Anybody who’s taken the tube in London will know that for every twenty train drivers who make boring anodyne announcements, there’s one who will play to his captive audience with a witty running commentary to keep the journey entertaining. Back in the days of catching the Northern line to Camden Town, there was a regular driver who would regale us with stories of all the fun that we could all be having if only we were overground. And there’s always one driver who will decide that attempts at humour are the best way to deflect people’s attention from the fact that everybody’s been stuck in a tunnel for thirty five minutes.
Here in New York, most of the announcements on both the platforms and the trains are unintelligible. Not because of the person doing the talking, but because the sound system is so bad that even a simple phrase such as “all the trains are f**ked, you’re going to have to walk home” is rendered impossible to hear by the average citizen.
The only time I have been able to hear the announcements in the last two weeks coincided with a driver whose brand of chat was more surreal than stand-up, with one line particularly standing out:
“Ladies and gentlemen, this used to be my favourite stop – it’s Second Avenue.”
Does anybody really have a favourite subway stop? What’s his favourite stop now? And more importantly, what did Second Avenue do to make our driver foresake it??