15 Things That Might Just Happen When the L Train Shuts Down

The L is the quickest way from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Here are some prophecies for what might happen on that first fateful day.

By Frida Oskarsdottir

In New York, the subway falls under the umbrella of things people are as quick to defend to outsiders as they are to deride to their fellow citymen, like cash-only everything, or muggings. Brief commutes are heralded; half empty rush hour trains are discussed in the hushed tone usually reserved for urban legends. We console each other about our missed appointments, and the cramped compartments wherein people refuse to heed the conductor’s pleas to please, stand clear of the closing doors. 

New York City’s transit system is a clusterfuck the most complex in the world, with its twenty four subway lines spanning 659 miles of track, and that’s without the 5700 buses. So many moving parts and an average of 5.7 million riders each day make it a struggle for the city to find the stressors that most need addressing to avoid disaster and to keep commuters happy, or whatever the word is for when you don’t see a penis on the train.

One teeny-tiny wrench in the already strained system is the apocalyptic 15-month shutdown of the L train slated to begin April 2019. The L is the quickest way from Brooklyn to Manhattan and the lifeblood of 400,000 daily riders. So far, the MTA’s plan for mitigating the impact of the shutdown has been met with audible groans skepticism and continued uncertainty for how its policies will play out. The countdown clock has officially begun, so here are some prophecies for what might happen on that first fateful day.

1. New Yorkers will recognize they’re all in this together, and face the challenges of the shutdown with respect and dignity for their fellow commuters.

2. Just kidding – you will get hit by a train after a wave of rerouted passengers becomes a rat king-esque cluster of intertwined arms and legs, moving as one, squirming until it shoves you off the platform.

3. A new app will help you calculate how many items on your person you would have to barter in order to take a the newly surcharged Lyft home instead of waiting six hours for the train at 1 a.m.

4. Private vehicles may see serious restrictions from the city, following in the footsteps of other progressive metropoles. As a result, flowers will spring forward through the pavement, lush green will overcome the concrete jungle. Man and beast will once again live in harmony.

5. You will get hit by a car because someone’s grandma who has been taking the L train like a champion for the last 20 years had to renew her license to make it to her craft circle. But don’t worry, it will have more than 3 riders in thanks to the HOV3 requirement.

6. The soar in Lyft Line and Uber Pool prices will make way for new ride-sharing experiences – think PiggyBack and WheelBarrow. These will also double as dating apps.

7. You’ll save money by cancelling your gym membership – who needs it with all the extra steps it takes to walk over the Williamsburg Bridge? Bonus: the angrier you are, the faster you’ll go!

8. Despite the fact that bus ridership in New York City has decreased by over 100 million rides over the past eight years and is the slowest out of all big cities in the nation, everyone will seamlessly switch to buses and for sure make it to work on time during rush hour.

9. You will get hit by a bus.

10. Anyone remember this article about a woman in San Francisco who wakes up at 2:15 am to get to work by 7:00 am? Don’t worry if not, you’ll have time to read it again while you’re tucking yourself in at 5:00 pm.

11. The new additional cars on the G train, until now the stumpiest of all lines, will serve as makeshift studio apartments for those who have had to sell their billion dollar Williamsburg properties at a loss.

12. On April 1st, 2019, 1-2% of The Rerouted will take the form of cyclists, removing the tags from their spandex and strapping on their shiny new helmets, triumphant in newfound liberty and pursuit of a fun and exhilarating personal commute since the city’s plan proposes a two-way protected crosstown bike lane on 13th Street, the first in Manhattan.

13. You will get hit by a bike, because all of a sudden there are thousands of uneasy bikers on Manhattan’s only crosstown two-way protected bike lane.

14. #EastRivering will trend when a desperate workforce population braves a swim in the murky green waters rather than sit on the stopped J train for another second.

15. Everything will be OK because New York is the greatest fuckin’ city on Earth and I’m walkin’ here alright???

Memories of a City Kid’s Summer

Our summers aren’t for backyard pools or manicured lawns or days spent in air-conditioned basements. They are for screaming, running, falling. For skinned knees.

