What does it mean to be Miss G Train? I believe whoever is crowned Miss G Train should embody the traits of the G Train itself. While I am not metallic or tube-shaped, and I do not live underground, I do have some things in common with the underdog of the New York City transit system. I am frequently, inexplicably late. I also associate with people from all walks of life, from Church Avenue to Court Square—and occasionally, all the way to 71st Avenue. And I never go into Manhattan. I do not charge friends $2.25 to see me, although I plan to start.
I also believe Miss G Train should have an appreciation for the quirks of this underground version of the BQE. Some might say the train is too short for the platform, but I say running for that last car is good aerobic exercise. And the slow pace of the G gives one time to think, or to work on one’s hobbies. If it’s rush hour and you’ve been waiting on the platform for 20 minutes, don’t pace angrily—take up knitting! As a matter of fact, I wrote this essay while waiting for the G train.
When I’m pissed off, I call it the Green Goblin. When it does right by me, I hail it the Pickle Express. But at the end of the day, I always accept-and love- the G.
When I raced in the Idiotarod, my team transformed a shopping cart into the G train. As the conductor, I shouted unintelligible instructions through a megaphone to everyone and anyone. Our strategy was to move as slowly as possible, stop where we felt like it, and sometimes go off the route all together. If that’s not tribute, if that’s not love, you tell me what is.
Why should I wear the Miss G train sash? I would represent the G train with pride. It runs through my favorite ‘hoods, no doubt. And I understand the G. For I too am an unpredictable, outerboro-embracing enigma who doesn’t much like working on weekends. G train, I can’t promise I won’t rip the holy hell out of you when your short self takes off before I had a chance to sprint towards the MIDDLE of the platform, but nobody loves you like me, G, and I will defend you to the end of the line. Which I hope will be Church Ave. , 7 days a week, very very soon.
Kelly J Fox
My name is Kelly J Fox. I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I moved to the city to pursue a career in the theatre. While waiting for my big break, I have developed a passion for baking. It was a rocky beginning, but at least we knew the smoke alarms were in working order. Eventually I found my niche with cupcakes. Now I look for excuses to bake and decorate these scrumptious treats for any occasion. From birthdays, to anniversaries, to coming out of the closet, my cupcakes always make an impression.
A large percentage of my friends live in Queens, so I maintain the stressful ritual of carrying my creations to them. The subway is not the safest place for a cupcake, so I need the quickest route. The G train, with its direct course and roomy interior is the coziest cupcake caravan. A cupcake or two has been lost in the crowded commute through Manhattan, so I stick to the G’s reliable inter-borough service. I make the train smell like fresh, sweet cupcakes, and the smiles I get from my fellow borough-dwellers make me believe that I deserve to be Miss G train, 2009.
Hi Brooklyn, or anyone listening. You’re asking who should be the next Miss G Train, and I’m going to try to answer. My journalism professor brought this up to me today, while we were sitting on the steps of the NYU law school, waiting for the ceremony honoring domestic workers. She laughed, I huffed, but I took her seriously. She said, “I thought about you when I read about the ‘Miss G Train contest’”. Well, why not me?
It’s easy to just say that I’m an avid G Train rider, but would that mean anything?Because for most of us living in the Clinton Hill, Williamsburg, Church Avenue areas, I think I can easily say we all ride the G train – avidly. No, that’s not all I am Brooklyn. I’m a G Train pioneer woman, like those in My Antonia. I stop at no lengths to trek across the G Train rails or to stand, knees-aching, hiding myself behind a pole from a pervert ogling like his life depends on it.
But I’m not just any G Train pioneer woman. For the lack of baby on my hip or cow patties on my boots, I exchange my discomforts to standing, not sitting mind you, to allow older, younger, prettier, funnier, meaner, or even manlier G Train pioneers a seat on the G wagon. Their eyes convey a relief that their mouths aren’t so used to saying on a cramped G train – thank you. It’s simple why I do it, because I’m sort of a G Train cowgirl.
I ride my silver horse named G to places all over Brooklyn, to partake in tasks that might deem me a G Train Robin Hood. Every other Thursday morning I find myself working at a food Pantry on Classon called the Child Development Support Coalition. Like a Mother G-resa I spend three wonderful hours with families I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Families that honestly make me smile like nothing else can. I shake hands of real G’s, and we talk as I bag their groceries, hoping I can give them one luxury in their otherwise harrowing lives. On Mondays and Wednesdays I’m transfixed again, amusing first graders at the Community Partnership Charter School down the block. Though they can name their letters passed G, I help them sculpt their words into stories about cowgirls and pioneer women, and make even the meaner children smile.
