I have always had this theory, that if you took a bunch of hardened New Yorkers and dropped them off in the middle of nowhere, they would never be able to find their way out of the woods. Yesterday, my theory was proven.
I live off the 2/5 line, which intersects with the 3/4 line at the Franklin stop in Brooklyn. What this means is, if you are traveling to East Flatbush and are on a 3/4 train you have to transfer at Franklin for the 2/5. If you don’t, you travel to Crown Heights, which would be slightly inconvenient to getting you back to East Flatbush.
Yesterday on my way home, I caught the 4 at Grand Central and rode it to Franklin Ave. It was one of those days where the 5 train was there waiting for me across the platform. I ran to the 5 and stood against the door. We hear, “Next stop is President Street” and the doors closed. I was on my way!
In 45 seconds we arrived at the next stop and I realized the door opened on the wrong side of the train. I looked up and I didn’t recognize the station. The bell rang, and the conductor’s voice came over the loud-speaker. He said, “Ladies and gentleman, I sincerely regret to tell you that we took the wrong track and ended up at the wrong station. We are at the Nostrand Ave. 3 stop. This 5 train is not going to Flatbush Ave; it’s now going to Crown Heights, Utica Ave. Again, we sincerely apologize for our mistake. ”
There was confusion and then a collective groan. Then the screaming started; expletives flying everywhere. Literally, everyone got off the train as their end destination was not Crown Heights, and suddenly there were hundreds of discombobulated people are on the platform. About half of the passengers headed towards the exit to find the bus, and the other half were wondering around the station helpless. Absolutely helpless.
As I was leaving, I passed the conductor, and I saw he had his window open apologizing to passengers. There was a crowd of about 100 people yelling and screaming at him. I heard shouts of, “How could you do this to us?” “You are terrible at your job!” “Go home, you’re drunk! “ “Fu*k You!” “How do I get home now?!?!” All while shaking their fists in the air. The only thing missing was their torches and pitchforks.
I finally squeezed through the crowd and wound up on Eastern Parkway. A short two block walk got me to the President St. subway stop that would get me back on track. I went down the stairs, and a train came in 2 minutes. In the meanwhile there were at least 200 people waiting on a bus upstairs, yelling and screaming at each other. The train I was on, was empty.
So in some way, my middle of nowhere theory has now been proven. If you drop a bunch of hardened New Yorkers off in NYC where they don’t expect to be dropped off; they will crumble and melt. All it takes is 45 seconds.