Hey Ron! - The Ups and Downs of the L
I recently moved to Ridgewood, Queens. My new place is very convenient to get to as far as work and church are concerned. Church is five blocks away, and once I'm on the train, work is only about a 12-minute ride. But I have noticed that the attitudes and the facial expressions of people who ride certain subways are different. Growing up I rode the 4, the 5, the 2, and the F. And I have to say, the L Train is probably the nicest train I've been on.
Back in the day I would take the train two stops. It's funny, 96th Street was a very mixed up crowd, you had the West End kind of crowd, but then you had Douglas Projects too. So you had those mentalities mixing. Once it got to 72nd it started to change. It got more white. Then I ended up moving with my Grandmother to 106th Street and Park. It was funny because anytime we got seats we used to call it Mighty Whitey Street, which was 96th Street. Because white people at that time didn't travel uptown unless they were buying drugs. They did not travel past 109th Street. No way, no how, unless they were buying drugs.
So when we rode the train it was weird because you'd see the type of people changing as you went along. But what I like about riding the L is that there are white people who get off the train after me. I'm like, "Cool, I live in a good neighborhood if white people stay on the train after me."
When I ride the train up to Harlem or, not even Harlem, when I go to the Bronx or something, the faces get more angry. But when you get off the train and realize how bad the living conditions are--I'd be mad too if I had to live in those conditions. I'm like, "damn, these people are just angry." Like you'll see them and they're not friendly. They bark at you just for a seat. If you bump into them during rush hour they just look at you like, "don't touch me, don't look at me." I'm like, "damn, why are you so angry? Why are you so upset?" There was a time when I had that anger, I was young. And I grew up not even realizing that I was angry all the time, but then I learned how to eat. I think these kids are trying to learn how to eat--meaning they're trying to find who they are, they have no identity. All they know is what they see on TV. They haven't really traveled the world, they haven't really been in the world other than their twenty block radius. Just their zip code. Some trains just have a very angry mentality. The people just want to fight and that's how they relieve stress. I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt and everything.
Now, riding the L Train, I'm a lot different. Like if somebody bumps me I know it's not on purpose, they're not trying to throw their testosterone around, it's like, "oh, I bumped into you, it's crowded, excuse me." But if somebody bumps me on the 4, 5, or 6 train I'm turning around and I'm going to swing. Because I just know for a fact that they're pushing because they think they can get away with it. So you will see different types of people on different service lines, but sometimes it's hard to tell.
Like up on 135th Street, I've seen more white people who get off the train in Harlem than black people. I mean, I was in the Harlem Hospital for a week--white people walking around the street like nothing. That's weird to me because I grew up in Harlem and I hardly ever saw white people up there. I think they should change the name to The Mighty Whitey Ville. I'm kidding, but when people said, "I live in Harlem," it used to mean something, it meant "I live in the hood." Now the apartments up there are ridiculous. Twenty years ago you couldn't get me in an apartment over there. Now you're on a waiting list, and for a studio apartment you better have at least 2 Gs. They're not playing. I guess when Clinton and them moved up there it changed everything. And the black people were happy that they came until they realized that their rent was going to go up. They then wanted him out. And the weird part is he's only there once every two years.
But back to the L Train. There are a lot of people who shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's on 14th Street. If it's somebody from the hood, they're shopping at the closest corner store they can go to, some bodega or an A & P. They're not riding on a train to carry four shopping bags home. So you get to see the different dynamics on the L.
Even the way people dress on the L Train is different than people on the 4, 5, and 6 lines. On those lines they strictly dress more XXL magazine-style, or any black magazine you can think of. People on the L Train dress more like Vice magazine. I don't even know if it's a style, I just think that a lot of times they don't care and they get dressed in the dark. I don't know how they dress. I mean, I don't even think they really care. The people at Vice, I don't think anybody really cares about what people wear for the most part. One time I had something on that matched from socks to shirt to whatever else, and they were like, "man, you're always matching." And I'm like, "who leaves the house without thinking like that?"
Another reason I like the L Train is I know that if I'm coming home twisted, I know I won't wake up with my pockets empty and my wallet missing. That could happen to me on any other line, not that it has. I know that they'd actually have to think about it, is it worth the repercussions if I'm not drunk and just asleep? Also, I can tell a girl to come visit me by the L Train. I'm not worried about picking her up at the train station or her being at the train station or anything like that.
And as far as women on the L Train--now there's where it gets sketchy. I don't see many pretty ones. But then the pretty ones I do see all come work at Vice. Most of the pretty ones I see are just too young. Also, I'm used to looking at women who have breasts and butts, and the L Train doesn't carry that. They carry more whites or Asians or non-blacks or Puerto Ricans or Hispanics. I'm not saying white women or any other women aren't pretty, or developed in a woman's body, but some of them come butt-flat or flat-chested. It's genetics I guess, I don't know.
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