"Do you know what the G stands for?"

"What's that?"




So goes the story of the G train. The hated G train. This is a story about the most hated train in New York City, which I try to pass off as the best. It is a poor attempt with a weak pretence, but there are lots of pictures and a fine title graphic. Also there is an exciting little sister article. So now:

The G train is the only full time train that does not enter Manhattan. It is also the only line with its own website, and I'll be damned if it doesn't have its own virtual tour. Hence all the pictures I didn't take.

The G runs from the thick of Queens through the more interesting parts of Brooklyn. Each of the stations exiting into different worlds at different levels of chaos.

Depending where you are on the line, you can find:

Catholic schoolgirls, high-level executives in charcoal-gray 3 piece suits, steely eyed hipsters, yap-dogs in handbags, electricians, surly teenagers, sleepers, a diaper change, giggling middle schoolers, retail employees, MTA workers, first-generation immigrants, internet freelancers, high school dropouts, high school overachievers, long-distance commuters,
polish grandmothers, fashion designers, restaurant owners, bodega owners, stay-at-home moms, art students, weekly churchgoers, single mothers, single fathers, the hipfully unemployed, and other various sub-demographs.

But no performers. there are no performers on the G line. They prefer the L. Just like the rest of the world.

There are hundreds of thousands of native New Yorkers living dozens of their years in this city that will never once in their lives step inside the G train. They might not even really be sure where it runs. Why? because there is no need. There are other, more frequent trains that deliver them to the much more visitable areas of Brooklyn without the need of transferring to a second stop.

Besides, the G might not even be allowed to stop in those stations.

The G is the most misaligned line in New York City. Some consider it the misaligned line of New York City. It seems to duck and weave through the rest of the southern lines, avoiding their stations like Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix' Matrix in The Matrix III starring Keanu Reeves.

What this means is that trips to Mid/South Brooklyn is a pain in the ass.

The subway is an equalizer of sorts. Few can truly avoid it, the majority deal with it. By that I mean they rely on it.

Fun fact about New Yorkers: you can always be on their good side so long as you don't fuck with their commute. That's it really. Otherwise downright peachy people.

The inconsistency of the G line is almost admirable. There is the train of trains waiting on each other through the stations, just as there is the 30 minute lapse where personal schedules are destroyed. And there is the push of 16 cars worth of the E/V into 8 cars worth of the G after a solid 20 minute wait on the platform. It is a mighty sight. Lest we not forget the lone glassy eyed in the wee hours, where service is extended into the northeast of Queens, where the fluorescent overheads seem most bizarre. The G is a dynamic line.

Lose something? Your keys perhaps? How about your shoe. Maybe a pile of twenties...
Don't worry, It's all waiting for you at the station, ready to be picked up by YOU. The commuter.

Reminders of this and other perks of the MTA are displayed in cute little faux-ads, usually the most entertaining of all the postings.

The real advertisements aren't humorous at all. Some are downright lame. Most are for careers and higher education, though on any given day you might be subjected to full scale attacks from Budweiser, T Mobil, the latest NBC sitcom, or some crappy bank.

The cars themselves are of mid-range quality. The floors are strong and the poles are plenty. And while inconsistent, the G has proven to be one of the most reliable of all the New York trains. The G train will always be there, with its pure, green, light of glory. There is no unhappy ending with the cardboard sign telling us to go back to the map. The G is always true in the end.

The G is your most hated enemy, and your best-friend-in-the-end. It is a juxtaposition, because you are both ashamed and proud of your connection to it. It is a conversation piece between strangers, and gives you a reason to curse out loud.

What it comes down to is that the G does not have a direct connection into Manhattan, which means anyone entering the city will have a minimum of 2 waits, which means the G will never get the respect it deserves.

Otherwise its just another subway line.

Besides that.. it has best graffiti by far.


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