Sub City New York
February 28, 2011 5:46 PM   Subscribe

A short film about that moment when you emerge from the subway and find yourself in a new and sometimes unexpected world. [SLVimeo]
posted by Rickalicioso (28 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've always thought it was interesting how casually millions of New Yorkers walk down the stairs, board the train, then walk up the stairs in a different part of the city. It's a freaking engineering marvel, but so much of it is taken for granted. I guess that's good design.

Obviously the MTA is far from perfect and I've had my fair share of frustrations with the system, but big picture it's still amazing.

(I also like the slight slow motion effect. Made me feel like a wide-eyed tourist again, idealizing everything about this city before it started to slowly consume my soul. Kidding! Sorta.)
posted by Rickalicioso at 5:56 PM on February 28, 2011


I visited Paris this year (honeymoon!) and absolutely loved coming up from a new station and having no real idea what to expect. Some looked like any other, but many were new cities you arrived in. One of my favorite parts of the trip. Well, that and the food. And the Musée d'Orsay. And the wine. And, definitely, Centre Pompidou. But still, for each one, popping up out of the subway.
posted by Bovine Love at 6:13 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know the feeling.

I live in Sydney, and get off the train for work at Circular Quay station, with perhaps the most casually beautiful view of any piece of public transport infrastructure in the world. Harbour Bridge? Opera House? Ferries? Port Jackson? You pop out of the tunnel from Wynyard, and they're all there, in an arc a hundred-and-fifty degrees wide. It cheers me up every single morning.

What I've just done, however, which has confused me utterly, is head to youtube, to see if anybody's made any clips like this one featuring my favourite station, and found dozens—if not hundreds—of clips of the station's trains entering and leaving the platform. Not the amazing harbour, not the skyline, not the people, no. Just the boxy, humid, screeching Sydney trains. It defies understanding.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:18 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that they are so varied, any idea which station the elevator one is? It's got to be a deep station like 168.

I used to love getting out at GCT when I worked in midtown.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2011


What I've just done, however, which has confused me utterly, is head to youtube, to see if anybody's made any clips like this one featuring my favourite station, and found dozens—if not hundreds—of clips of the station's trains entering and leaving the platform. Not the amazing harbour, not the skyline, not the people, no. Just the boxy, humid, screeching Sydney trains. It defies understanding.

Trainspotters. They're still around.

I can kinda understand the impulse. Trains are these great gleaming dragon worms of steel and fire.

I came home last week and entered my home station from a different side then I usually do. Everything felt really strange.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:46 PM on February 28, 2011


I had a healthy suspicion about elevators as a small child. Not that I was afraid of them or didn't understand how they worked, just that I was suprised how everyone implicitly trusted these self-guided metal boxes that seemed to make the universe move, but you stayed still.

I was thinking "What, I'm just supposed to trust you on this? Oh, sure, I've seen the diagrams in the encyclopedia and the Mr. Rogers' clips about them. But unless I'm on the outside of this box, which I'm not allowed to be, all I really know is that I go in, the doors close, my stomach gets all wiggly, and then the doors open, and we are somewhere else."

I had totally forgotten about that moment in my early life. Thanks for jogging my memory.
posted by chambers at 6:54 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love this. And for some reason, while I was watching it I began to imagine that I was seeing it years from now, in some future world in which New York was destroyed or at least grievously altered, and I was an old woman. I got teary. It's just such a lovely slice of the life I lead every day, and take for granted.
posted by minervous at 6:54 PM on February 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


It makes me nostalgic for New York and I live here. Thanks.
posted by andromache at 6:55 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had to watch it twice to stop thinking "fuckin noob, quit filming on the stairs". Then I got angry again over the guy in the grey suit talking on his cell phone at the top of the stairs and the woman going down the left side of the stairs giving the camera a dirty look.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:08 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Must visit NYC again. In the autumn, most likely. Thanks for this, Rickalicioso. I love films that romanticize the city.
posted by bayani at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a denizen of a city that has exactly two light-rail lines, I really can't connect to these all that well. But man, that was a nice recording of the Satie piece.
posted by notsnot at 7:23 PM on February 28, 2011


I wish someone would make a similar video of that NYC moment when you're in a cab and suddenly two neighborhoods you know distinctly and independently knit together and you realize they're just steps away from each other, despite feeling like whole worlds apart.

Sure, this place is a pain in my ass and summer is cruel and unusual punishment, but these are the moments that make living stacked on top of 8 million other humans well worth it. Thanks.
posted by superfluousm at 8:13 PM on February 28, 2011


1. eric satie
2. slow motion
3. n/a
4. profit?

You could film just about anything with this formula.
posted by tighttrousers at 8:20 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


superfluousm: "I wish someone would make a similar video of that NYC moment when you're in a cab and suddenly two neighborhoods you know distinctly and independently knit together and you realize they're just steps away from each other, despite feeling like whole worlds apart."

