While most of us complain about the subway commute (too crowded, too slow, you name it), Thomas C. Knox, a business specialist at Apple, has been using it as an opportunity to meet new people and transform the otherwise “monotonous and inhospitable commute.” And, to get people off their smartphones and interacting with each other.
His project, Date While You Wait which began as a Kickstarter campaign, sounds romantic but is more about the serendipitous connections that can be made, just by changing the social architecture of the subway platform. Setting up a round table and two folding chairs on subway platforms all over New York City’ (even in some of the most crowded stations like Penn Station), people sit down to chat, play a game while they wait, even play some music.
The only accoutrements that Knox brings in addition: a bottle of Coke, “some sort of flower of sorts,” he says, Connect Four, and himself of course. Even Howard Wexler, the creator of Connect Four showed up.
It’s a wide idea of love – not romantic love, but just love of the humanity between people. “Human interaction, we don’t do enough of that,” Knox says. It’s not about money he continues, “I want people 100% feel comfortable having a conversation with me about whatever they want.”
Knox has run over two dozen Date While You Wait events and is planning to expand to other cities in the United States and around the world. You’ll notice the signage has evolved over time from hand drawn to printed, but the simple spirit remains the same. Yesterday, he was set up at the Harlem 125th Street stop along the A/C/B/D lines. The next New York City event will be on Mother’s Day this weekend. Stay tuned on the Facebook page for Date While You Wait for details.
Next, check out urban pranks from Improv Everywhere.