By Gabrielle Sierra

Go. Leave the city. Flee to your upstate houses, your lakeside homes and your ocean-front rentals. New York summers belong to us. The native New Yorkers, the city kids.

Our summers aren’t for backyard pools or manicured lawns or days spent in air-conditioned basements. They are for screaming, running, falling. For skinned knees. For sneakers hitting hot cement. For jumping through sprinklers or being blasted by an open fire-hydrant, cartwheeling back and forth in the street. For us rolling ten deep, fifteen deep, every day. We fill the street. Kids with nowhere to go and nothing to do for two whole months.

Our summer is for games in driveways and for tagging your little brother just a little too hard so you have to run and hide before your mother finds you. For spinning and spinning until you fall onto your back to watch the world above you twist.

We play Freeze Tag and Spud and Man Hunt and tear across the block, darting into front yards, exploring rooftops and sneaking up alleys. Homebase is always the same tree, a beast that can only be seen in tunnel vision as your legs pump as hard and as fast as they can, moving you just ahead of an outstretched hand.

Our summers are for the Ice Cream Man, whose name is Mike, who rings his bells as he cruises up each street, sending even the calmest of kids into mild hysterics, prompting us to run inside and scrounge for change or beg our parents for a few dollars. We devour electric-colored pops that drip into a pool at our feet that will later be overrun with ants.

We draw with chalk over the cracked sidewalk, people complimenting us on our shading skills as they step all over our masterpieces. (Picasso never had to deal with this.) We rescue bugs from the tar oozing on the curb and we listen to the sound of cicadas in the trees.

Our summers are for playing handball in the park “asses up,” the losing team standing against the wall like criminals while they wait for the rubber ball to sting their bare skin.

For those of us lucky enough to grow up near the ocean (yes, New York City has ocean access) our summers are for running to the public beach and never bringing enough of anything, never having an umbrella or the right towel or the appropriate amount of suntan lotion. For sucking the salt from your hair as you walk across the too-hot sand without your shoes on. For smelling the ash can barbeques that are watched over by families who have come down for the whole day, lugging coolers full of meat onto city busses just to spend some time with their children by the water.

My summers don’t smell like hot garbage. They don’t make me want to get out of town. My summers are not for the faint of heart, the bored. We fill the space you leave behind (thanks for clearing out of our way.) We are adventurers, explorers, city kids in the heat.

So go, we’ll be here. See you in the fall.

15 People on What Makes Them Feel Powerful

We asked these people to strike a pose and tell us what makes them feel powerful.

By Sara Afzal

We all know that power comes from within. But sometimes it is the armor we wear on the outside that gives us the boost we need to feel ready to face the world. Whatever the item or style, what you wear (or don’t wear) is a way to convey how you feel about yourself, to bring your inner power to the outside.

We asked 15 people in New York City to strike a pose and take a moment to tell us what makes them feel powerful.

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Katherine Castañeda, 31 | Project Architect | Brooklyn, New York

“I don’t derive power from what I put on in the morning. I think it comes from confidence – how you feel about yourself, your state of mind, your attitude. Clothes in a sense carry that with you. You make yourself powerful and then whatever you put on reflects that.”

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Olivia Perez, 25 | Portrait Photographer | Brooklyn, New York

“My attitude and confidence speak a lot more to power than what I am wearing. I find a lot of fashion actually brings me down. I’ve worn lipstick for years. I’m inspired by the minimal look –just some lipstick and eyeshadow.”

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Cleopatra Joseph, 32 | Senior Finance Business Analyst | New York, New York

“When I am happy with who I am, I always feel powerful.  Having the freedom to travel often and experience what the world has to offer makes me feel empowered. Being the only female among my peers at work makes me feel powerful as a woman. The way my outfit moves with the wind lets me embrace the power of mother nature.”

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Katie Hakala, 29 | Writer and Editor | Brooklyn, New York

“I feel most powerful when I’m fully embracing my individuality. Women are raised to appear as either non-entities or sexual entities when they go out in public. Women are told that a diminutive presence is the most likable, and that conformity is the safest mode for navigating life. I don’t buy into any of that. My power thrives when I’m fully articulating my funky, crass, wise, irreverent me-ness without apology or hesitance.”

