..Jon Simonds..


It's time for tinsel town to slip underground and nail down what should be the single greatest sitcom since the county of Queens brought us Edith and Archie. Only forget Queens, because the stage for this one belongs in Brooklyn, New York.

I live in Brooklyn and of all the services Brooklyn provides, none can touch the subway. Once those subway doors slide open, any situation can arise. Believe me, as a Brooklynite, I've seen a lot of incredible things on the subway. I've seen so many things, it's occurred to me that Brooklyn may very well be the center of the Universe. If it's out there, at least two of it resides in Brooklyn and I'll guarantee you one of them is working for, or riding on, the subway.

I'm not complaining, mind you. When I first started riding the subway, way back when The Beatles were conquering America, the fare was a measly 25¢. Now the fare has risen to two bucks a ride.

In spite of all the legal groups claiming class discrimination EVERYTIME THERE IS fare hike, I don't think two dollars is a lot to pay for a corporation that, according to Mr. Tom Harrington of the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn, has laid over 700 miles of track to shuttle millions of New Yorkers to and from work, every day. Can you imagine over 700 miles of track?

Mr. Harrington went onto explain that there are over 230 route miles of which Brooklyn is the leader with 84. Can you fathom the cost of maintaining this mileage? Let's not even discuss, as The New York Daily News once did, the elaborate multi-million dollar collection of art the Transit Authority has on display for your viewing pleasure; or, the pleasure of viewing a topless bar operating in a Transit owned piece of property somewhere in Queens. It's not cheap rivaling the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or competing with the likes of Goldfingers or Scores. (Hmmm. I wonder if you can use your Metrocard to buy beer?)

How can you overlook the potential of the subway as a sitcom? The show could revolve around three stars serving as Conductors on the D train. Get me Noriyuki "Pat" Morita; Jimmy "JJ" Walker; Katie Poff. (Katie Poff? Dizzy blonde up the street. You have to see her.) It beats a night at the Comedy Club and it's cheaper too. Each week you could bring back the glory of T.V. personalities passed. Archie Bunker leaves Queens for lobster on the Bay. Felix and Oscar do linguini in the Ridge. Isn't Mary Tyler Moore from Brooklyn?

I mean, how can you not love the subway? One of my fondest memories is of pulling into the Dekalb Avenue station on the D train. The conductor, as per training for the course, announces the stop.

"Dekalb Avenue," he crackles over the sound system. "Change here for the B, the Q, the R or the N. B train across the platform. Next stop, Grand street in Manhattan. Watch the closing doors."

I watch the doors close. I don't know why I watch the doors close. People have been telling me to watch the doors close for so long now, I guess there's no getting around it. I hear the familiar ding-dong and watch the doors close, and then I hear the familiar ding-dong and watch them open all over again.

"I'm sorry," the conductor cackles. "This train is being delayed due to a train in front of us. We should be moving shortly."

This is one of the few occasions when subway riders glance nervously around at one another. Usually, subway riders nervously avert glancing around at one another, but on this rare occasion they do glance at one another until the familiar sound of Avon's call fills anxious ears and the static riddled voice of the conductor adds,

"Watch the closing doors."

I watch the closing doors and wait for the train to proceed, but there are times when the doors close and the train goes nowhere. After a few minutes, we get another blast from the Avon Lady and then the conductor is explaining life and all the little surprises it so often harbors.

"Attention, please," he begins. "I've been informed that this D trains is no longer a D train, but an N train. If you need the D train kindly take the B train across the platform as it will be making D train stops. The next stop on this train will be Canal Street, on the N line. I repeat, this D train is no longer a D train but an N train. If you want to make D trains stops, kindly take the B across the platform. B train riders will have to wait for the N train which will become a B trains as soon as it pulls into this station. The B train, which will read N train, is behind this D train that, due to a stalled train on the bridge, has been re-routed to an N train. Watch the closing doors."

This is where the importance of such childhood games as Simon Says rear its significant head in adult living. I have never seen so many adults racing through subway doors, slam-dancing into one another for the sake of a single seat in all my life. Any minute now, I expect the conductor to announce, "I didn't say Simon Says!"

Still, it is the best ride in town. Where else in Brooklyn can you get turned around so smoothly, so quickly? You think you're better off in a car? If you're not sitting in traffic or plowing over potholes, you're probably blaring the horn.

Like riding the bus? Buses are a lot like cops, you know. You'll never find one when you need one. Not in this town. I think I'll stick with the subway. It's educational. It's reader's paradise. The libraries should be so full, and when you've finished your book or newspaper, you have all those signs to read on the side of subway cars. My favorite ones are those presented by subway officials, such as the "Poetry in Motion" series. Or better, the "Ride Smart. Sub-Talk" series. I wonder if they could use another writer?

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