We are now into deep summer in New York, although the calendar says summer only started a few days ago. It seems very different to those of us who spend more than a few fleeting minutes below ground each day on the New York City subway system.
The photo below is of an earlier version of the map of this system showing the route that I have been taking daily from my home to my work place, the shop. The Metropolitan Transportation Agency changes the look of these maps, and even the routes and names and existence of the various subway train lines every so often. I like to hold on to older maps. Not one of them is as graphically magical as that of the London Tube. That map is a classic.
I have digressed.
Mostly the NYC subways gets us to our various destinations without incident. Normally incident is a euphemism for ... something bad.
I would like to tell about three sights I saw today on my commute via the subway. I did not have my camera with me. You all will have to summon your visual imagination.
This morning I did my usual transfer between train lines under Times Square. I was walking down a necessary stairwell, when I saw something unusual headed my way. This something was a very large man whose body was entangled within the curves of a highly polished brass tuba. I backed up to the edge of the stairway to allow the man and his tuba to pass by.
He did pass by with his tuba, and I continued my stairway descent to the concrete surface of the subway platforms. I will not describe the high temperature of the atmosphere or the scents or the areas of litter. No, what caught my eye as I walked along that platform to the measured spot that will allow me to enter a train and exit that train car at the perfect spot on 23 Street, was something that was such a contrast to that giant polished tuba and large man.
It was a single, tiny, Chinese child's slipper, embroidered. It lay all by itself on the platform. Some tiny child must have yearned for bare feet in the heat of the subway, and given a tiny but determined kick to free his/her toes. The little slipper was adorable, never to be confused with the left-behinds that constitute the usual litter.
I love the contrast of scale. Huge, tiny, and I continued on to a full day of work.
Many hours later, I reversed my travel route to return home.
As I walked along the 23rd Street subway platform aiming to find the spot on that platform that would guarantee my exit at Times Square being that stop's ideal spot, I was stopped in my tracks.
I saw a young camera crew in the process of filming some sort of film that I guessed might have been part of a fashion promotion. Not too many fellow travelers were on that platform who were, like me, waiting for a train. Those who were were treated, or exposed, to a vision of a young, beautiful, tall Asian model wearing a floral embroidered filmy robe, open that robe to show off some very lacy and very ephemerally minimal lingerie and to walk about 20 metres down the platform.
Well. The camera man and director thanked all of us mere mortal commuters for our allowing the filming to continue without interruption. The model was pretty much naked under that dressing gown. I have never seen such a scene underground before.
Well. I had never before seen a tuba or an abandoned tiny embroidered slipper before either.
Is it not the run up to the full moon above ground?
Best wishes from New York.