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Literary Pairings with NYC Subways

1 train

Long, slender, and Manhattan-centric. It also has a little foot at the bottom that sort of caresses Wall Street and a curl at the top that goes into The Bronx like a severe flapper bang. The Great Gatsby.

2 train

You have never taken this train, but you once claimed you had (by accident) as an excuse for why you were late to work. Middlemarch.

3 train

They just do not stop making red trains. This train seems to almost want to make it to JFK airport, but stops short, just like that plane in Lost Horizon.

4 train

This train literally ends in a park. Like so many of the characters in Jurassic Park.

5 train

Spends a lot of time on the Upper East Side, but then it steps way out in The Bronx and Brooklyn in a way reminiscent of the first few of the Patrick Melrose novels.

6 train

There are stops on this line called Elder, Castle Hill, and Zerega. Zerega! The Silmarillion.

7 train

A whole new train stop discovered underground! Go Set a Watchman.

A train

This is a long train that starts at a fun beach and ends at a monastery. Augustine’s Confessions.

C train

From Euclid Avenue to Washington Heights—math and Founding Fathers combines in the form of Ben Franklin’s Autobiography.

E train

The only time you get on this train is to get to the airport, so fill in your favorite pass-the-time mass market paperback here.

B train

Well, this is a train, and it ends up at Brighton Beach where you can buy borscht by the gallon, so… Anna Karenina.

D train

New York’s spooOOOookiest train because… it’s, uh, orange like a jack-o-lantern and passes through Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage up at Fordham and… whatever. Frankenstein.

F train

This is an excellent train. It takes you to Talde, the ground zero for everything Dale Talde and Asian-Americanavailable now and here!

M train

This is a very funny train to look at from the perspective of a bird. It starts in Queens then high-tails into Manhattan, then basically does a U-turn and goes back onto Long Island nearly forming a loop. I have never read The Return of the Native but it has the word “return” in it.

G train

This train is only rumored to exist. Like the next Game of Thrones book.

J train

If you look at this line on the map, you’ll see that the section which starts at Broad Street in Manhattan and ends at Cypress Hills in Queens really looks like it traces the profile of a leg, from foot to knee. But there’s a crook right at the bottom of the calf which unfortunately brings to mind Misery.

Z train

I dunno—the official Scrabble dictionary?

L train

Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

S train

Exquisite, short, and obscure. Like your chapbook of poetry.

N train

This line begins in Greek Astoria and ends at the ocean, so we gotta go Odyssey.

Q train

This is constantly confused/paired with the N train. Iliad.

R train

This right here is a great American train. From far-flung Bay Ridge, to downtown Brooklyn, through Wall Street and Midtown, and finally to sleepy Forest Hills. It’s a cross section. John Dos Passos’ USA Trilogy.


Lol just kidding

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