Now this is a pretty genius idea. Tap into the rich material which is our fellow subway riders themselves. But what makes Why Are You On My Train? particularly awesome is the spunk of creators Jen and Alli, their unique eye for interesting characters and because like good journalists, they’re not afraid to ask the hard questions. This past Monday, I tagged along with them on a filming adventure.
It was rush hour, because Alli and Jen were nice enough to accommodate my work schedule–but this turned out to be tough times at Times Square. Sometimes you couldn’t even get onto the platform. So we took to wandering around the station looking for interesting people. Their energy is contagious and I totally forgot that I was tired. I wanted to just meet more people and find out more stories. Why can’t I do this every day? But it’s not always easy Alli says, sometimes “we just get rejected.” But other times it’s led to real connections. Alli says “It’s amazing the number of people we’ve seen and kept in touch with after for drinks and other things.”
Here’s a smattering of the people that we met:
This girl was a gold mine and our first find. It was as if she had anticipated people would be curious and was really happy to answer questions. Her boyfriend had sent her this surprise gift to her office and she was just trying to get him home.
This guy was from Spain and was actually videotaping the foot traffic through Times Square. How could he say no to us? We had a nice conversation and in the end the girls asked him if he missed the afternoon siesta.
This couple looked lost. Turns out they were just scared of the crowded platform like us. They met in a theater production, he was on stage playing the dad, she was playing in the orchestra. Pretty cute.
This girl had just graduated from high school in Brooklyn and was with her nephew (although he just graduated high school too) and her mom. She was all cool with being on camera. Her mom said she would be comfortable, because “she’s probably thinking she’s going to be famous…”
This man was really interesting. He was from the Dominican Republic and was now going back for his medical degree. We had some deep conversations with him.
This guy is from Mexico City and had flawless English (he let on that his mother was American). He works for an NGO doing work in Haiti.
The train never came so we had a good time.
These guys were visiting from Seattle.
We caught a school teacher on her way home. I was drawn to her bamboo plant on the side pocket of her North Face pack and it turned out she was bringing back things from her desk, since it was the second to last day of the school year. She gave us a little show and tell of the goodies in her bag, including Advil.
And finally, here is the video that Why Are You On My Train put together so far of our adventure!
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.