I had a similar experience one particularly introspective day my first year here. I walked from campus (116th) down Broadway down to the Lower East Side. It was like I was knitting together the discrete neighborhoods that I had previously only seen at the top of the subway stairs. (Biking has made it all a lot more cohesive to me now.)
posted by Rickalicioso at 8:22 PM on February 28, 2011


Fiasco da Gama: "I live in Sydney, and get off the train for work at Circular Quay station, with perhaps the most casually beautiful view of any piece of public transport infrastructure in the world. Harbour Bridge? Opera House? Ferries? Port Jackson? You pop out of the tunnel from Wynyard, and they're all there, in an arc a hundred-and-fifty degrees wide. It cheers me up every single morning."

That sounds incredible. I've always wanted to visit Sydney.
posted by Rickalicioso at 8:23 PM on February 28, 2011


Something about this was way more affectively arresting than I had expected.
posted by LMGM at 8:56 PM on February 28, 2011


wish she/he had filmed more exits, more neighborhoods. great piece, lovely use of this music.
posted by noway at 9:22 PM on February 28, 2011


To be surprised coming out of the subway in New York City is one of the finest things I've ever known. (Same experience in Paris or London a tight second). Because the street-scape of New York is like the fur of some animal. From the most macroscopic it seems like it's all the same chaotic mess of people and cars moving in more or less the same directions. But to come out of the subway by an unfamiliar exit suddenly makes the city new and specific again. Stores look strange, the directions people are moving in is odd - shouldn't downtown be that way? What're those trees?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:01 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Today I rode on the Bart today in SF, coming out of the airport. It made the most otherworldy sound, like the howls of the damned, coming through the tunnel. I actually took out my cellphone to record it.

Emerged to a run down Daly City with a broken down escalator, like out of a David Lynch film.

but...free bus pass!
posted by hellojed at 12:53 AM on March 1, 2011


Wonderful. Emerging from the underground into sunlight and life is a mini-rebirth that never fails to make me feel grateful.
posted by benzenedream at 1:40 AM on March 1, 2011


The first time I got the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf in London hit me completely. I was so stunned by it all I froze. I felt like I'd somehow arrived at on a different planet.

This was after living in London for 2 years and having gone to Canary Wharf many times, but always by other routes. Just something about the journey through the station to ground level and to find myself surrounded by a overwhelming manufactured environment, it threw me completely.

And I was only there to change trains to the DLR.
posted by Helga-woo at 6:49 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Emerging from the subway is indeed a notable experience, and I've made a point not to take it for granted on countless occasions. I gotta say though, for these folks to claim it as something especially New York... New Yorkers seem to excel at that kind of self indulgence. For me, emerging from an unfamiliar subway station was always followed immediately by a glance in the four cardinal directions and a mumble "Ok uh... which direction is the lake?"
posted by rlk at 7:00 AM on March 1, 2011


rlk: "I gotta say though, for these folks to claim it as something especially New York... New Yorkers seem to excel at that kind of self indulgence."

I don't think they claim it as exclusively a New York thing: "Sub City New York is part of a larger series that will be filmed in London, Moscow, Paris and Hong Kong."
posted by Rickalicioso at 7:37 AM on March 1, 2011


> I gotta say though, for these folks to claim it as something especially New York... New Yorkers seem to excel at that kind of self indulgence.

Nobody's claiming that, but thanks for the mindless nugget of prejudice.

Great clip; makes me painfully nostalgic for my former stomping grounds!
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on March 1, 2011


"You could film just about anything with this formula"
 --tighttrousers

That's like the anti-Yakkety Sax.
posted by not_on_display at 9:01 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, guess I hit a nerve with my mention of the New York centricism of a video "about that moment in New York." Steinberg's "View of the World from Ninth Avenue" is an equally mindless nugget of prejudice then?
posted by rlk at 10:07 AM on March 1, 2011


Wow, guess I hit a nerve with my mention of the New York centricism of a video "about that moment in New York."

No one said, "This is about that New York moment of emerging from the subway, which only ever happens in New York City and nowhere else in the world ever at any time." This installment of the video series is, specifically, about emerging from the NYC transit system into a New York neighborhood. It was shot in actual subway stations and neighborhoods in New York. To call it self-indulgent for acknowledging its setting is reading too much into it, I think. That's like criticizing me for having an excessively sandwich-centric conversation with the guy behind the counter at the deli at lunch today.

And I swear I'm trying to go all aggressive New Yorker on your ass, rlk - your greater point about the uniqueness of this moment in other cities is echoed by many of the other commenters above and makes me want to go ride all the subways all around the world.

It's just when the trope of "New Yorkers make everything about New York" pops up , my lizard brain activates. This is my city. There are many like them, but this one is mine.
posted by superfluousm at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2011


Or should say, swear I'm not trying to be an ass to rlk. One day I will replace the hams currently attached to my arms with actual digits.
posted by superfluousm at 4:04 PM on March 1, 2011


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