Greenpoint, October, 2015

Friday, March 30, 2012

Next Stop, Trees!

Welcome to Warsaw
There are many wonderful things about the Warsaw Metro. One is that it took 70 years from when it was first proposed until it actually opened in 1995. Of course, there were a few calamatious regional and world events that got in the way, including the destruction of 90-plus percentage of the city during WWII, economic collapse in the 1970s, and Martial Law in the 1980s.

Another wonderful thing about the Metro is how quiet it is--not only the trains entering and leaving the station, but the people waiting for them and riding them. At least when I lived there, riders treated time on the Metro a little like being in Church. How appealing is that from a New Yorker's perspective?

Yet another wonderful thing about the Metro is its automated station announcements. First you hear a "bahhp...bahhp...bahhp" tone, then a soothing male voice intones "Następna stacja" [next station], followed by the station name. Listen to this announcement for Pole Mokotowskie (a large park below the city's center).*

But my all-time favorite wonderful thing about the Warsaw Metro is that you can take it to the forest. The last stop on the first completed line, which runs north-south, is Kabaty. A few minutes' walk from the station begins Las Kabacki, a 902-hectare national reserve mostly made up of forests. Of course, the reason for extending the Metro beyond the city's developed neighborhoods was to promote or accommodate the development that has been steadily encroaching on the forest. I hope the forest will always be the end of the line.

(*If you're interested in how announcements work on the undergrounds/metros/subways from cities from around the world--and who wouldn't be?--visit this incredibly informative site. Who knew that in Cologne there is no sound; each set of doors has sensors and closes when no one is between them? So subtle!)

No comments:

Post a Comment