True Subway Stories

The Subway Stock Trader

I was riding the uptown #6 train on the Lexington Avenue Line from Spring Street to Grand Central, when I heard the broker speaking. I assumed he was some kind of stock broker or bond trader. I  had my back to him but he was speaking  very loudly on a cell phone about the various stocks and bonds he was buying ad selling.

Then It occurred to me that I did not understand how he was getting any cell phone reception underground in a moving subway.  I turned around to take a look at him and saw that he was not speaking on a cell phone, but instead had a banana held up to his ear.

Couch and Bananna 006

It was not a cell phone in the shape of a banana, but an actual banana he was speaking into. The New Yorkers around the crazy person were all completely ignoring him while he traded millions of dollars in imaginary stocks and bonds. I got off at Grand Central, and the banana subway trader continued his journey uptown.

A Bag of Treasure

Last Winter I was on the Path Train from 33rd Street to Hoboken very late at night. The only other rider in the car was a homeless man who had gotten on carrying clear see-through plastic bag. It was very large, the type of leaf bag used in the Fall.

The man was about fifty years of age and was  wearing a pair of old faded jeans and no shirt. He was guarding the bag like it had all the treasure in the world. Inside the bag were hundreds of different types of men’s shoes. There were sneakers, dress shoes, construction boots, rain boots, loafers, even saddle shoes. No two pairs were alike, but all of them were old and used. I never realized how many different styles of men’s  shoes existed..

The man guarding the shoes thought they were very precious indeed. Too precious to actually use. Despite the winter weather and the hundreds of shoes to choose from, the man was barefoot.

The train stopped in Hoboken and the doors opened. The homeless man eyed me suspiciously. I was careful to use the door furthest away from him, so he would not think I was trying to steal his treasure.  He stayed on the train to ride it back to 33rd street. Like many homeless people in winter he would ride the train back and forth for hours just to get out of the cold.

It is odd how a chance encounter like that can affect you. Ever since  that ride, I notice what type of shoes men are wearing, ad wonder if they appreciate them.

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