On an average day, nearly 5.7 million people travel on the New York City subway system. These tunnels run like veins and arteries under the island of Manhattan. Between these 5.7 million people there are infinite numbers of interactions between them that occur 24 hours and 7 days a week all while taking mass transit.
I am one of 5.7 million. I have an hour commute from The Bronx to Manhattan to get to school, friends, and family. I’m guilty as almost every other commuter of staring, dead-eyed at my phone screen for that hour long trip underground. But not just being on the train, I’m guilty of scrolling through classes, in-person conversations, dinners, parties, whatever. This constant connectivity to a device is a problem.
I started just observing, being present on my commute. These people were friends, lovers, parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents. They were together in this cramped metal snake that lurched its way through Manhattan’s underbelly. The subway is home to the homeless, the hungry, performers, singers, magicians, conspiracy theorists and artists. But for most of us, it's just a way to get from point A to point B. If one pays attention long enough you can catch these tender moments, one can bear witness to hugging, kissing, and warm hand holding. Even the weary eyes and battered hands of city workers, as they desperately try and stay awake on the train ride home. All of these moments solidify what so many often forget: people are people.