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Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

Stand clear

July 3rd, 2002 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The World Trade Center station on the subway “E” line is going to experience a fatality soon. Me, I blame it on the heat.



There are but two functioning MetroCard Turnstiles. All people entering the station must use one of the two turnstiles, like the one shown in the picture. You must swipe your MetroCard, and then push your way in.

Since there are a lot of tourists who come down to the neighborhood to look in the Hole Where The Towers Were, they end up using this subway, since it’s close. The E line ends at this station, so the platform has two tracks on either side. On a good day, a train is waiting on one track, and doesn’t leave until an arriving train is pulling in on the other track. On a bad day, there’s no trains waiting.

For you see, while on the streets above, the temperature is a mild ninety degrees, but descend the steps into a subway station, and you are confronted with a warmth not unlike the surface of the sun. In less than thirty seconds, you will saturate all your clothing with sweat. In sixty seconds, a puddle will form at your feet.

So a train that is waiting is a merciful thing, because it is an oasis of air conditioning. Even if the train doesn’t leave for five or ten minutes, it is sheer bliss compared to spending even two minutes on the platform.

This brings us back to our tourists, attempting to master the MetroCard. The queues get deep behind the turnstiles, as the MetroTards swipe their cards completely uncomprehending the message CARD JUST USED or SWIPE TOO SLOW. While standing behind these people engaged in some bizarre man/machine act of lengthy foreplay, I can see the train lingering on the platform. I know what sweet relief it has to offer. While I am but one person away from the mad dash to climatic safety, I hear the tones of subway train, warning it is about to depart. Einstein in front of me is being extra careful, making sure to not swipe until any message on the display informing him of his inadequacy has vanished. I am wondering if I push him hard enough if he would pass through the bars of the turnstile like so much ground beef. Finally he is successful, and moseys through the spinning gate in time for me to see the train pulling out of the station, and nary a replacement train to be seen.

I swipe my card, storm down the platform, stop. Then the perspiration and profanity really begin to flow.

Just one good throw, and I’m sure I can get him right against the third rail. Just one good throw.

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