Riding the 7 Train. And the Moscow Metro.


I’m gripping the rubber handrail of the escalator that is creeping down, way down, into the bowels of the NYC subway system at 42nd and Grand Central, the second busiest station in the city. This, a ride down the shaft of a deep, underground coal mine. Black dust, airless and layered with noxious fumes. This, a visible symbol of America’s decay, its infrastructure crumbling.

There is no welcome mat out for the timid, or, for any bics: the acrophobics, the claustrophobics or the mysophobics. The incline is steep. The crowd thick and wary. The noise deafening. Even the Earth shivers from fright under Gotham when the trains rumble by.  Here, here. The richest city in the richest country in the world, and here we are. The Suits. The Homeless. The Helpless. The Pick-Pockets. The Cons. The Certifiable. And the Artists, the canaries in this coal mine – their instrument cases open, serenading the masses with Bach or Mendelssohn, a thin stream of light amid this train wreck (no pun intended).  Add the pungent stench of urine and this here is a petri dish of trouble.  Grade? A Dump.

I’m waiting for my cross-town train and the mind drifts back, way back. 

That picture above is the Elektrozavodskaya Station in Moscow, Russia. You would say, not possible. I’m here to tell you, it’s real. The photo was taken this year by David Burdeny. I walked this station or ones similar to it 40 years ago.  When I paused my trading activities of bubble gum and blue jeans with the locals, I admired the architecture and the immaculate condition of work commissioned by Stalin and his iron fist in 1935. And it has been preserved in radiant condition ever since. This is not a subway friends, this is a museum. How wonderful would it be to ride this train here, Now.

I step back on the platform and back from the wind blast from a passing train.


And here it comes.

Here. Here.

Pharrell Williams’ new tune:

Hold on to me
Don’t let me go
Who cares what they see
Who cares what they know?
Your first name is Free
Last name is Dom
Cause you still believe
In where we’re from



  1. Beauty…enshrined or free is still beauty

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder what you’d think of our DC metro? Hmmmm…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. that is a stunning photo. how wonderful to have stood before it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, David, this is powerful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Smiled. Those trading activities of mine also included hosiery. Admired the works, but also felt the shadow of the iron fist. In NYC it’s taxi for me, anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Unbelievable… I couldn’t have understood that it was metro station. Thanks and Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of your best! Love it DK 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. oh wow… amazing photos. Love your comparison to NYC. Think I would prefer to sit in awe admiring the architecture of the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It does seem kind of weird that the US hasn’t understood the fact that so many people spend so much time in the subway system. After I saw that photo, I did a bit of reading and found “The metro’s artists and architects worked to design a structure that embodied svet (radiance or brilliance) and svetloe budushchee (a radiant future).” Even riding BART in the Bay Area is pretty depressing. Wonderful writing again, David… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful photo. I can understand one might miss their train being absorbed in its architectural beauty. Still beauty is deceiving, and if we face a dump everyday in lieu of our freedom, then I’ll take the dump. Love your words today and Pharrell’s song.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Stunning and eminently civilized

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So evocative. Then going to the video, with Williams’ words & music punctuating your piece. Taken as a whole, powerful art.

    Liked by 1 person

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