May 21, 2009
The subway tunnels are the essence of Big City Like No Other. The air carries all kinds of smells, from soft pretzels baking at a stand to the whiff of perfume as a woman walks past to the every-present stench of stale urine. The ground vibrates as a train approaches. The dark tunnels connect us mysteriously to other parts of the city. You can see everyone in the train: parents with small kids, teenagers with their friends, street people, young couples, and well-dressed business people.
Street performers play near entrances, serenading the crowd with music that is often touchingly awful. Sometimes a rat will scurry along the tracks. Breezes rush through the tunnel, cool and musty. As a train approaches, people will come hurrying down the steps, their feet clanking against the steps as they rush to jump on before the doors close. The mood of the tunnel shifts constantly from bored and sleepy to frantic rush. The train takes away the crowd of people on the platform, but always more people come hurtling down the stairs, an endless supply of humans going somewhere and then returning home again.
In one tunnel, I found a snake.
Posted by jo(e)