Monday, August 11, 2008


What I've learned on the subway so far

As I have expanded my subway horizons, it's always interesting to see where "whitey" is, and where he isn't.

The 1 subway line, which a friend says "is the end all be all answer for any subway route riddle for our part of the bronx just like "God" is an answer to any religious-philosophical question", is really not all that "white" north of 145th street. Something that would have shocked me at the beginning of the summer.

Sure you see white people on the train sometimes, but, for the most part, the train like the neighborhoods that surround it from 168th to 231st is made up of mostly Hispanic (non-Black) passengers. It seems that most Riverdalians take the car or the express bus. Black (non-Hispanic) people also seem absent for the most part (for most of the ride actually). Not a real surprise as will be discussed tomorrow.

Further, my ever increasing post-11pm 1 subway rides show families, single young men, and workers to all be apart of the near late night subway rides. And the ride is by no means lonely... with the exception of being the only person in the car with a white teenager for two consecutive nights (same kid.... he had some sort of soccer tournament it seemed) for the last two stops. Any myth held by some Riverdalians that the one train is somehow unsafe past 10pm seems like nonsense to me. Everyone is just looking to get home.

The A subway line, which is much closer to Riverdale than people I've encountered think*, shows the pattern of the increasingly gentrified Northern Manhattan. In the words of one Washington Heights resident who lives on the A line, the 1 line is a "pain in the ass". In fact, the walk between 181st A and 1 line is a good 5 minutes and a hill acts as a geographic boundary between lower and upper income residents.

In terms of ethnic makeup, the A train despite or (I prefer) because of its termination in Inwood has more white passengers than the 1 train at its northern terminal.

Those that know me, know I'm a huge fan of the A train due to its express service through Manhattan as well as its Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station drop offs.

C, D, and 4 trains tomorrow.

*-Two to three minutes further than the 231st 1 station.

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