spots in one car? I guess it makes sense. Bombard them with one image and they'll want it. Last summer, when I had to take the shuttle most every day from Grand Central to Times Square, they had some promotion for tourism in Costa Rica or Belize, I forget. Each car was covered in a different natural scene. One car was all blue and you felt like you were underwater; there were fish pasted right above people's heads and seaweed that rose toward the ceiling. This car was my favorite and I always tried to make it in there (I usually did). The other two cars were rainforest (second favorite) and a snowy mountaintop view. On second thought, maybe the ads were for an airline. Needless to say, it was the highlight of my summer.

50th Street:
"Really smart idea, guys, let's check the train during rush hour. Jeez."
Rush hour is actually more like eight to nine, asshole.

Kazuo Ishiguro is my new writing spirit guide.

66th Street:
A waft of something that smells like a boy I used to love reaches my nostrils, but when I turn and look at the man sitting next to me he is tiny, Hispanic and maybe forty-five, fifty years old.

79th Street:
I get off at the next stop and I still haven't reached any major conclusions in this faux-essay, philosophical or otherwise.

Is that guy staring at me? Does he think I'm pretty? Is there something on my face? Or is he judging me based on what I'm reading? (The Paris Review. Thank God he didn't see me earlier when it was People.)

86th Street:
Here I go!

see more stories from outsideleft's Culture archive »»

Kelsey Osgood
Editor, NYC

NY editor, Kelsey's interests include eavesdropping, thaumaturgy, Pick-Up Sticks, and going on "adventures."

years end

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

Kahlo, Van Gogh, Beaudelaire, Toi et Moi
Christian Present: Naturel et Pluriel
Residency wk2 - Kitty Kowalski: Fetishes, Fighters and Flamers
The Hold Steady and the View from the Water Tower
The Hold Steady do the unthinkable in our cynical times, they offer inspiration and affirmation.
Album of the Year (so far)?
Happy Shopper #33: Mark Piggott
Drawing down, drawing to a close, Mark Piggott week in outsideleft... With an almost last hurrah, Mark gives us a little peek inside his shopping basket...
Robert Mapplethorpe Died for Somebody's Sins, But Not Mine
Patti Smith and Kevin Shields join forces to craft an epic, harrowing work of remembrance of an artist, and for art itself.
Some of our favorite things...