Friday, October 7, 2011

Boston subway adventures with[out] Charlie, Part One

Since my recently-confirmed gig with NYCCAH does not start until November 1st, I am trying to fill my time with activities. Yesterday I joined Boston Cares, but before I can begin volunteering with the organization, I had to attend a volunteer orientation session. Mine was today at 6:00PM in Roxbury, a section of Boston that is known/thought to be crime-ridden, poverty-stricken, and minority-inhabited. I love traveling to parts of the city like Roxbury, places that I never had reason to visit when I was a teeny-bopping suburbanite, places that now entice me as a wannabe city-slinger.

To get to the small library in Roxbury I took the Orange Line; in addition to the Orange Line, the Boston subway system also features the Red, Green, Blue, and Silver Lines. I most often take the Red Line to Cambridge, and the Green Line from my home in Newton to Downtown Boston. It is quite interesting to compare and contrast the experiences riding the different colored lines.

I saw striking variations between the Green and Orange Lines. First, people on the Orange are even more quiet than those on the Green, and perhaps even more tired-looking; as partial explanation, I should say that the Green Line passes by many colleges, including Northeastern, Suffolk, Berkeley College of Music, and Boston University. Second, people are darker on the Orange: definitely more black people and Hispanics. Thirdly, there are much fewer riders tapping their iphones on the Orange than on the Green.

While the above-noted variances are obvious in theory, given the economic and demographic disparities of the neighborhoods the trains travel through, I still find it pretty fascinating to see these differences so starkly in front of my own eyes.

Since I have some time on my hands before November 1st, I am thinking of carrying out my rust-ridden mission of riding all of the MBTA subway lines in a day, á la "Charlie on the MTA." There's really no reason why I shouldn't do it, besides the fear of being strange, and perhaps the fear of feeling like I am wasting my time; the truth is though that no one will be able to see me sitting there all day, and even if they were able to, they should think my plan funny...right?! And I won't be tired, but fresh and well-slept. ¿Qué piensan ustedes?

1 comment:

Sanaz Arjomand said...

do it! and take lots of notes, videos, pictures, etc.