•    G Train   

    By Jan Stepinski, Rochelle Catuira, Richi Thampan, and Mark Oleszko

    New York City is not as harmonically unified and organically growing a thing as its administrators claim when they propagate themselves as products of diversity. They may truly come to believe they are after years in office. They must make the vast electorate believe they are in order to get into office. But those who wish to see the rough textures and dissonant notes that ignite the city should step beyond its safe core into the G train.

    Colonial organisms are those that exist normally as unicellular entities but converge and forms interrelations when efficient resource allocation becomes important. We seem less capable of developing so harmoniously by ourselves. We have Manhattan, a central authority that residents look to for governance, and that immigrants look to surmount and ultimately break from into the suburbs as successful individual “cells.”

    The G train, however, shows that we can have connections a bit more distant from the center, connections purely between the individuals. After all, the G subway line is the only one that does not enter Manhattan. It had been constructed in 1933 as a two-station shuttle between Brooklyn and Queens along the East River, and it almost remained like that. Mayor John Hylan rejected plans to construct a new tunnel for it southward through Greenpoint in 1937; perhaps he had seen it as superfluous if it did not enter Manhattan and thereby not connect directly to the central authority of the city. But the Citizens Union and the Board of Estimate from Brooklyn and Queens showed that whatever financial qualms the mayor proclaimed about the line were unfounded and that the G “[would be] of highest importance to the people…It [would] pass through one of the most active industrial sections in the world and promote intercourse between all parts of it.”

    The G is thus the natural spark within the unnatural, the piece within the centralized whole that is inconsistent but nonetheless a fiery source of vitality. The notion that the line by itself would foster “intercourse between” the ethnically charged neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens is admittedly too idyllic; in 2001 the Queens branch was truncated because people preferred the parallel lines that actually ran through Manhattan, and most commuters use short segments to get to work or transfer – again into Manhattan.

    But even if they do not contemplate the phenomenon, the G connects the aspiring, often immigrant, workers not only with the central city, but with one another. At every transfer, at every station, the thinking beings interact and blend as they speed down this neural axon of New York City. Their ideological as well as physical wars and unifications along the G line resound as the dissonant chords that make the sound of the city more interesting.

    This is a log we have composed that spans history and geography to describe the neighborhoods that interact along the G line.

    Go On