Newport This Week

A Friendly Face in the Big Apple

To the Editor:

As a regular commuter from Long Island to Manhattan years ago, I was used to inserting a coin (and in later years a token) into the turnstile to enter the subway system. There came a time, however, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority switched to a magneticstriped card to be swiped through a metallic slit for those waist-high triple arms to revolve and let you through.

After visiting a relative on Dec. 20, I was heading back home, tugging a large suitcase to Penn Station via the Lexington Avenue local’s 96th Street subway stop. A wellgroomed, fastidiously made up young lady preceded me through the turnstile, but looked back when she noticed that my MetroCard had failed to activate the turnstile. She said, “Hand your suitcase through to me, I’ll watch it. Swipe again.”

My next swipe also failed, however. She reached over the non-rotating arms and swiped her OWN card through, and off we went down the stairs to catch the next train.

As we chatted, I volunteered that I was just a visitor, having recently moved to Rhode Island from Long Island. “I was born in Bristol!” she exclaimed, as the rumble of the approaching train grew louder.

I offered three bucks to cover the fare. “No, no, no,” she said. “Happy holidays!”

As I exited the train at my stop, I spied her from half a crowded car length away. She inaudibly but clearly mouthed “Happy holidays” once again, and gave me a glorious Rhode Island smile.

Shelby Coates

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