Tuesday morning, the N train was stuck during morning rush hour traffic between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
9:04 am Train grinds to a halt. Riders look up from their papers, unsurprised. It was drizzling lightly outside, and rain makes the trains go haywire.
9:05 am The train has not moved. No announcements had been made. Passengers shuffled around but stayed quiet, waiting.
9:06 am Disgruntlement sets in. The sounds of shuffling feet and sighs become audible.
9:07 am An announcement is made that there is a stalled train directly ahead of us. Please be patient. Thank you and have a good day, from New York City Transit. The woman standing to my right swore under her breath.
9:08 am I start to compare the perception of time on a stopped subway train to a vacation in Mexico. I realize that standing up, carrying all your stuff and being squished against people is very different from sitting under a beach umbrella in a bikini.
9:10 am A pregnant woman in her third trimester squats down out of exhaustion. A female passenger notices and quickly finds a her a seat.
9:13 am A passenger presses the Emergency Call Button and pleads for air conditioning. 'Give me a break, you're suffocating us in here!' she cries. Immediately, the fans come on.
9:14 am Miraculously, the train starts to move. There is no applause, no chatter, just a collective sigh of relief. We chug slowly through the tunnel, eventually merging into the daylight to a view of Manhattan and the East River.
Related posts: Asleep on the D Train, A Much-Needed Nap and The Space of Chance Encounters.