24 NYC Moments: June 2013

A “moment” from each month I spent in NYC. Sometimes tasty, always tRuthful.

Month 14: June 2013

The N train stops just before the 36th Avenue station in Queens. The perpetually-muffled conductor voice comes on over the speaker: “This train has been stopped due to police activity and we ask that everybody please exit this train. I repeat, you must exit this train. There will be no trains at this station until the police activity has cleared.” I sense everybody’s frustration as we gather our belongings and slowly file out– we aren’t just delayed, we’re stopped. This is going to be one of those times where we actually will get to our destinations late, and we’ll complain to our friends and coworkers about how unreliable and slow the train systems is, completely disregarding the hundreds of flawless train rides we’ve been on previously.

There’s panic on the platform. People are trying to look below the elevated track to the street level. “Someone jumped in front of the moving train,” a witness who’d been standing on the platform awaiting the train tells the crowds departing passengers. The train driver is standing outside the front of the train, cursing to himself repeatedly.  I’m on edge as I descend the station’s stairs. Had someone really just tossed their life at the very train on which I was riding? Was this the “grit” I’d been warned of? I feel I’m going through a twisted sort of  New Yorker Rite of Passage ceremony. I walk past several ambulances, and a crowd. There’s a human limb in the middle of the street.  I stop for a second. I don’t know if I’m in shock or have become hardened, but all I can think to do is being to walk the rest of the way home.

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