Monday, March 16, 2009


There is a woman on the E train this morning who is cracked out.

Growing up in the white-collar suburbs we always used to throw around the term " He's on crack!" or " What are you- on crack or something?" But now, being in big bad New York City I really do see real live people actually on crack occasionally. This particular woman this morning has wild wild curly black hair, all messy and crazy. She is muttering to herself.

Her eyes have a dull, glazed over stare as we roll along downtown. It is a stare that I really cannot describe other than "the crack stare."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Armpit of Midtown

The area around the Port Authority is one of my least favorite parts of the city. It is located close enough to Times Square to still be annoyingly crowded with tourists yet far enough away that it is not bright and exciting-only dirty. In the shadow of the Lincoln Tunnel exists really a soulless place, magnified by the ever-present blanket of exhaust from the continuous stream of buses 24 hours a day.

From the ramp where the 20T deposits me every morning I am treated to a view consisting of a crumbling building that calls itself a Baptist Church and the World of DVD Shop. “Female Peep Show! Male Peep Show!” I didn’t even know that was allowed anymore. It is a glimpse of a bygone era of 1970s Times Square seediness that I have only had the opportunity to read about in magazines.

The air is tinged with the scent of stale donuts and pollution.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Personal Space

The man sitting on the bus next to me is definitely taking up much more than his share of the seat. I am sure he is asleep but his leg keeps uncomfortably pressing against mine. I know he is quite a bit bigger than I but why can’t he just spew into the aisle instead of into me?

I guess awkward stranger body to body contact is something you just have to get used to commuting with the masses into a place like Manhattan every morning.

I close my eyes and attempt to sleep, trying to pretend the offending leg is just my boyfriend’s or something along those lines….

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This morning on the E a man is wearing jeans made of stone-washed khaki denim. Something I have not seen since 1993. To add to insult they are those jeans that are tight and bunchy around the ankles not because they are trendy skinny jeans but just because they are awkward.

Oh how I do wish how beige-colored denim would come back in style! I fully expect to be alone in this opinion.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Embroidery Capital of the World

My first impressions of the bus are not so good. This afternoon for example, the 5:50 express is absolutely packed and miserable. People have to stand. My seat is broken meaning whenever I try to lean back it pushes all the way down into the lap of the person behind me. I have to perch awkwardly forward on the edge of my seat the entire ride. The businessman across the aisle is not-so-discreetly trying to look down my jacket.

You sure can’t beat that view of the twinkling Manhattan skyline as we emerge from the depths of the Lincoln Tunnel though. A sign on the highway overpass reads “Welcome to North New Jersey- the Embroidery Capital of the World ."

Oh Jersey. Ever the optimist.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Her Life Sucks?

This afternoon I get that much sought-after seat on the E train during rush hour. This victory is short lived. A girl about my own age stumbles into the car. She is kind of butch and tough looking, dressed in tomboy gangsta-like clothes. This is not really of note but the fact is that she is absolutely hysterical. She is rambling incoherently and crying. Actually I think the more appropriate word is wailing. She is wailing.

From what I can make out is that "her life sucks". Why does every thing go wrong? Won’t no one help her? Why will nobody help her? She doesn’t care about the new year because she probably won’t even live until the new year. (It is February). She is obviously borderline insane and very very scary. She sits down right next me. There is nothing I can do, no place I can go. The car is packed. I don't want to get up because she would obviously know it is because of her. I have learned that it is best not to insult the mentally ill.

She continues to carry on and then starts to touch my arm. Yes, she touches me.

Miss, miss excuse me miss.

I freeze. I want to make a run for it but really there is no place to go and and I don’t want to piss her off and have her come after me. She looks me right in the eyes and is about to say more. I brace myself.

Suddenly, an almost as crazy homeless guy comes through the car ranting about something. He is nearly as bad as this girl. She is distracted by him for a moment and fortunately takes her attentions off of me.

At the next stop some people get off and I move over to the back of the car. Safe. However Wailing Girl now gets up and starts making her way toward me, ranting about her temper. Am I going to be knifed on the E train at 5:30pm in front of all these people? Oh oh oh no. But she simply brushes past me. There is a middle-aged businessman reading the Wall Street Journal standing across from me. She shoves him hard. She shoves him again. Then she goes out those doors that separate the cars and into the next one.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Observations On The E

So I guess this shall be my first post from the perspective of the E train. I get into the Port Authority around 7:45 after nearly an hour on the bus then ride the E all the way downtown where I get off at the World Trade Center. Or more accurately, the construction pit that was the World Trade center. I then have to cross the pedestrian bridge that goes over Ground Zero and the West Side Highway and into the Financial Center.

This is will be my routine every morning now. The E trains are older and crappier than the 6 train cars. All I can really do to sum it up is say that the E is like the 6's ugly little sister who got stood up every Saturday night in high school.

Even though it would be more approriate now I refuse to rename this blog "Observations on the E". It sounds like some kind of drug that is best reserved for one's early years of college.