The Few and Far Between

I always marvel at the people one meets who are more than willing to help you. It’s rarely who you’d expect to step up to the plate on your behalf.

I’m in an area of Brooklyn I’ve never been before, trying to make my way home, by subway. After 2 people direct me to the C Line, one I ride regularly, I’m now on it, but at one end of its very long route.

I want to somehow switch to the East Side train since it’s too late to walk through the Park, and too cold to wait for the bus.

I think there’s a Borough Hall stop, but there isn’t, causing me, what I don’t realize, to visually panic.

A man of color in dusty work clothes notices my distress and says, “Where’s ya wanna go Miss?”

When I tell him he says, “Get off at Fulton, the old World Trades Centa’ stop.”

“Yeah but, it’s not up there with the rest of the stops.” Some trains, such as this one, has an electric board that lights up as you go.

“That’s cause yous’ a good 17, 18 stops from there, so it ain’t shown up on the screen yet.”

Another man of color in a cheesy leisure suit he wears like it’s custom-made adds, “The stops go quick, so best ya just chill and enjoy the ride.”

He has a case that must harbor some kind of horn he holds like a baby, his long fingers adorned with huge rhinestone rings.

I then look over my shoulder and see a Latino man with a bike, who actually made me a little nervous while waiting on the platform, nod from across the car assuring me I was given the right directions.

As I sit alongside these men standing sentry over my stress, it gets me thinking.

These 3 and their brethren are who make up the fabric of my fair city. Not the stuffy, entitled Upper East and West Siders with their New Yorkers and Wall Street Journals, oblivious to what’s happening around them.

But hardhats and hotel workers, MTA and delivery men, and even a man on a bicycle that’s not supposed to bring it on the train.

I also now feel safe in a part of town that’s strange to me.

I thank them as I alight at Fulton, cantering up the stairs following the 4 and 5 Uptown signs. I now begin thinking of all the people who helped rebuild this station after the terrorist attacks destroyed it on September 11th, 2001.

As a New Yorker, I’m feeling proud being part of something bigger, safe in a place that, despite its challenges, still never lets me down.Β  images.jpeg




About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in Culture, grace, Gratitude, History, humanity, money, New York City, violence, Women and men, words and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to The Few and Far Between

  1. I am thrilled to hear of kindness and goodwill in the subway. John and I have heard only bad things for several years. When John was a child, he rode the subways for fun. At eight years old, he’d go by himself from Ridgewood to Manhattan to Bay Ridge to see his grandmother. It’s marvelous that you had people around you who noticed your unease and volunteered to help.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I enjoyed your story, Susannah. It says a lot about your beautiful city. I found the same kind of help when I got lost driving from JFK to Connecticut. I ended up on 125th in the dark. (A Bonfire of the Vanities moment) I had to stop at a convenience store since there were no gas stations open. Some guys were hanging out front drinking out of brown bags. They registered shock when I pulled up. “You must be lost or crazy,” was one comment I remember. Long story short they gave me exact directions to Connecticut and the wishes for good luck. I know I carried the smell of fear when I pulled over which those guys turned into gratitude.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Sorryless says:

    Ugh, my sense of direction went to die in Brooklyn. Seriously, from the time I was old enough to drive, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost there. Maybe something really bad happened to me in another life there, I don’t know.

    But that IS the pulse of the city and its boroughs. That above all the dramas and differences and yelling and screaming, there is a genuine sense of connection when push gets to shoving. It is unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else. The idea that when you really need it, someone is gonna have your back.

    Lovely piece of writing, as per.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dale says:

    What a great story, Susannah. Last November when I went to Brooklyn, I wanted to take the subway to Manhattan so that I could walk back on the Brooklyn Bridge. The subway is so friggen confusing! Was given directions, thought they were clear, realised that nope, not at all, had to ask again and finally reached destination.
    These are the stories of New York one wants to hear. Thank you for sharing them!

