Posts Tagged ‘mta’


Yesterday was beautiful in New York, and my sister was feeling fine, having been off chemo and radiation a month. New treatments start today.

We took the subway from the Upper West Side down to Chelsea, which she says feels like a whole different city to her. We went to a very avant garde museum, walked around, met up with childhood friends, had tea at an indy bookstore, and admired several subway mosaics.

In the first photo below, a New York crowd is watching a cameraman who is making a movie of the woman in the second photo. Then there are several shots of a long city-life mural. I was especially struck by the man in the red tie, who seems to be riveted by a miracle that only he can see.

Next come New Year’s Eve revelers. The added sticker is a sign of how very eager New Yorkers are to vote right now, longing for a miracle.

Next come two unusual church signs. The first is in the graveyard of the Basilica of St. Patrick on Prince Street. I’m guessing they wanted the sheep for mowing the grass. The second is from a Greek Orthodox church on West End Avenue that has a service called the Falling Asleep of St. John the Theologian.

Finally, someone’s tortoise is running like a hare from paparazzi.

That’s New York for you.











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Here’s another story about an older worker from John. I think we’ll discover more of these, given that retirement today doesn’t have the same appeal for everyone.

“Frank Gurrera is old-school Brooklyn,” writes Pete Donohue at the NY Daily News.

“Gurrera, a World War II veteran, is nearly 90 years old. But he’s still working as a subway machinist at the MTA’s sprawling brick maintenance complex in Coney Island. Gurrera makes or modifies parts for workhorse trains that were built decades ago and need periodic roof-to-wheels overhauls in order to remain in service.

“ ‘I enjoy the work,’ he said. ‘It’s the satisfaction of making something from nothing, making something from just a piece of metal.’

“Gurrera is exactly the type of transit worker the Daily News celebrates with its annual Hometown Heroes in Transit awards, which honor bus and subway workers who demonstrate exceptional dedication, bravery, compassion, ingenuity and other admirable qualities.” More about the awards here.

Although this story is from New York, people like Gurrera are also valued in Greater Boston, which has the oldest subway system in the country. The Boston Globe has reported on local machinists who are needed to make train parts by hand.

Photo: Pearl Gabel/NY Daily News
Frank Gurrera, who turns 90 on Oct. 29, makes subway train parts that no longer are available from the original manufacturer. The parts are used for workhorse MTA trains that were built decades ago.

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Photo: Jake Naughton/The New York Times
Ayun Halliday creating a new issue of “The East Village Inky”  as part of the MTA Zine Residency

Remember the Amtrak Artist Residency? Here’s what might be called a “stealth residency,” organized by a librarian in New York and taking place on the New York subway system.

Colin Moynihan writes at the NY Times, “Thirteen people formed a sort of mobile salon just after noon on Friday, boarding an F Train in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn with the aim of riding for hours through three boroughs while writing and illustrating zines — self-published, photocopied periodicals usually made by hand. …

“The two-day event, called the MTA Zine Residency, had been organized by a librarian and an archivist at the Barnard College library, which they said has the largest circulating collection of zines in an academic library. …

“Despite the initials in its name, the event was organized without the knowledge or collaboration of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subway system. The peaceful takeover of the subway car reflected the do-it-yourself spirit that is a basic prerequisite to zine making, said the other organizer, the archivist Shannon O’Neill. …

“ ‘Remember the promise and betrayal of the #AmtrakResidency?’ the organizers of the subway project wrote, while announcing their own subway and ferry trips. ‘We won’t pay for your MetroCard, but we also won’t demand to own your stuff!’ …

“Transit officials had no objection to the activities. ‘As long as they abide by our rules of conduct, we certainly welcome them in the subway system to nurture creative self-expression,’ said a spokesman, Kevin Ortiz.”

More here.

I’m thinking of several artistic readers of this blog when I say you may want to get on board this train the next time it comes around.

Photo: Jake Naughton/The New York Times 
Composing zines on the F train on Friday during the MTA Zine Residency. 

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I was always impressed when I saw a poem in the place of an ad in the New York City subway. Now Boston has caught on.

Martine Powers wrote recently at the Boston Globe, “Finally, Bostonians will have the chance to experience the pleasures of poetry on the MBTA.

“Mass Poetry [is] bringing poems to advertisement spaces on subway cars. The initiative, dubbed PoeTry, is part of the organization’s Poetry in Public Spaces initiative, which began last year, said Mass Poetry program director Laurin Macios…

“ ‘Contemporary poetry is barely taught in schools, and often when it is, it is taught in a very scholastic sense instead of an artistic one,’ Macios said. “People often grow up without ever realizing there is poetry out there that can speak to them, or that they can speak back to. …

“Each appearance of a poem includes a tearsheet on the corner of the sign, allowing passengers to take a copy of the poem with them if the spirit strikes them.”

One poem in the series, says Powers, “What Travels,” by Joseph O. Legaspi, takes place on a subway car. “What travels beneath their secret faces? What is train but transport to other lives?” More at the Globe.

See also http://masspoetry.org.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom
Poem: “Bulls vs. Suns, 1993,” by Jos
é Olivarez

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