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."

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.

The Violinist and the Doll Collector
Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine, two of the giants of minimalism, cross the beams and destroy the universe, only to rebuild it anew.
On Bad Art
Kelsey Osgood in Manhattan, at the Chelsea Hotel, a man with no arms trying to masturbate, dead cows... All in the name of art. Did I get that right?
The Revolution will be Performed in Four Sections
Pantha Du Prince: Very Airport
A quick lunch with Pantha Du Prince's new album takes our author to the airport, the infinite plane of social networking, and to the deepest part of the black, black sea.
Until Further Notice, All Videos are to be Done by Feist
The Canadian songbird may not quite achieve liftoff with her songs, but her videos tear around like a mad condor.
Jason Lewis, The Year #3: Victory for the Sullen
Forsaking his Christmas dinner preparations, Jason Lewis bastes The Sleaford Mods with A Winged Victory for the Sullen and muses on music he hopes you bothered to hear
Some of our favorite things...