I’m a Service Projects Coordinator, a soon to be Editor-N-Chief, an intern, a full time student at Pratt Institute paying for my own college, a girlfriend, a daughter of a mistreated mother, a sister to a noble brother, a friend, a Hall Council Chair, a Community Service Chair, a runner, a lifeguard, a tutor, a hothead, but for the various minutes I stand, rhythmically swaying in my G Train Wagon, I’m just a G Train rider. I look around the train and see people I have never seen. I see people with fur on their coats, BlackBerries on hand, no phones in their pockets, holes in their pants, eight kids, no kids, no friends, too many friends and I think about their lives and my life and how at that moment we’re on a train, a wagon, a silver horse, together, going places both literally and figuratively. We make eye contact, a few times, and think “hi”.
What is being “Miss G Train” all about? It’s about being that girl on the train that stands, not sits mind you, to allow others a seat. It’s about being that girl that makes sure her iPod isn’t playing too loudly and annoying others. It’s about being that girl that smiles at anyone besides the ogling pervert, and waving like a moron at babies and toddlers who couldn’t care less. It’s about being that girl that apologizes for stepping on a toe or touching a hand and saying “it’s okay” when someone else apologizes. It’s about being that girl that couldn’t seem more naive and nerdy, but is unable to be broken no matter how hard someone tries. She’s a girl that stands up for her beliefs and others’ beliefs, and even tattooed Ferdinand the Bull on her wrist to show that more clearly when words fail. She’s a little blond girl from a small town in Virginia, who told everyone differently the day she packed up and moved to Brooklyn. Now that girl is a pioneer woman, a cowgirl and a Robin Hood. She’s a proud Brooklynite, an avid G Train rider (if that’s not too meaningless) and the hopeful and grateful recipient of the title, “Miss G Train”.
When I moved here one year ago I naively assumed for some reason that the “G” must be an acronym for Greenpoint since it’s the only train in the neighborhood. That’s where I live, on Newell Street, four blocks from the Nassau Avenue stop. I work for an Italian wine importer. Wine is what makes my world go round, and thanks to the slowly chugging wheels on that “little engine that could” I am able to easily travel around the county of Kings to meet with shops and restaurants to share the good juice.
The G train always shows up. Indeed it is often the tortoise rather than the hare, but I always know that if I wait long enough, it will arrive. Furthermore, the G train offers long blocks of time to dip into the pages of my current read and a solid excuse for tardiness. “So sorry I’m late, I took the G,” is often all that need be said to provoke silent nods of understanding and forgiveness.
Almost everyone who lives in Brooklyn realizes that it’s got it all over Manhattan. Less crowds, more trees, squat buildings, and a little more kitch. It’s got character, history, and moxie to boot. That lime colored line that crawls up and down the borough hits up a variety of demographics, each stop offering a different dynamic, though all quite surely Brooklyn-esque. The Greenpoint Avenue stop is where the old Polish ladies board, the Metropolitan stop brings the hipsters, at the 7th Avenue station mother’s alight with strollers and canvas shopping bags. One of my favorite stops is the Smith Street station. I have been told that it’s outdoor tracks and platform mark the highest elevation in the entire New York City subway system. The air smells fresher up there. Bragging
rights for sure.
With Sesame Street shades of orange, lion’s mane gold, and worn down exteriors, the G is ever-so vintage in an urban pop art sort of way. It’s retro, and retro styles always seem to strike some cord of nostalgia on a subconscious level. The G train is the only line with conductors that hold the doors if they see me sprinting toward their opening. Since the cars cruise through at rather unpredictable time intervals, this is much appreciated. As is the sense of comfort and relief when I finally climb aboard the chariot that will take me home.
I notice many families with young children on the G, a number of foreigners as well. Sometimes they ask me for directions, which feeds my ego and makes me feel like a true New Yorker, worthy of a supporting role in a Woody Allen film about the characters, idiosyncrasies, and esoteric rhythm of the city, until I realize that I am not a New Yorker. I live in Brooklyn, and I take the G train, which makes me funny, in a lovable loser kind of way. Sort of like Charlie Brown.
Carting a half dozen bottles of vino, donned in loafers and a neon orange knit hat, I peruse the latest copy of Edible Brooklyn and await that green caterpillar, that squeaking snake, that light at the end of my tunnel.
It is with great enthusiasm that I apply for the honor of being crowned “Miss G Train.” Let me start off by telling you a little about myself. I’m a 27 year old writer/producer for WE tv. I’ve been an Astoria, Queens resident for over 2 and a half years, and will soon be co-hosting a show called Technically Tomorrow for QPTV in 2010.
