Train to Queens

Four abreast and as many or more deep…all hustling to get there…where…somewhere…all so quickly.

I’ve been in Manhattan for about half an hour but above ground for zero minutes.

Walked out of Amtrak tunnel. Walked to the subway tunnel. Got on the 1 to Times Square. Got on the 7 headed to Queens, a borough I’m visiting for the first time.

I looked around and noticed all the shades of the faces on the subway train, all mostly shades of brown, packed onto the subway car. Looking from face to face, I am reminded how the conference speakers from yesterday reminding me to include diverse books in my classroom. This is why, I thought, and I started to imagine all the stories each of these people on the subway could tell.

It is so natural to categorize. It’s a skill I teach when doing research. Place same facts together. Yet looking at all in my subway car, I feel the harm that comes from doing it with people.

Suddenly the train exited the tunnel and was above ground, crossing the river on a raised track. I saw the sky finally, blue and sun-filled. I looked to the right and noticed a man holding an accordion. It is quite loud but somehow sounded delightful on the train. I reached into my purse to find a dollar and gave it to him as my tip for playing a song for me.

As I exited at my stop, I’m invigorated to be living in such a diverse, music-filled world!




7 thoughts on “Train to Queens

  1. paulabourque says:

    Whenever I travel to a conference I try to take public transportation to my motel so I can experience the lives of locals moving from home to work or from friends to family and not just visitors heading to conference. I want to see the streets and stops that aren’t for tourists. I want to hear conversations that share local issues. I want to see a city through the eyes of those who live there daily. This is one way I can feel more connections and appreciate our diverse communities. Thanks for a beautiful slice!


  2. Fran McCrackin says:

    You hit it- a small moment made meaningful by your telling. Underground until you hit the sun. Realizing the hazards of generalizations as you scan the faces around you. Brown here vs mostly white at your conference (I’m guessing.) the accordion was a fun surprise- so NY!


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