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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Forest of Columns, Below Ground

59th Street tracks
Photo by myself at the 59th Street subway station.

Daylight and fluorescent light intersect at the station at 59th Street, on the Upper West Side.

These tracks are very tidy, a highly uncommon sight. Usually in between the tracks are enormous brown puddles and litter. And rats, of course. Don't forget them.

Some subway stations, like this one, are located directly under the street. The light comes in from grates in the sidewalk, like skylights. Rain falls directly onto the tracks.

Other subway stations, serving more than one subway line, have layers of tunnels. You have to navigate among stairways or escalators and pedestrian tunnels. For those with baby carriages, wheelchairs or crutches, you can use the scary elevators. Good luck. Nice knowing you! ;-)

Mark tells me that one of the deepest subway station occurs at Lexington and 63rd Street. F trains are coming in from below the East River from Queens, while the street level in Midtown is high.

I made the mistake of getting out at 63rd and Lex once, late for a meeting at 63rd and Madison. I had to run up two monster escalators to another escalator to reach the real world. It felt like I was emerging from the center of the earth.

Related posts: The Elevated Tracks, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Moving on Up and Across the Tracks.


Olivier said...

on dirait de la neige sur les rails

BANJO52 said...

Compelling photo--I see cage, prison, and so forth. But also really nice commentary here. The urban Underworld?

Bloggin in PA said...

Yeah, getting lost in the NY subway is very frustrating! Although I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because THREE people asked me for directions!

Marcia said...

My favorite subway station is the one under 30 Rock, you wouldn't even know it was it was a station because it is so beautiful. I also love the mosaic tile signs and pictures at some of the stations. The maintenance people thought I was crazy taking photos of something they take for granted.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

I love views like this across the tracks to the opposite platform, Kitty. Sometimes it feels almost like watching a play. And while I'd never thought of it as a forest of columns before, that is the perfect description!

Lily Hydrangea said...

I was just at that station recently & as I traveled further underground I couldn't help feeling like I was descending into the depths of Hell.

Ken Mac said...

I saw a rat tottering, nearly falling over on the 96th street platform the other day. He seemed to be on drugs, walked to the edge, fell over and stumbled away...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Have you ever been to London Kitty? The subway in New York is really shallow compared to the London Underground, it's quite the butt workout climbing the tube escalators ;-)

Kitty said...

Hi Olivier
Yes, the light does look like snow. How strange in July?

Thanks Banjo
Yeah, there is a whole world there underground. I am sure there is so much we don't see (maybe a good thing)

Hi Bloggin
ha. Good for you! You must have looked preoccupied and in a hurry then? The typical New Yorker expression.

Hi Marcia
wow, I'll have to check that out, thanks. I don't recall how that station looks. I may not even have been in there?

Hi Terry
Yes those glances across the tracks are somewhat romantic, aren't they? So close and yet so far. Just to think how many intersecting lives are all in one spot at a given time. Very play-like indeed.

Hi Lily
Oh boy. They should put a sign out in front warning people! Seriously I'll have to venture over one of these days when it's not so stifling and get a photo of those escalators. Intense.

Glad you made it out of there ok. ;-)

Hi Ken
Eek, how embarrassing for the rat?

I don't know whether to feel sorry for the rats or not. I am sure I am the only one.

Hi Fish
Ah, my memories of London are such a blur. I do remember that I loved it and the tube was so easy to understand.

I wonder how come the London trains are so far underground. Perhaps for stability's sake?

lewi14 said...

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