One of the first questions I asked myself when beginning to write this essay was, “What do the G train and I have in common?” My initial reaction was, “Almost nothing.” Certainly, at first glance, it seems like the G train and I come from two different worlds. For starters, I spend far more time in Queens than the G train. I also pride myself on my punctuality and reliability. I almost never smell like urine and would never, ever let a homeless person ride me.
But upon further examination, I found that I could relate to the G train about certain things. I even admire it in some ways. For example, the G train runs so infrequently that it probably hits far less people than any other train. Neither of us wants to travel into Manhattan, and like the G train, I try to have a sense of humor about things. I don’t take my life or my job too seriously. Recently the G train extended service deeper into Brooklyn, meaning it’s now working longer and harder – pretty much the only two qualities I look for in a man.
Lucky for me, I found a man who embodies both of those qualities, and he happens to live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, right off of the G train! So, I like to call the G train, the “love train.” I am truly grateful for the service the G train provides me, and as “Miss G Train” I promise to always live up to the same standard of excellence as set by the G train.
I’m submitting for Miss G train with a success story. I used to have to take the G train to get home every day to Kingsland Ave in Greenpoint. But I worked hard, saved my money and moved OUT of Greenpoint! Now I’m living in the Lower East Side and I haven’t even SEEN the G train much less ridden on it for at least 2 years. Sometimes I see that green G circle and I feel the slightest tinge of sadness for a time when I hung out on a roof with a bunch of dirty people from the midwest, smoking cigarettes and staring out at the Twin Towers, until they were disintegrated, but usually I just appreciate the fact that I can ride a bike anywhere I want to go now.
My name is Chelsea Tapper. I am a 17-year old senior at The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates. I am a born and bred Brooklynite, a native of Greenpoint. As any G rider knows, one of the most popular stops on the G is Greenpoint Avenue. Therefore, I am a prime candidate for Miss G Train. The G is a train for the real people, the working class. We take the train out of necessity. We know the G train’s service is sub-par, at best. However, it’s our train, and we love it! I use the G every day to travel back and forth between home and school. It is my weekday routine to catch it every morning at approximately 6:30 a.m. My total trip takes about one hour; 20 minutes of this is spent waiting for the G train alone! Naturally, I’ve learned patience waiting for the G. The G train, nonetheless, is reserved for the best of the best, namely Brooklyn (and parts of Queens). Its tracks never reach into Manhattan, the Bronx or Staten Island; that makes us special. The G train – gritty and grueling, but genuinely Greenpoint!
In my world, I blame the G train for my troubles.
Its route isn’t long enough for me to finish a proper book on, but it takes too long for me to just not read anything at all. When I have to get to work in Queens on time, on Thursday mornings, it’s so crowded I’m practically dry humping the next person. And that’s when it shows up; I’ve had to wait a half hour for it. Going to work in Bed-Stuy isn’t bad, I get off at Flushing Ave. with all the Hasidic Jewish mothers and their strollers, walk past the empty Pfizer plant to the middle school where I tutor math. But getting back home, I’m always under the gaze of a police officer across the tracks.
In my world, I expect the G train to solve all my troubles.
When my boyfriend and I get into a fight, I feel weirdly comforted sitting and waiting, knowing I don’t get cell phone service, knowing that I am unreachable, underground, at the mercy of one of the worst subway lines in the city. And sometimes I think about the time my boyfriend and I drew up disaster contingency plans in the event of a nuclear apocalypse; in that case, I would run underground, through the G train tracks, to Queens, where I would emerge from the tunnel (its thick walls having shielded me from
radiation), at which point I would steal a bike and ride down Northern Boulevard to my boat-bound lover.
In my world, the G train just doesn’t care.
It doesn’t care that I look really cute in a thrifted 80s prom dress in a library and I’m smiling because one of my best friends is taking
my picture. It doesn’t care that I’m getting an MFA in poetry writing or underwater jellyfish prose poems or sestina. It doesn’t know
gunshots or dogs bred and raised to hurt, and it doesn’t give a shit that my rent is due but I spent too much money on vegan pumpkin whoopie pies this month. All it knows is the darkness of the tunnel it’s meant to ride down, the sharp squeal of its wheels, and the scent of its moist air and the moist bodies of the people in it.
Once on the G train a guy with a shopping cart filled with shit who i swear i thought was the guy from “The Cruise” sat down next to me, chatted it up, and asked me if I’d like to get together sometime. My life is like that.
Coming to New York, 10 years ago,
I wanted to live where the artists go.
Where the painters, the musicians can buy a 3 dollar joint.
I searched and I found out about Greenpoint.
On Eckford and Leonard was my first domain.
