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NYC: The Sketchy Subway

By on June 16, 2014 in New York Travel with 7 Comments

Gina Pacelli in New York City“No place epitomizes the American experience and the American spirit more than New York City.” – Michael Bloomberg

I love New York City. The vibe. The people. They are passionate and driven. They are intelligent and educated, making stimulating conversation abundant. They can be kind, aloof, or crazy, but they are honest.

I have often thought about moving to Manhattan. I would miss the Florida sunshine, but I would welcome the diversity and excitement of the city. I crave the philosophical and intellectual conversations of my youth. There is a different mentality in the Northeast which I often miss.

Before college, I sat in a hot tub with my high school friends Laura, Tania and Angela. I remember them saying they pictured me in an apartment in New York City living the life. I didn’t relate to it then, as my heart had always been set on moving to California. However, sometimes that fantasy wanders into my mind…

I ask myself, ‘what are the drawbacks?’ Traffic? I’m sure I wouldn’t like it at first, but I’d get used of it. After all, I lived in Boston for most of my life, then in Los Angeles. In LA, a 10-minute commute could take two and a half hours in the rain. I could overcome it.

The winter? Again, I lived in Boston and Syracuse. I could adjust to the weather. Yes, it would be hard. I have gotten accustomed to blue skies and sunshine every day. I can walk to the beach from my apartment in Pineapple Grove. I could handle it, right? It would be an adjustment for sure, but I’ve done it before.

The expense? I would find a job that would pay me what I need to live the lifestyle I want. Intellectuals gravitate to fellow intellectuals,  so I am sure my skill set and background would be appreciated and valued.  So, then, what is my biggest angst about taking the plunge? The sketchy subway.

I’ve never been a fan of the subway (New York) or T (Boston).  Why? I always felt a little claustrophobic being packed like a sardine against a bunch of smelly people. And then there are the creeps — the ones who stare at you, touch you, follow you, or act a little wacky.

This past trip to New York, I felt super safe wandering the city streets. In fact, I felt safer than walking around South Florida, which has its fair share of sketchiness. A neighbor once told me she was mugged at gunpoint entering our building. I wish I didn’t know. Now I feel myself looking over my shoulder as I punch in the pass code. Ignorance can be bliss.

The only hiccup I experienced on my trip was the subway, of course. Now don’t get me wrong – the majority of the time, people were super helpful. As I was trying to figure out the metro pass, some guy helped me out and even gave me one of his tickets so I would save myself a dollar. He was a complete stranger, but willing to assist me in my time of need — no strings attached. Then there were all the guys who carried my suitcase when they saw me with it. (Those who have traveled with me know I don’t always pack light.) I got plenty of help along the way from complete strangers, and I didn’t even ask. New Yorkers have always been ready to assist me with my needs and wants ever since I have visited the city. For this reason, I have always seen the city as a kind place. I know many would disagree with me, but I can only draw conclusions based on my personal experiences.

So, what was the hiccup? Well, I was on my way to the 9/11 memorial, and I had to meet my friend at the train station at 4:30 p.m. I had plenty of time until the train changed routes. We all had to get off, and I had to find another way to reach my destination.

I am pretty resourceful, so this didn’t phase me. However, while I was in the subway trying to plot out my route, one of the crazies approached me. We were the only ones in the subway.

He asked me to help him, so I tried to assist him based on the little subway knowledge I had. But, then, I realized he was acting strange. He started sniffing me and asked about my perfume. It was weird to be openly sniffed in a subway when no one was around. I told him to stop and backed away. Finally, another person came downstairs, and I was able to get my head together to move on.

I went to the other side, and this same guy was in the tunnel. He undid his pants, and relieved his bladder. I walked fast, and my heart raced. I had finally just gotten away from him, and I didn’t want him to approach me again. He showed up on the other side of the tunnel, and I ignored him. There were more people over there, so he started bothering others. I went back through the tunnel to catch my train. I lost a good chunk of time in the process.

And, so, I was reminded of all the creepy people who roam the subway. The rest of my rides were uneventful (thankfully), but I did become a little more alert of my surroundings for the remainder of the day. I did not want to be caught underground with someone who probably needed to be institutionalized.

And so the question remains… Can I ever get used to the subway/public transportation?

What crazy experience(s) have you had riding the subway? Share your story in the comment section below.

More NYC blogs from this trip:

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