Artist and sculptor George Ferrandi’s “it felt like i knew you” series: in which she sat next to subway passengers and pretended to fall asleep on their shoulders. Would they push her away? Get up and move to another seat? Smile and enjoy the moment? 

I’ve certainly fallen asleep on some unknown shoulders in my time — except I tend to toss my leg over theirs, and when I’m really comfortable, drool.

Ferrandi told the Atlantic Cities: ”Each time I did this, I had no idea what to expect from the person next to me, so every reaction was surprising. I think the general assumption would be that the reactions might break down along gender lines, with women being understandably more protective of their space, but it really didn’t happen that way. There was no predictable pattern to peoples’ responses, which is part of what is interesting about it. I’m not sure we could even predict what our own responses would be in this situation.”

She was tall and beautiful, a writer. He fell for her, hard. They met in the Hamptons 34 years ago, and became lovers. But after a few months, they decided to part ways. They had dinner, one last time…

"When dinner was over we walked to the subway entrance at Lexington and 68th. She lived downtown and I lived up. She went down one flight of stairs and I went down the other. It was late, the platforms were mostly empty, no trains came, and it was very quiet.

"We stood on opposite sides of the tracks and looked at each other. The light was bright where she was standing, and between us, where the tracks and the pillars are, it was dark. Time passed, but no trains came. We stood and looked at each other across the gap.

"It was the saddest moment I remember of my years in the city. Eventually, I could stand it no longer. I went back upstairs and took a cab home." [Bill Brigham in the NYT]

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Splosh! Junking old subway cars in the ocean. 

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Next Stop: Atlantic by Stephen Mallon.

If you’re in NYC, photographs from the above series will be viewable through June 28th as part of Drawn to Water, a floating photography exhibit aboard the East River Ferry that also features Joni Sternbach’s SurfLand and David Doubilet’s Underwater Creatures for the first month. Subsequent months for three months will feature different photographers. 

Artist as Stalker: Bee Johnson & the Illustrated Train

Bee Johnson is an artist in Harlem, originally from Memphis, Tennessee, whose work I first caught in the Tumblr spotlight — an illustration of a man lying down on a subway bench, titled “This is what not caring looks like.”

It’s part of her beautifully-rendered series, "The Illustrated Train," which basically involves spying on the commuters around her and recording her observations in her sketchbook.

"If I happen to be standing on a crowded train and can’t comfortably draw or only have a stop before I have to get off," she wrote, "I’ll try to discreetly snap a photo (no flash!) with my phone and base my illo on that. (I know I sound like a total creep, but what can you do? Sometimes the best ones are gone in a flash.)"

She held forth on a few of the images from the series.

"I noticed this girl near Park Slope on the F train," she wrote about the girl below. "She was sitting there bundled up in her scarf and mittens, and all I could think was that a little gold leaf halo was the only thing standing between her and sainthood. And because my imagination is a little wild, there was a part of me that suspected she may have tumbled out of a painting at the Met."

 

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The couple below, she wrote, “boarded the train together, sat down across from me, and then the woman started to cry. The two didn’t seem to be fighting with each other because the man turned to her with tremendous tenderness as soon as he saw the tears. He held her face in his hands until she began to smile again. It was such an intimate moment - and beautiful to see her mood improve in the time it takes to travel two stops.”

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"When this mother-daughter duo stepped onto the 2 train in Harlem, the little girl’s hair was loose and wild. I’m talking about some serious bedhead. By the time they stepped off at 14th street, it was in perfect braids. I loved watching the mother multi-tasking on her morning commute, and it reminded me of how different it must be to grow up in the city.”

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"When you’re stressed for time, what you might normally do in the privacy of your own home simply has to happen mid-commute. (And as a people watcher, I am so glad this is the case.) This guy got on at Wall Street, and based on his costume change, I can only assume he’s dating a Brooklyn gal. Off went the black suit and on went the vintage velvet blazer. I watched him transform from Stock Broker to Hipster in three short stops. Wanted to wish him well on his date, but I thought better of it and held my tongue."

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How much $$$ do your fellow subway commuters make? 
The New Yorker, in all its statistical brilliance, has tried to answer that question with this interactive infographic, "Inequality and New York’s Subway." (the purple  labels and dollar figures are mine)
It uses census data associated with the tract in which each subway stop is located. 
In the graphic above, I’ve focused on the L line, which runs from Chelsea to Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway with multiple stops in hipsterdom. 
While L line commuters who live near the 14th St/Union Square stop have a median household income of $109,637, those who get off at at Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg have a median household income of $57,969 while those just 4 stops further, at Montrose Ave., earn less than half as much, at $23,865. 
Citywide, the highest household income was $205,192, at the Chambers St and Park Place stops of the 2 and 3 lines and the WTC stop of the E line — they’re all in the same census tract.
A number of subway stops have median household incomes below $20k, but Sutter Ave. on the L line has the distinction of being the poorest subway stop, at $12,288.

How much $$$ do your fellow subway commuters make? 

The New Yorker, in all its statistical brilliance, has tried to answer that question with this interactive infographic, "Inequality and New York’s Subway." (the purple  labels and dollar figures are mine)

It uses census data associated with the tract in which each subway stop is located. 

In the graphic above, I’ve focused on the L line, which runs from Chelsea to Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway with multiple stops in hipsterdom. 

While L line commuters who live near the 14th St/Union Square stop have a median household income of $109,637, those who get off at at Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg have a median household income of $57,969 while those just 4 stops further, at Montrose Ave., earn less than half as much, at $23,865. 

Citywide, the highest household income was $205,192, at the Chambers St and Park Place stops of the 2 and 3 lines and the WTC stop of the E line — they’re all in the same census tract.

A number of subway stops have median household incomes below $20k, but Sutter Ave. on the L line has the distinction of being the poorest subway stop, at $12,288.