Wednesday, April 05, 2017


All my life I’ve enjoyed riding, watching and trying to understand trains. They have a lot of symbolism to me that I can’t quite describe.

Growing up in the streets of Brooklyn, NY, I would take subways to various places, and I always was excited as a youngster, looking down the distant track in a tunnel that suddenly came alive with the distant train headlights flickering made for excitement as it flew into the station coming to a screeching halt.

Often waiting under the el of the Broadway Junction as it clamored overhead while I waited for a light to change to cross the street, amazed me that it sat so close to the edge of the elevated track, blue lightning announcing its passing overhead and the noise so loud it hurt.

Then there were the times I took the train with my Dad from Brooklyn to Patchogue, walking from my house to Atlantic Avenue and the elevated Long Island train station with its many archways that line the platform on both sides of the tracks. This was the passageway to freedom, the journey from the grime to the green, the dark to the sun. Every step of the way was filled with anticipation of joy and of not only the destination but also the journey itself! The closer I got to that station with its gray brick blocks, opened archways and glass block enclosures, the more my heart beat!

The LIRR promised me two things, the big locomotives that launched tons of metal forward and the little circles of windows that at on the end of each car, telling me that: "Yes! This is it! Come aboard!"

When looking at those behemoth Steel monsters, spewing black and grey smoke from their stacks, I would shudder from the noise, and power, the tremor of the spot I stood on, the largeness and loudness of the clanging metal of cars pushing into one another, the rhythm of the clamoring bell as it tolled slowly as the train moved.

It seemed everyone dressed up for such occasions, men wore hats and jackets with ties and women with their finest dress, hats, and children all decked out in their finest. These sights are forever gone.


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