Tag Archives: subway

MetroCard Turns 20; Metro Token Inspired “Beatitude” Cover

7 Jan

Larry-Closs_Beatitude_Anthony-Freda-194x300

I’m eating my words from yesterday — today is bitter cold. The buzz word of the day is “polar vortex.” I actually caught myself subconsciously holding my breath as I walked to the subway this morning. I felt bad for the guy who had to stand outside the station handing out the free little daily newspapers, and I took one and told him to say warm! Sometimes I feel so spoiled having a desk job…. In the free AM New York I read an interesting factoid: this week MetroCard is turning 20 years old.

That made me feel kind of old. For my entire adult life, I’ve used MetroCards, but I remember actually using the old subway tokens during my teen years. Now I wonder how anyone commuting got anywhere. The idea of lugging around a bunch of coins to get to and from work seems like it would get heavy. And were there no unlimited passes at the time? I really don’t remember…. But I do remember when the transition from coins to cards was happening I thought it seemed so high-tech. It was like a mini credit card just for the Metro! Haha, oh how times have changed.

As I was thinking about the old subway tokens, Larry Closs’ Beatitude popped into my mind. The cover of the Beat-inspired novel features a cat with a subway token for an eye. I’m drawn to the graphic imagery and bold colors of the cover. It really pops.

It’s no wonder why — the cover was designed by award-winning illustrator Anthony Freda. Larry told the cover story on his blog a while back, and you can find out more about Anthony Freda and his art — I love his collages and political humor — on his website.

Now I wish I’d saved one of those tokens. The Transit Museum actually sells merch made of subway coins, but it’s not the same.

A Tree Flowers in Queens

3 May

 

I got off the subway in Astoria, and this is the image that greeted me.  I just had to stop and take a photograph.  I love the delicacy of the pink petals against the steel of the subway ramp, the art in nature and graffiti, the way the tree reaches out to the blue sky, persevering.  We must bloom where we are planted.

Astoria is a neighborhood in Queens, New York, that in the 70s had the largest Greek population outside of Greece itself.

My Culture Diary

20 Feb

Ran across literary editor Sadie Stein’s amusing Culture Diary on the Paris Review Daily via Poets & Writers.  Love her quips.  People are sometimes ask me about what exactly it is I do, so taking a cue from Sadie Stein, here’s an inside look into my day.

MONDAY*

7:00 AM:  My cell phone alarm goes off, and I blindly fumble for the phone and shut the stupid ringer off.  Ten minutes later the second alarm goes off.  Forty minutes after that I finally roll out of bed, toward the coffee maker.

8:30 AM:  Ooh, such nice comments on last night’s status update from writer friends on Faceback.  Maybe I do have something to say that resonates with people.  Listen to Mates of State.

10:00 AM:  Got to work and found out I had left my card key inside, on my desk.  Finally got in and restart my computer at work three times.  Ugh, ugh, ugh!!  Why isn’t it working?  It finally works but then I’m locked out of the server and have to call the home office.  It’s definitely a Monday.  I feel like Garfield.  Complete editing on a book project I’m excited to be working on.  Slice my finger open on a stack of paper.  Oh the hazards of the publishing business.

12:00 PM:  Forgot my homework for my writing workshop at home and now have to use lunch break to run back and get it.  Accidentally get off one stop too early, but enjoy the beautiful weather.  I love the smell of autumn leaves.  Someone follows me into my apartment building.  Oh good, he’s just my neighbor.  On the subway ride back to the office, I offer my seat to an older woman.  Her husband says, “That just got you two points.  You’re two steps closer to getting into heaven.  The woman sizes me up, “I don’t know about that!”

6:00 PM:  The cleaning lady tells me she didn’t throw out the bread in the ‘fridge because she knows it’s mine.  Hints that it’s wasteful to throw out food.  Oops, I’m one of those people that forgets about the food crammed in the ‘fridge.

8:00 PM:  Writing workshop gets emotional.  People lay their lives out for us to read.  It’s hard to critique work that’s so sensitive.  I feel like a jerk afterwards for doing it anyway.  Ride the subway home with a classmate, thankful to debrief.

11:00 PM:  I don’t care if it’s late; I’m eating a second dinner.  And I’m taking a second shower.  Watch Prime Suspect.  Man, I wish I was as tough as Maria Bello.  Watch Community.  This show has jumped the shark.

1:00 AM:  Conk out.

*November 14

Light of the World

18 Apr

I think there’s probably a law against carrying an open flame in the subway.  I’m not sure.  But it’s a pretty safe bet.  This threw my Easter celebrations into flux last year.

Usually I spend Easter with my family in Baltimore.  Last year, though, Greek Orthodox Easter fell on the same Sunday as “American” (i.e., Protestant and Catholic) Easter, so I decided to stay in New York rather than deal with holiday traffic.

At the Cathedral, we lit candles to signify that now that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God in heaven, we, the believers, are to be to the light to the world.  We carry our lit candles out of the church with us at the midnight Easter service, and shine them for all the world to see on our way home.  Up until last year, that had always meant carrying our lit candles into my uncle’s van.

Last year, though, I took the subway to the Easter service.  When I left the Cathedral, lit candle in hand, I realized I was more than twenty blocks from my apartment.  How could I get home with my candle still lit?

Surely, I’d get stopped if I tried to go in the subway.

What cabbie wouldn’t object?

I can never figure out the bus system, and it certainly wouldn’t be the solution anyway.

So, I hoofed it.  I got a lot of stares from passersby on my walk home.  At first, the masses coming from the Cathedral looked like we’d attended a vigil.  Or, maybe we were part of a weird cult.  As the crowd dispersed—east, west, uptown, downtown—we began to look like solitary candle holders.  Who were we?  Why were we carrying candles across city sidewalks in the middle of the night?

I’m glad you asked.