When I was a young girl living in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, I would take the subway to Grand Central Terminal every day to attend High School. This was considered 42nd Street on the East Side of Manhattan. I remember it as a huge station with beautiful lighting and several stairways leading to different subways than ran underground. You could travel for hours on one token fare which in those days was probably .15 cents. You inserted the token to go through the turnstile and off you’d go.
I loved the subway. You could read sitting or standing with one hand holding a strap that protruded from the ceiling of the subway to keep your balance and the other holding your book. Somehow you knew how many stops to count before you reached your destination. Might sound complicated, but it wasn’t. Last November I ventured back in to the city via the Long Island Railroad (the LIRR) which makes it’s way in to New York’s Penn Station at 34th Street. There, I met my son and we took the subway to his home in Brooklyn except this time around, the cost is $2.00 printed on a computer card that you insert in the turnstile to gain entrance – no more tokens! The subway was packed with rush hour traffic and there were no seats; just bunches of people hanging on to poles, straps and doing their own balancing act. The experience was definitely déjà vu.
Time has a way of getting away from us and I could hardly believe it had been at least forty five years since the last time I rode the subway. Back in those days, there were the many smells of all the different foods emanating from the vendors along with the clothing shops, candy stores (lofts) which very popular back in the fifties. There were bakery and pizza shops and little booths that charged .25 cents to get your pictures taken. You sat and made a face or smile as you inserted the coin and voilà, in a few minutes out came four little pictures.
We would go to Grand Central on the weekend and then switch to a subway for one stop to Times Square which would be 42nd on the West Side. All of the famous theatres, movie houses and stores were located on the many different streets. You could walk and window shop, stop for a bite to eat and of course, see a matinee. You could stand on line and get tickets for a Broadway show that same day for a reduced price. Just taking the train into Grand Central led you to all different destinations. People take this ride everyday to work, to school, for recreation and just plain enjoyment.
Awhile back I purchased a beautiful black and white print in a thin black frame of this famous landmark. In the lower left corner of the painting are the words Grand Central Station 1934 written in white. For many of my friends who are not native to New York, they are thrilled to see the famous landmark. Most recall the name and if they haven’t already, express a longing desire to someday visit NYC and ride the train to Grand Central. I enjoy looking at my framed print time and again. It always evokes a happy memory of myself as a young school girl. In the future I know my children will look at this print and remember how their Mom loved it.
Current Mood: Happy & Surprised