The first cold weather of the season made for a morning train heavy on long-haul sleepers. Lying awkwardly, legs folded up, across a two person seat . Slumped sideways, with piles of color-drained shopping bags as pillows. Bent forward, hidden under hooded sweaters, heads resting on knees. Commuters with wrinkled noses shift away.
A young man with a heavy suitcase and very little English, heads further into Brooklyn to the Port Authority. Is turned around and sent on his way, an innocent, back across the river.
A woman steps into the train. Middle aged, with a tired face and long graying hair loosely tied. Sweatpants and wrinkled jacket. Around her neck, a sign on cardboard. When she starts to sing, her voice is a deep rasping flamenco lament, cracking and hovering right at the razor thin border of pitch. Right where it matters most. Two minutes of the midday train from Roosevelt westward.
At Sutphin Boulevard an elderly, well dressed woman mutters under her breath as the lights of the F appear in the distance. "Fiiinally, the fukkint train." The "t"s so small and so precise against the train's rumble.
On Friday night, a sixty-something couple in our car blows the competition clean away. The King and Queen of the Underground. They're wearing matching coats of pure white rabbit. Apart from the coat, he's in black leather, head to toe, with a broad brimmed hat, and silver studded boots. She's in fishnets and heels. They smile to each other and talk real low, and they just know we're all sneaking glances and feeling so damn unremarkable. At Jay Street, hand in hand, they run across the platform for the A.