Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Doomsday on the Broadway Local: Day 9

Tuesday - there's no other way to say this - it was absolutely terrible. And I have the pictures to prove it. The heat reached ridiculous levels over the holiday weekend... well, you know about me and my air conditioner confessions. Heat does not bode well for subway travel. You descend to a dark underground place and something in your body tells you that coolness awaits.

This is a horrible filthy lie.

Between the people and the machinery of the trains, an enormous amount of heat is produced. And it stays. The heat becomes positively oppressive in most stations, and is almost always tinged with a patina of urine. (Thanks much guys - we women know well that you could hold it, considering that we have no choice and therefore do and very few of us end up with ruptured bladders, but go on right ahead and foul the public spaces for all of us. You're awesome.)

But does heat explain why the trains can't run when it's hot? Correlation is not causation. No, this seems more like some cruel trick of fate, somebody's idea of a joke. After work it was far too hot for me to walk the 10 blocks up to the yellow trains, so I rode the one stop on the 6 train. That was its usual sardine experience, with the added bonus of the 51st Street station reading at least in the 90s. The train itself was about the same, just with weird little whiffs of cold air. When there is so much heat outside and there are so many people in each car, the train A/C that so often freezes people is pitifully feeble. Though I'd hate to know what the inside of the train would feel like without it. If you ever see a totally empty subway car on an otherwise populated train, there are three answers: 1) The doors aren't opening, 2) There is a particularly odoriferous indigent taking up residence, or 3) The A/C is busted. True story.

A handful of stations actually have something of an air conditioning system attempting to keep the temperature at a reasonable level. I am convinced that at least the N/Q platform of 59th Street falls into this category. When I arrived there I found an absolute mob, and it stretched for the entire length of the platform. But it was still somewhat of a relief, as it was at least 10 degrees cooler than 51st Street had been. After eight minutes of waiting the first train arrived, a Q, and it was far too packed for me to try to get on. I'm more of a wait-for-the-next-one kind of girl than one who'll squeeze in at any cost. It's just not worth it. I'm not on the run from the fuzz. Indeed, many who would have liked to get on simply would not fit.

After about five more minutes, an N train arrived. It too was already fairly full, but enough passengers got off that I could reasonably get on and not have a complete panic attack before getting to QBP. I was really hoping that once we reached that station we'd go "express", a phenomenon I'll have to talk about sometime, but no such luck. I never did get a seat, not even after 30th Avenue. That... never really happens.

Oh, hot hot heat, please go away. Give us a mild summer. I want to go to Coney Island.

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