THE LAST FIVE ...
Closing up shop
It may be time for a change
Entry in the air
Music of the moment
Or ... BE RANDOM!
2001-02-12 - 9:25 p.m.
Beneath the city
I love the way the NYC Subway maps reduce the City to the bare minimum, strip the metropolis of all the roads, buildings, cars, pedestrians, construction, traffic lights, et. al. and present it as a simple, color-coded collection of boroughs.
All that chaos presented as a work of red, blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, gray and tan lines transversing the off-white land masses and crossing the blue rivers.
It's like a puzzle to me: I'm at Port Authority, on 42nd and 8th, and I need to get to Bowling Green. Or City Hall. Or The Bowery. What's the best way?
I look at the stops, at the subway lines that follow avenues north-south or streets east-west and try to picture all that's missing: I try to see Columbus Circle, or Lincoln Center. I know where they are, but the map barely shows it, other than in words. I look at the long underground walk needed to transfter from the B, D, F or Q to the 7 at 42nd Street and think about what's above that tunnel. I think of the cars riding above the A, C, B and D lines along Central Park West. I imagine (get it?) The Dakota there at 72nd St. and the Museum of Natural History a few blocks up. In my mind's eye I can see Grand Central Station lit up in the New York dusk, and picture that first view of Shea Stadium as the 7 rounds the bend on the elevated track in Queens.
It's magic the way you can walk downstairs from a sidewalk on Lexington Ave. and return to the daylight on Wall St. minutes later. Or descend along peaceful Central Park and emerge in frenetic Times Square.
In a way, it's two different worlds, the underground and the concrete jungle. But really, when you stop to think about it, neither one would be quite the same without the other.
Next page: Roses on the pavement
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