Thursday, February 01, 2007

The 50th St Waltz

The C-E station at 50th Street is an interesting station indeed.

It is built in a way that I've come to expect out of the turn-of-the-century engineers that built our subway - idiotically. For whatever reason, despite being on the same platform everywhere else along the line, the two trains are on entirely different floors. I'm actually sure there is some reason for this...though it is not apparent to me.

Anyway, any time I've been to 50th Street, there's been a number of riders who don't care which train they get as long as it's the next one. It is then a silent social contract is made, comprised of three parts:

1) The Scout: The scout is the risk-taker. He is the one who starts the wheels in motion by descending the stairway and standing in the stairway, with the Anchor and the Train from the bottom floor in view. The Scout is taking a risk that, should his attention wander, the Anchor will verbally alert him that the Top Train is coming. The Scout is a trusting soul indeed.

2) The Anchor: The anchor stays behind on the top floor, with the Top Train and Scout in view. Whereas the Scout has to look back and forth, the Anchor is in total control, with each in his field of vision. At any time the Anchor could steal silently away and abandon his post, if the Anchor is a jerk.

3) The Train: The train is the big metal thing that takes you where you need to go. There are two of them, one on each floor.

Coming home from a meeting one night last week, I found myself at said station, nearly abandoned. I descended the stairs, looked back...and saw my Anchor. My train came first, I looked back, and the Anchor followed.

Clockwork, man. Clockwork.


Anonymous said...

That's where the E splits off and goes to (or comes from) Queens - ie different tracks for different directions.