This I Believe

Dominique - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on May 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: place, pleasure
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I believe in the power of the New York City Subway. Everyone has that one place they go to get away. For me, it’s the subway. My mind is able to decompress and focus, and I always leave feeling better. Maybe its knowing people from all walks of life are right next to you. Maybe it’s the rustling of the subway cars zooming through the tunnels. Or maybe it’s just being there, staring at the ads, the people, and the platforms passing by. According to a blog found on, the City calculated that each day, there are 8 million people using subways, buses, and trains. Public transportation, especially the subway, is a unique soothing ride that I believe every New Yorker loves, even if it’s only deep down. When you’re in the greatest city in the world, the best place to be is underground.

Although these passengers are going to different places for different reasons, for at least a little while, they’re on the same road. New York is supposed to be one of the most diverse cities on the face of the earth, but in reality, every neighborhood has its minority. The subway, however, is different. Young, old, rich, poor, black, white, tan, purple – all of these people coming together to take the same train. Whether it be the R, the W, the 1, or the 5, these people, for at least a few minutes, share something with the people around them – the experience of the subway. It may seem like something small, but these days it seems harder and harder to get different people to share something. It’s a sense of a community that let’s me know I’m safe, even with strangers.

When you’re on the subway, you just sit, relax, and think. The subway is so trouble-free. As a lazy person myself, I appreciate very much just sitting there doing nothing. There’s always something or something to stare at. There’s my mp3 to listen to. And when those two fail me, sometimes I bring a snack along. For me, the last resort is reading. But for many others, the subway is the one place where they know they can read without disturbances. My mom never read when she was unemployed, sitting at home. There was TV to watch, emails to read, and phone calls to make. But now she works, and she takes the subway 4 hours everyday. These days, she goes through 2, maybe even 3, books a week.

The subway gives a warm, snuggly feeling. I admit that a warm feeling isn’t what one would expect from a pee-stained, smelly old subway, but that’s what I get. It’s as if I’m in a big womb. I think I feel so safe because of the memories the subway brings back. When I first moved her at the age of eight, my mom and I would take the subway an hour and a half each way to church every Sunday morning.

Although my bed is where I feel the most comfortable, the New York subway is where I feel both comfortable and productive at the same time. I’m out and about, I’m going somewhere and I’m doing something and all the while, I’m relaxed. The subway gives me a sense of community that lets me know I’m safe, even with strangers. The subway experience is the one thing that no tourist can miss. I believe that relaxed and together feeling is what makes New York City so wonderfully different.