subway

Happy Valentine’s Day

While I’m a firm believer in showing love for those you care about every day, the romantic in me appreciates that there is a holiday devoted to love. (At least, this year. On other V-Days, my feelings have run the gamut from sad to excited to indifferent to content.)

This afternoon, my sister, parents and I were on a group text, sharing our V-Day plans and photos and cards we’d created for the holiday. I got the warm-fuzzies hearing the nice evenings they’d be enjoying. And my sister must have been feeling the same, because she wrote:

Glad we all have so much love and happiness in our lives! Best fam ever!!!

Compared to how snowy and miserable it’s been, NYC was 40 degrees today, which felt positively balmy. Seeing so many people walking around carrying bouquets of flowers added nice pops of color (and a bit of spring) to a city that’s felt iced over and gray for weeks. I couldn’t help but smile at the scene—not to mention at this brilliant sign I stumbled upon at Columbus Circle.

Hope you had a wonderful V-Day, as well!

#foundlove

Subway Kitties Have a (Temporary) Home

Okay, this is really just an excuse to post cute cat photos—but there’s a legit NYC angle!

Last week, while I was sunning myself on the beach two kittens were spotted on the B/Q tracks near theВ Church Avenue stop in Brooklyn.

subway kitten

And then—in what I think was a pretty astounding move—the MTA shut down power to large swaths of the two lines as workers tried to catch the kitties. After an hour and a half of futile attempts, the MTA restored service to both lines. They eventuallyВ rounded up the catsВ later in the evening.

subway kitties 2

In the days that followed, numerousВ mayoral candidates weighed in on whether they would have shut the subway for the kitties. (Quinn, Thompson, Weiner, Catsimatidis, McDonald [who?]: Yes. Former MTA boss Lhota: No.)

And the cats, named August and Arthur, found themselves in comfy new digs. Bushwick resident Steven Liu, who regularly fosters cats, has taken them in.В Liu posted some photos of them on his Tumblr,В Scratching Pad, and they’re too cute!

subway kitties 3

subway kitties 4

subway kitties 5

(Top two photos by Marc A. Hermann/MTA via the Daily News; bottom three photos via Scratching Pad)

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette

I’m sure that in every city, there are unspoken but almost universally agreed upon truths and learnings, among residents. Here in NYC, we certainly have tons.

Like not standing directly in front of the doors after entering the subway.

And that the left sides of escalators are for walkers.

And that the city isn’t so hard to navigate once you remember that even streets go east and odd streets go west.

And that you can always identify tourists by their tendency to walk super slowly while looking up.

And so on.

Artist Nathan W. Pyle has taken to illustrating such wisdoms in NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, his book that comes out next April. He’s sharing illustrations that probably won’t make it—and a few that will—on Facebook, and they’re spot-on and hilarious! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at many of them.

A few of my faves:

empty subway car

passenger distribution

who should sit there?

close the door

trip zone

eating on the subway

Genius, right? I can’t wait to see what else Pyle will illustrate. I’m wondering if he’ll design some of my other peeves…like people who bring bikes on the subway…or people who don’t move after going through a revolving door…

What are some of your “favorite” NYC etiquette gripes?

(Illustrations by Nathan W. Pyle via the NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette Facebook page)

MTA Tattoos

As a non-driver and native New Yorker, I have a soft spot for the MTA and the NYCВ subwayВ system—even though I’m often frustrated when I can’t get a seat in the morning. (I’m the fourth stop on the A train!)

Nevertheless, I’m loving Tattly’s new line of MTA temporary tattoos. I especially appreciate how it includes the diamond shaped icons for the 6 and 7 trains!

mta set

Love this example of A/C/E pride…

a c e

and this double display of NYC pride!

bagel

(Photos via Tattly; found via Swissmiss)

Subway Maps You Can Wear on Your Wrist

This is genius.

When Tiffany Burnette was researching women who travel solo, for her master’s project, sheВ stumbled upon one voyager’s gripe: Having to pull out a map to navigate the NYC subway—thus clearly branding herself a tourist. Inspired, Tiffany came up with a simple and stylish solution: subway maps embossed on cuff bracelets. While wearing them, female travelers can navigate a transit system with a discreet glance at the wrist.

So far, her company, designhype, has cuffs for NYC

nyc metro cuff

London

london metro cuff

Paris

paris metro cuff

…as well as Milan, Berlin, Chicago and Brooklyn.

As a woman who’s often traveled solo, I can attest to how many times I could have used these! One safety measure I always take when traveling alone is to look like I know where I’m going. And nothing blows your cover more than when you have to study a subway map, whip out a guidebook or consult your smartphone—if you’re in a place where you even get service. These cuffs could have helped me out in several cities.

Plus, I love how the bracelets are very understated, so you wouldn’t be flashing around expensive-looking jewelry. I actually just want the NYC one to wear every day!

Here’s to hoping city map cuffs will be designhype’s next project!

(Photos via designhype; found via Scoutmob)

P.S. — I had an amazing time onВ EleutheraВ and I’m looking forward to posting about it, in a few days!

The Illustrated Train

I may have been taking public transportation for my entire life, but people-watching on the subway never gets old. Even when I’m trying to block out my fellow commuters—with my headphones turned up and/or a magazine in front of my face—I can’t help but wonder what their backstories are: Why are they also headed home so late? Where are they coming from? Who’s waiting up for them? And so on.

Bee Johnson is similarly intrigued by NYC subway riders. The Harlem-based artist has taken to capturing them in her series, “The Illustrated Train.”

The project is exactly what it sounds like. As Micropolis NYCВ quotes Johnson:

If I happen to be standing on a crowded train and can’t comfortably draw or only have a stop before I have to get off, I’ll try to discreetly snap a photo (no flash!) with my phone and base my illo on that. (I know I sound like a total creep, but what can you do? Sometimes the best ones are gone in a flash.)

A few of my favorites illustrations:

southbound for a sleepover

bronx, party of three

to grandmother's loft we go!

the mad hatter of morningside heights

…funny enough, I see the guy in the last illo all the time on the A train!

(Illustrations by Bee Johnson; found via Micropolis NYC)

A Round of Applause for NYC Commuters

In this city of nearly 9 million people, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single person who enjoys commuting. Yet it’s something we do every day, cramming into packed subway cars and scurrying through a vast network of underground tunnels.

That’s why I’m loving this video of NYC commuters being greeted by a cheering crowd at the Times Square subway station. For years, on my way to and from work, I trudged up and down that same steep ramp connecting the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, R and Q to the A, C, E. This occurred at the end of the day, but boy, would I have loved this during one of my morning commutes!

I haven’t seen any mentions of the group behind this, so if you know, please tell me—I’d like to thank them for brightening a lot of peoples’ days!

(Video from Transportation Nation, via Gothamist)