Just mere steps away from Norman’s G train.
Sure, sometimes the wait would make me late to the bar.
And I’d break a sweat running to get to the last car.
But ne’er a crowded train would arrive.
A seat would be awaiting the rest of my drive.
And in the dead of winter or in a rain storm,
The G would be steady, ready and warm.
I’ve moved three times since my first Brooklyn flat.
All near the G, because the G is phat.
Brooklyn to Queens, can I be more vocal?
A New York oxymoron, the crosstown local.
Williamsburg, LIC, what more can one have?
And now it goes all the way to Church Ave.
L to the C to the R to the E.
A to the F to the JMZ.
When the G comes it makes my day.
The Motion Picture Museum’s off of Steinway.
There’s yes and there’s no, there is no maybe.
When it comes to trains, it ain’t nuttin’ but a ‘G’ thang, baby.
Marissa A. Gutiérrez-Vicario
While New York, Brooklyn to be specific, is now home to me, (I am a California transplant), one of the first fears I ever had about moving to the city was with regards to the infamous G line. When I had told my resident friends that I moved to an apartment off the G, they would immediately begin to complain how horrible it was: from its wretched smell to its unreliable service. Upon seeing the look of dismay and worry on my face, I would shortly after be reassured “it’s not that bad” with a hesitant pat on the back.
Since that time, I have embraced the G line and all of its idiosyncrasies, and consider it an honor to be named Miss G Train. The G is quirky, an underdog of sorts, in the grand scheme of NYC trains. The G is unique, as it is the only line to not enter Manhattan. I am also quirky, and at 4 ft. 10 inches, I am also an underdog. But as the Red Hot Chili Peppers once wrote, “At least I have her love/the [G Line] she loves me/Lonely as I am/Together we cry….”
In her honor, I would like to explain my costume, which is made from the traditional Mexican art form, called the piñata. Out of the paper mache art form, I have constructed a paper mache replica of the G Line. I chose this because making piñatas is one of my favorite things to do, and besides riding on the back of motorcycles through the Laotian countryside, it is the one thing that gives me pure joy. Piñatas, like the G line are “green.” (G = Green). Like an ecologically friendly form of transportation, piñatas, constructed from newspaper and other reusable materials, are an ecologically friendly art form. Long Live the G Line!
Regarding the picture enclosed, it is a picture of me holding a pencil piñata I made, while riding on an NYC bus. The best thing that happened was a random woman commented on it and was excited to see such an unusual object on public transportation. It’s nice to know that piñatas can unite strangers in such a large city that we live in.
Why Anne F. Szustek Should Be Miss G Train: in 200 Words or Your Money Back
Other hardships followed.
But inherent in adversity is opportunity. Driving my life toward the better here in the five boroughs is a little green line that opened in the throes of adversity. The New York City Subway’s G train, launched during the Great Depression, taught me by example that I don’t need Manhattan to find my place.
By happenstance I wound up in a darling house two blocks from the Bedford-Nostrand station. The station’s low ceilings are futuristic; its platforms tidy. Yet most importantly, it’s from where my Kings County fortune first ensued.
How else but the G train could I so smoothly be shuttled to my beats as fashion blogger for Williamsburg-Greenpoint News + Arts as well as community reporter for The New York Times’ Fort Greene-Clinton Hill blog? Not to mention taking me to the corner of Brooklyn that best allows me to live out my Polish heritage.
Essentially the G train is in and of me. I live Miss G Train everyday.
The G Train
It’s not just that the G train takes me to see my best friend in Greenpoint. Nor is it that without it, I’d never be able to see my Park Slope boyfriend. The G may be my only route to Queens, or have shuttled me home on countless cold lonely nights, but that’s not why I love it.
Rather, the G train is a brave train, serving people who other subway lines have all but abandoned. Who else could attempt so much, trekking from the top of Queens to the depths of Brooklyn, with just a few short cars? And which other train would have the audacity to skip Manhattan altogether?
The G train is a train of the people, and I, bursting with love for its mission, would like to be its ambassador. Thank you for your consideration.
PS – I include the following poem I’ve written as a supplement to my application:
How many nights have I spent at your mercy, G train?
How many hours have I craned my neck, hoping to see that warm green light crack your tunnel’s abyss?
Each breeze I imagine to be the whoosh of your approach, every rodent’s scurry is transformed by masochistic hope into the 625 volts of electricity that will bring you to my feet.
As the hour grows late, and others succumb to the lure of livery cabs above, my faith cannot help but grow stronger.
For I know, somewhere in the distance, your warm plastic seats are hurling themselves towards me, screeching with a determination to envelop me in their embrace.
Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
My name is Rebecca, and I wish to be the ambassador of the train that knows no underground underpass it will not barrel into; no railway-specific masturbator it will not hold; nor no tired, hungry tempest-tossed traveller yearning to breathe free.
Like me, the G is the train that time forgot; a vim, virile, viridian viaduct of venery from the Vistula of Greenpoint to the variegated shtetls and temples of Kensington. Liverish and green and vilely obscene, none but fools do ride it.
Many honours the G wants not, as spake Nietzsche, “nor great treasures: they excite the spleen” but if I am elected your Miss G Train, I do solemnly swear to install my likeness on every windowpane and every yellow-green diagnostic circle G train-affixed. I will walk the tracks from Church to Court and back again, barefoot, like a torpid transit prophet of the Independent Subway System.
I have known the G already, known it all. I have never been there when you call; I have never been on time, but when I give you $2.25, G train, O, G train, let’s ride.
And how green was my G train then! in 1933 when it was birthed in a back-alley barn in the shadow of the newly erected Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, and how green will it be again, for when I am its ambassador, grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.
Bumbles by the sound of the MTA’s greatest train. I just missed my train. I’m late, great. It’s a love/hate relationship what this train
and I have, the G train that is. It takes me where i need to go but only when its good and ready. Sure, they have schedules posted but no my dear friend has a mind of its own. This is what i love. The uniqueness of this four carred MASTERPEICE. It is totally
unpredictable-the sights, sounds,smells,people and of course animals. From the delightful sound of a crying baby to the various panhandlers that are willing to do just about anything for this dime of mine, i absolutely unequivocally adore it. I can take my run of the mill 15 minute naps when i ride it or gaze out though the first car and imagine what the powerful force behind such a great creation truly was. It is baffling and quite amusing to me how i can feel like a child in a candy shop, once more.
I feel that I am an excellent candidate for Ms. G train because i am everything it means to be a New York straphanger. I ride the subway everyday and know what it means to show common courtesy to my other underground friends. I am a very goal oriented 22 yr. old and have many aspirations and goals and feel like participating in this competition would be not only fun but give a voice to young women like me who would need extra help on the subway or a nice friendly face to erase some of the stigmas that may be associated with the G train line. I’m cute, sassy, and have flare like no other and can bring great pride to my beloved MTA. Thank you so much for your time,
The G train was the first train I was introduced to moving into Brooklyn. If anyone knows anything about the G it would be me, Gina Rosa. I ride the G train every day, therefore i know what the G is all about and should be the first ever Miss G train.
Riding on the G is not like riding on any other train, in that you never know what to expect stepping onto the G. It’s a train that keeps you guessing and on edge. No one ever knows when the G train is arriving it’s one of the most inconsistent trains. Most people who ride the G are so versatile, especially in fashion. G train riders keep it fashionable yet chill, which is basically how i would describe my sense of style. My outfits on the G train are so
versatile. Anyone who knows me could tell you, in meeting up with me they never know what I am going to look like, but they know I’m going to look good.
Not just anyone can be named Miss G train. For me it would be an honor. I feel as though i would be the perfect candidate because who would know the G train better, than someone who rides it everyday and who’s name begins with a G.
My name Is Shane Thor, a.k.a. “Thorgy”. I have been performing in New York for about 6 years as a performance artist, and as a professional musician. I hold degrees from Conservatory in Violin, viola and cello and love what i do very much! The majority of my time is spent playing for commissioned orchestras around new york and performing with my string quartet at all kinds of event and recording sessions.
My other passion is costume art and stagecraft. I have been performing as Thorgy for over 6 years, making love to the stage and putting on fantastic shows for lively audiences. My most recent performance was at
Public Assembly in Williamsburg, for a halloween show. I wrote a performance piece where I got eaten alive by birds (and of course, a few dance numbers!) And my claim to fame was being voted in the top 25 (out
of 3000) on Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season 2. Better Luck Next Year.
I currently live off the G line, at Manhattan and Eagle, in Greenpoint and love every minute of this community. I am part of the building of the community garden by the water and have made friends with every local
business owner in the area. My goal for this year is to be crowed Miss G Train, of course, and be involved in practically every event for any cause on the G train Line. I’d like to show my face everywhere!
Well, reputations are born in truths – it is a bit short, the cars are old and long ago it never liked to show its face after dark.
But if you, like me, hate going into Manhattan to get to another point in Brooklyn, you know the real G. The one that rolls into the station no more than 15 minutes after you do.
She may not be the prettiest train in the yard, nor the longest. But she gets the job done. And she never gets stuck under an East River crossing. Can’t say that, can you Ms. L?