On Board #5

Confused? Look here. Then read on:

August 12, 6:41 p.m.
B Train – 42nd Street to 7th Avenue

Three Asian men board the train at 42nd street, painters by trade if the splotches of white – and only white – paint on their shirts and jeans and hands are to be believed. They are all roughly the same age, around 35, their faces wrinkled much older by jobs that are unkind to skin.

Two of them sit and converse in what your reporter guesses is Korean, both wearing navy blue hats, one with a Syracuse logo, the other a large “NY” in the front and a series of “New York”s curling from the brim, strangely bent like a cycling cap, to the Velcro strap in back. The other man stands five feet away silently grasping the center pole with his left hand and a thin silver pole nearly as tall as the subway’s, but half the diameter. He also holds a piece of corkscrew piping that looks like it connects to some machine somewhere, and suggests perhaps some drywall work – electricians? – more than painting.

The train holds for several minutes at Broadway-Lafayette, one stop short of their destination. A southbound V finally appears across the track (no one leaves or boards our car). The three men look out the window at nothing. The train waits for several more minutes, the V long gone. Finally it departs, and drops the men at Grand St. – one can only hope this is home, not work.

Now a South Asian man, around 60, is the only man amid sundresses and business suits with paint splotches on his clothes. His are white and maroon and a splash of peach.


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