Needed: New York Street Skills

Overheard on the Subway

There is something weird happening in New York.  The phenomenon is so odd it might not even register; New York’s traffic is on the decline.  I’d like to be able to tell you it’s because the city is going Green and trying to do it’s small bit to save the environment but that just isn’t the case.  The truth is New York City seems to be emptying out.  There are less and less cars and less and less people all over town.  Today, as I walked around Gramercy Park to catch the 6 Train to 86th Street, I could have sworn it was a holiday or a summer Sunday, not a Wednesday in mid May.

The downside is the utter lack of energy found anywhere in Manhattan.  Frankly, it’s fucking eerie and anxiety provoking, actually.  I get nervous thinking I might be the only one left in town.  The upside is you can always get a seat on the train.

Today, however, the trains were crowded for some reason.  I hadn’t seen this many people on a New York City subway in over 6 months.  It’s not like there were an inordinate amount of people, up until last year, this amount of strap hangers on the 6 was an off peak occurrence.  However, for some reason, I could sense tension.  This wasn’t your average everyday New York who the fuck are you tension.  No, this was more like it’s 90 out and everyone is waiting for something bad to happen.

Woman 1: Don’t push my stomach.

Woman 2:  I can’t help it.

Woman 1: I’m pregnant, bitch.  Don’t’ elbow me.

Woman 2 tried to move forward but got pushed back, Woman 1 started in again.

Woman 1: I’m pregnant bitch!  DON’T FUCKING ELBOW ME!

Her screams had real menace to them, not the usual New Yorker blowing off steam but a real what the fuck will she do next menace.  So much so that the guy next to me leaned in and whispered to me “The city is almost empty, I’m just trying to get home and I have to put up with this shit?  Unbelievable.”

The two women, still screaming at each other, and my semi-outraged traveling companion departed at the 51st Street Station.  The other straphangers and myself sat shocked.  Apparently, even the most hardcore of native New York commuters had forgotten just what menace on the train meant.

Obviously, we need people back in town and fast before our street skills deteriorate any further.


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