W3D3 Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

“This is a 3 train, next stop 110th street.” That’s funny, I felt sure I saw the sign that said it was a 1 train, last stop 242nd. And it was a 1 train when it pulled into the 50th Street station, where I got on. “If you wish to continue on the Broadway Line, please step to the platform.”

You can sort of tell when people have been waiting for a train for a while, especially in the heat. They get this saggy look to them. They are plopped down on benches, leaning against poles, hunched over their cell phones. I looked up at the overhead digital sign, which indicated two trains were due in the next few minutes:

  1. (1) Van Cort Park 242nd – 2min
  2. (1) Van Cort Park 242nd – 3min

The first one rolled into the 50th Street station. It was packed – SRO, so I thought, “Ha! I’ll catch the second one, and maybe get a seat.” (My thoughts all have correct punctuation.) No such luck. The second one was SRO, too, but I hopped on anyway. I was tired, and ready to get home.

Now I found myself at 96th Street. The train stopped, and about three quarters of the people moved out onto the platform. I paused to take a picture of one of those poems they put in trains. I’ve seen it a number of times, and like it more each time I read it.

I was down to the critical two or three seconds. “Stand clear of the closing doors, please.” (Apparently, they tried to change that to the shorter “Please stand clear.” two years ago, but either it didn’t stick or they aren’t done yet.) I could still leap off as the doors close, or…

I mean, I’ve never been on a 3 train. I’m not even sure where it goes. I studied a map on the train in earlier this morning, but then I was interested in Queens/Brooklyn side of the map. There may be a reprise of the errand I unsuccessfully (by one measure) ran last week. I had a vague idea that the 3 line turned right and headed toward the eastern side of the Bronx.

So, I chose “or”, and thought to myself, “And now the adventure begins.”

I wasn’t too adventurous, I got out at the first stop, 110th. Still, I had no idea where that was in relation to anything else I knew. I made an intention – I’m not going to use a map. I knew if I headed west, I’d eventually hit Broadway and the 1 line, so it wasn’t too much of a risk. Plus, it was sunny out, so west was easy to find – just keep walking toward the sun.

Within half a block, I knew where I was. I peered down Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and saw the north end of Central Park. I walked along the northern edge of the park. Just about the moment I got to the northwest corner of the park, I looked up and saw the hugest (that is the best word to describe it) church dome I’d ever seen in my life. Dang. I gotta figure out what that is.

I’d have saved myself some walking if I’d had my wits about me, recalling that most cathedrals face to the east(ish), so the entrance would be on the west side. But no. I took the three quarters of the way around the two city blocks this edifice occupied. The steps up to the front were empty save for a woman sitting with her dog. The dark, knobby, wooden doors are set deep into the front of the building, so I could only see the first, and it was closed. I passed a sign identifying this a St. John the Divine Cathedral. The second door was closed too. “I’m getting in there somehow, even if I have to pull open one of those heavy doors.” I assumed, that like most churches, the doors would be unlocked during daylight hours. This place was just too big, and therefore interesting, to not go in. The third door was open, revealing a set of glass doors inside. “Ha! I’m in!”

I stopped at the visitor booth. The nice man in the booth told me where I was (St John the Divine (I knew that), largest cathedral in the world. (Score!)), when it closed (30 minutes), requested and accepted a donation, and offered a map, which I declined, because – no maps.

Inside, it was immense. You could just look up and up and up. Up at the arched ceiling, up the columns, up at the stained glass, up at the unfinished brick and stone work.  If you weren’t looking up, there was a sculpture exhibit – Blessing of the Animals, with many sculptures throughout much of the nave and aisles. Here’s one.


Many of the chapels coming of the ambulatory (in which I was ambling) were “Closed for Deinstallation”. Of what, I didn’t know, though inside the first closed chapel I saw, there were three people very carefully rolling up what looked like large, pale green/grey rugs. As I continued my meandering tour, it became clear that the deinstallation was of the Barberini Tapestry Exhibit.

After my tour, I found a pizza place across the street. I wasn’t very hungry, but knew I wouldn’t want to cook by the time I got home. I ordered a salad pizza (because I’d never heard of it), which turned out to be a pizza, cooked, with salad (lettuce, fresh tomatoes, black olives and vinaigrette dressing). I intended to take most of it home, and even had it boxed up. Unfortunately, I was three blocks and one and a half subway stops away before I realized I didn’t have it. Oops, too late to go back and get it.

And that is how I added another train line to my growing list. I have a loose goal for the summer to ride all the train lines, though not for their entire lengths; I want to leave time for adventures.


4 thoughts on “W3D3 Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

  1. This?

    I like to see it lap the Miles – (383)
    I like to see it lap the Miles –
    And lick the Valleys up –
    And stop to feed itself at Tanks –
    And then – prodigious step

    Around a Pile of Mountains –
    And supercilious peer
    In Shanties – by the sides of Roads –
    And then a Quarry pare

    To fit it’s sides
    And crawl between
    Complaining all the while
    In horrid – hooting stanza –
    Then chase itself down Hill –

    And neigh like Boanerges –
    Then – prompter than a Star
    Stop – docile and omnipotent
    At it’s own stable door –

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