Subway Tour

42nd Street Station. 6×8 inches. Ink drawing. $50

I’ve never liked the Subway – and actually have always taken great pains to avoid it. The crowds, the smells, but mostly the confusion – where do I take what train and will it actually go where it’s supposed to or did I miss a sign about a detour? – always made me either walk crazy distances or hail a cab instead of facing the underground monster with its intricate tentacles. I never minded seeing the occasional rat. In fact, I think they’re adorable as long as they don’t get too close, and on the tracks they’re definitely at a safe distance.

Anyway, despite not liking to navigate the subway, I am fascinated by it, so when Ryan suggested a subway tour for our group of collectors I was quite intrigued. We had a guide who was funny and very knowledgeable. He talked nonstop for three hours while pointing out landmarks both above ground and in various subway stations. At some point we were in lower Manhattan and I felt that the energy is really strong there and it really attracts me. It’s something I’ve felt on previous trips – yet never in my childhood or in my twenties. Something I’ll have to explore. John and I saw a leather sewing machine just like his in one of the storefronts. We didn’t have time to stop and investigate but I took its brief sighting as a good omen.

The day had a surreal quality to it, but so does my whole trip here. New York is such a mix of memories and new sensations, of places and experiences that are familiar, layered over so much that is unknown and unexplored. It’s a bit like a mysterious lover – Suzanne’s Desmond in Storms of Malhado – someone you know intimately yet also don’t know at all.

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