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s one of my favorite things to do. I love the Brooklyn Bridge. Next to the Chrysler Building, it’s the closest thing that a structure has ever stolen my heart. Have you seen the short film Ken Burns made of it? Your library will have it. David McCullough narrates. That bridge I swear has a heartbeat. ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dale says:

        I was beyond happy to have finally done it. A couple of my WW photos were used in Sorryless πŸ˜‰
        My library most certainly will NOT have it but I shall definitely look for it.
        I agree. That bridge vibrates with a heartbeat. ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Have you ever read McCullough’s The Great Bridge? It’s a hardy read, but worth every word. To think the entire bridge was built by men who transported everything by horse and donkey. How many died because it was yet unknown you couldn’t go so deeply down into the harbor and back up, without damage to your heart and lungs..hence…the Bends. I can go and on and won’t, but it truly is an amazing feat of architecture, even now.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Dale says:

        I have not so shall put it on my list!
        It’s crazy how dangerous life was…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, back then it was scary. No Penicillin…plagues that swept the city. Do you know beneath the Washington Square Arch lies a cemetery they cemented over to build the park. It was before the law was passed that you can’t disturb a burial ground. On occasion when Con-Edison is working digging random holes, they’ll uncover bones wrapped in red symbolizing the person died of Yellow Fever. 20,000 people rest beneath the Park.


      • Dale says:

        Whoa… I did not know.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You popped a file. My favorite story is how, rumor had it, it was unsafe to walk across. So P.T.Barnum marched his band of elephants across to prove it wrong. After that, it was mobbed. It’s still so majestic, especially at night all lit up. When I think it was one of the targets on 9/11 that didn’t play out because the person in charge was stopped. Did you know that? It still chills me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dale says:

        Figures the troupe would be mobbed… Shaking my head. It is such a gorgeous bridge and I shudder at the idea of it being a target.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It came out later, how they cut the guy off at the pass, caught him before he could detonate his arsenal of explosives. Mind numbing to think about it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Dale says:

        Bloody hell…

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Vasca says:

    Always sweet reading of those who help in times of distress. My husband and I went on Christmas visit from Germany to Spain visiting my brother who was in the navy there. We call it our ‘Vacation in Hell’. Bad things happened the entire trip but finally we were almost to our destination…Cadiz where my brother was to pick us up…two days late! Pulled into the end of the track at Cadiz. Not a soul in sight. Help, help. A tiny little man appeared who spoke a tad of English. He took us in hand, after telling us how he had once rescued Jackie Onassis…oh yeah…and tended us while contacting brother to retrieve us. That little guy saved our day and our Christmas. Who were we to question any little man who had rescued Jackie? You never know who’ll pop up outta’ nowhere. Loved your story…sweet.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Amen to that, and to the truth of most people being helpful and many even going out of their way to help make sure someone who’d asked a question, gets off on the right stop, or knows of track changes, or heard the last muffled subway announcement. It is these people – the people you and I and many other who ride the subway – who make the the humming fabric of the city. The people who wear many looks, speak many languages, pray in different ways if at all, work in the many jobs that make this city keep on going. Thank you for this sweet post of NY moment. A true NY moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Eilene Lyon says:

    Always nice to hear about the kindness in the world. There’s plenty of it, but rarely gets the shout-out it deserves.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. skinnyuz2b says:

    I’m glad some gallant knights came to the aid of a lady in distress. I’m impressed that you hadn’t asked for help, they sensed that it was needed.
    Susannah, I’ve also noticed that help often comes from unexpected sources. It just reminds us of that old adage ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’

    Liked by 2 people

  9. aFrankAngle says:

    Cheers to the many good people of the world you just fit in as ordinary people.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I know or have known places like that. I haven’t decided if my little town now, does that.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s those types of experiences that restore faith in humanity despite all the things happening in the world. It’s nice to know that most people are generally decent and want to help each other.

    Liked by 2 people

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