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Ardavan Arfaei, 29 | Architectural Designer | Brooklyn, New York

“I feel powerful when I learn. It can be learning a scientific principle, feeling how another being feels, or something about myself. I feel powerful when I teach. It can be explaining a fact I learnt or making it possible for someone to feel a new feeling.”

“The elements I use in my outfit are both a means of making myself feel good and also a tool to connect with other people. I wear different scarves to different occasions, It’s an easy yet very expressive accessory. I like expressing myself free of gender norms.”

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Mary Bustamonte, 28 | Stylist | Brooklyn, New York

“I never feel more powerful than when I’m present to taking up space as a woman. When I’m having a good day I remember to put my shoulders back, I feel in line with who I actually am. So much of our lives as women is catering to others and power is really prioritizing what is best for your own well being and then factoring in compassion and what needs to get done. I feel most powerful when I’m around women who resonate on the same frequency.”

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William McGuinness, 28 | Social & Digital Media Strategist/ Masters Student at Columbia University | New York, New York

“I know people who dress to look powerful or fashionable; but in my world, I need people to open up and feel comfortable in a professional setting. Then, they can share their knowledge and think more creatively. This space tie works well with astrophysicists and astronomers on the faculty and with my NASA capstone team. It’s a friendly wink that leads into the conversation.”

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Nicolet Schenck, 25 | Freelance Graphic Designer | Crown Heights, Brooklyn

“I always feel powerful when I’m driving on an on-ramp to the highway and I manage to take the curve at the perfect speed. I break, then accelerate with precision and feel the wheels glide with ease underneath me. When someone else is in the car, I hope they notice the way I’m cradling them with the turn’s fluidity. This smooth, elegant, in control feeling paired with a slight edge of adrenaline and a steady leap in the pit of my stomach is my ideal sense of power in anything I do.”

“The jumpsuit is the fabric equivalent of that moment for me. It’s elegant, it’s smooth, it’s a little daring and gives me a bit of an adrenaline rush from the feeling of wearing something out of the norm. It’s elongating, classic, and attention seeking, yet offers a caring, feminine presence that makes me want to guide and cradle others. I am powerful with a touch of breezy femininity.”

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Alena Le Blanc, 27 | Fashion Designer | San Francisco, California

“The reason I became a fashion designer is I wanted women to feel confident and happy in the clothes they are wearing. If you look good, you feel good. I feel confident and happy in this jacket.”

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Jan Philipp Sendker, 57 | Writer, Novelist | Berlin, Germany

“Knowledge makes me feel powerful. It gives you the power to make decisions to move forward and act.”

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Cece Chan, 19 | Film and TV Student at NYU | New York, New York

“I feel powerful when I can relate to other people. One one hand, it’s great when someone’s telling me something deeply personal, but on the flip side, I let things affect me more than I’d like to. But I always remember that when someone tries to hurt me, it’s usually not about me – it’s more often coming from a place of hurt. And I don’t feel the need to hurt people. That makes me feel powerful.”

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Robert Krakower, 26 | TV Producer | Brooklyn, New York

“I think it’s fun to wear something a bit out of the ordinary. I feel powerful wearing something I wouldn’t normally wear and pushing myself out of my comfort zone – plus they are super comfortable to wear!”

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Nadia Carrillo, 19 | Student at Columbia University | New York, New York

“I think above all else I feel empowered when I pay attention to detail on any aspect of my life, whether it be my clothes or my schoolwork or even just hanging out with friends. Keeping the little things in mind helps me to feel complete and thus like the best version of myself I can be.”

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Marlon Daniels, 24 | Prep Cook | Boston, MA

“Being in the right state of mind makes me feel powerful. It’s so difficult to be in a good place mentally.”

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Shirin Mazdeyasna, 24 | Student in Fine Art | Brooklyn, New York

“I find power in new environments and connections.”