I love this photo. More here: http://www.travisruse.com/archive.php.It’s the New York City subway in reality. There are the people, most of them just enduring the ride. Mr. Subject has his coffee -probably from a corner store between his apartment and the subway station, he’s wearing a backpack, and he’s fiddling with his music player, while subconsciously hanging on with one finger. He looks serious, like the way people look when they completely relax their face because there’s nobody around to smile at. The others look oblivious to what’s happening around them, but they aren’t; when the train reaches their station, they will get up and walk out of the car. If you try to sit beside them, they will straighten up and go through the motions of giving you a little room. Then they will appear to ignore you, while they read your book. If you’re from NYC you won’t mind, but you’ll notice.
I don’t know which train this was taken on, but I’d guess the train’s a weekday morning C train, traveling between Canal and Spring Streets. It’s not an express train because the people are not ethnically diverse enough. It’s morning because everybody looks sleepy, and Mr. Subject has a coffee and slicked hair. People are wearing light jackets -which means that it’s a chilly morning. If it was to be cold all day, then they would be wearing furs or parkas. If it were later in the day on a spring day, many would be wearing no jackets. I know it’s a blue or orange line train because of the lack of handrail running the length of the car above the seats. It also does not have stop indicators like the green and red lines do. It’s probably a C, and not an E, because the windows in C trains are more scratched up than the E’s. There’s a chance it could be an orange train, but orange doesn’t run as close to Chinatown as blue does, but it could possibly be between Houston and Grand Street stops. The orange trains are the same as the blue interior wise.
I don’t see much reading material, which is a bit unusual; often there are students of some kind, middle aged white women, or morning commuters- all of which read a lot. Because of this, I would lean a little toward thinking that it may be a more obscure and less long-distance ridden train, such as the F or V. These trains also would not serve as many students, but they are a little further away from Asian neighborhood. Another less feasible setting puts them toward the Brooklyn end of the orange line, but there this train would be above the street –and the windows would be lit, and there would be empty seats. It would have this type of ridership; laid back, non-readers, sleepy, etc.
One more speculation: It’s an uptown Q in the midmorning, just leaving W4th. The Asians are all seated because they got on first -some of them at Grand and Lafayette stops, and a few sleepy Russians all the way from Coney. Mr. Subject just got on at W4th, he’s finding a playlist, has hot coffee, standing.He’s probably a NYU student.
And on and on… you get the idea.
What do you think these people are doing? Why do they all look so blank? Do they really have nothing to express? Or is there no one to express it to? Where are they going? Why are they going? Are they alive? Normal?
Don’t be blank. Express yourself. Argue with me. Don’t just leave a number, leave a message. After all, we wouldn’t have this cool picture if everyone in this subway car had been in hibernation. Post a comment here and tell someone your thoughts.