New York’s 50mph strip show

I’m on a new diet, which I like to call the Subway Diet. No, I don’t mean that I’m eating nothing but dubious meats (all made from turkey, regardless of what they outwardly claim to be) on footlong bread rolls. It might have worked for Jared Fogle, but the idea of eating Subway sandwiches twice a day for a year is enough to send me galloping into the arms of the nearest deep fat fryer.

Instead, this diet involves no change to your eating patterns whatsoever. No counting of calories, no avoiding carbohydrates, and no high protein milkshakes. Infact, all you need is one New York subterranean transit system and an oppressively hot summer. Add in an extended delay on a platform as you wait for a train to arrive, and you’ll be losing pound after pound in sweat before you know it. Just watch that weight drip off!

By the end of their journey, most passengers – myself very much included – look like they’ve just spent two hours in the wave pool at Rhyl Sun CentreHurricane Harbor. Sure, the carriages themselves are relatively cool, but there’s an ancient New York City by-law which decrees that at least one of the ten or so carriages on every train has to have broken air-conditioning. You might get a seat, but travelling in the transportational equivalent of a Turkish bath wouldn’t make it onto anyone’s list of 50 Things To Do Before You Die.

The heat on the platforms, coupled with the fact that trains are as regular as Halley’s Comet, means that people have started taking extra clothes with them to change into once they’ve arrived at work. I say “once they get to work”, but in reality, most people seem to wait until just before they reach their final stop and then whip out that new shirt or blouse to replace their sodden travel kit.

Essentially, New York has turned its subway trains into high speed changing rooms. With clothes hanging from metal rails, and commuters laden down with outfits for every occasion, it’s only a matter of time before they start installing mirrors in every carriage or ask how many items you’re taking onto the train before you board.

6 thoughts on “New York’s 50mph strip show

  1. amelie

    Eww… I’m so glad I’m not in the city right now. Although I’m a little too far from the water for comfort… in this kind of weather, I expect to be able to fall onto the beach. Hope it cools down soon!

  2. gabi

    I have the luxury of living at the top of a cliff and my subway station is super duper subterranean. All those hundreds of feet of rock above us keeps it cooler in my ‘hood. Transfers and going home is a different story. I think I need to consider bringing a change of clothes, maybe a change of hair too.

  3. Jan

    It’s miserably humid here as well, and set to get worse. This weekend we have temps forecast of 98/99F, so the heat index will put us in the 112F-115F range.

    I’m so glad I work from home most of the time. Just going grocery shopping right now is an ordeal.

  4. Brooklyn


    What about the old days, when the subway cars (Dylan, you forgot to follow your dual English convention in your use of “carriage” alone) were not airconditioned. Complaining about the hot stations (which are hotter because of the exhaust from the subway car air conditioners) but at least there is relief when the subway comes.

    As for the un-air conditioned cars, they provide a choice: sit and sweat or move to the next car and stand and be cooler. Actually, I usually sit, sweat and go into a semi-trance in the heat. Its like going to an ashram in Thailand for 30 minutes.

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