Daily Archives: September 20, 2011

Why the subway is the last true democratic experience in America. Larry Merchant is a bad-ass. And why “hurdle-cycling” is not a sport

This is one of my occasional ruminations about something that may or may not make sense.
Since I moved back to New York a few months ago, I’ve been riding the NYC subway system a lot. And the other day, while sitting among a very diverse group of people on the F train, I had a thought.
In just about every segment of our society, there are levels and status. You can buy your way into first class on an airplane. You can slip the maitre ‘d a $20 and get a better table.
You can buy first-class tickets to sporting events, you can cut your way through security lines at airports, yada yada yada.
But on the subway, we are all the same. I have seen men in Armani suits sitting on the train next to women wearing dirty and filthy clothes. I’ve seen people of all ethnic backgrounds holding onto the same bar so they don’t fall when the train stops short.
There is no status on the subway. There are no “preferred” cars, or benefits to be had. We all paid the same $2.25 to ride, and we all get treated the same way. And we’re all forced to be next to each other for the length of the trip.

Maybe I’m a romantic fool, but it’s one of the few truly democratic experiences we have as citizens. For just a few minutes, we’re all basically the same.

And I think it’s wonderful.

**I don’t care much about boxing anymore, but after a supposedly “big fight” Saturday night between the highly obnoxious Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz, I heard about this awesome postgame interview between Mayweather and HBO’s 412-year-old announcer Larry Merchant.
Two awesome things here, starting at 45 seconds in: The face Merchant makes at 1:00, and then his retort to Mayweather. (The clip just got pulled from YouTube, but you can watch the interview here.)

**Finally, there are some sports that just wouldn’t work. May I present to you why hurdling over barriers while on a bicycle is never a good idea…