Since school has been on break, I've been off the BQE for almost two weeks. Which has given me more time to indulge in the pleasures of the MTA and NJT. Yesterday, as my Main Street-bound 7 train pulled into 74th Street in Jackson Heights (otherwise known as the Hub of the World), I could see on the opposite platform a young white woman rather elegantly dressed in a longish black dress put down two Whole Foods bags she had carried up the steps. Since she was headed towards Manhattan, my guess is that she had shopped at the WF in Union Square, taken the R to Jackson Heights and was now headed towards Manhattan to get off in Sunnyside--a subway version of two- steps-forward-one-step-back. After she had put her bags onto the platform, she reached into one and pulled out a small (equally elegant) purse, transferred it into the other, then took it out, brought it to her nose, and sniffed it. She sniffed every corner of the purse. Satisfied (of what?) she put it back into the second bag. As my train pulled out, she sniffed her wrist. She seemed more curious than distressed or offended, a more typical reaction to the smells of the subway.
Lest you think I have forgotten the BQE altogether, look for an upcoming post on "The Curious Case (now solved) of the Nice Smell."
(Photo: Arnold Eagle,Chatham Square Platform, ca. 1939)