Sunday, September 13, 2009
Salute: To the New York City Subway System
I read in many places – in line at the grocery checkout; in assorted doctors’ and dentists’ offices; and in the car (audiobooks only) – but the bulk of my reading is done while riding to work. Fortunately, my commuter vehicle is a luxury bus equipped with adjustable, cushioned seats and individual lights. My fellow riders are also, generally, considerate of others, so silence reigns supreme. In short, my daily commute is a veritable readers’ paradise. However, I do admit that only a small percentage of my co-commuters share my reading passion. My fellow passengers are a decidedly high tech crowd with assorted Ipods/Itouchs, Blackberries, Netbooks, Notebooks, and an occasional Kindle. The digital screen is king on my bus!
Below the streets of New York City, however, a lower-tech scene flourishes according to the New York Times. Books, magazines, and newspapers are the dominant entertainment of choice. Apparently, this is due in part to the lack of internet or cellphone access on most subway trains. Still there is more to this story. My personal experience riding the New York rails has convinced me that unless you’re a hundred pound waif whose idea of reading bliss is being sandwiched between others; the New York subway system is far from an idyllic reading environment. And yet, as observed in the article, despite the noise, lack of seats, and general urban chaos, reading thrives underground. There is even a Subway Book Club Blog dedicated to what other riders are reading.
So to the Big Apple riders with the ink stained hands journeying to boroughs near and far, I salute you!