AYINDE J. STEVENS
Student Voice Editor
They say summer in New York City is like no other, but it certainly has changed since “Do the Right Thing” came out all those years ago.
Sure, tensions do flare at times and there still is the occasional “hot car” still slinking in the subway, but as summer has now come to a close and the last rays have been soaked up before the temperature begins to slide as the sun retreats from this part of the world, I wonder if this summer was actually worth repeating.
After all, it rained almost through most of June and then came the heat in July for the first half and then it plunged the second half to the unheard of temperature of 76 degrees and little humidity.
The humidity, which is what makes this city sizzle and pop during this time, made the city seem to be, well, civil.
The heat wave we had was pure hell, yes pure H-E-L-L. I’ve never seen so many fire hydrants cracked opened. The cool feel of the water gushing out and heading into the drains brought temporary comfort from the glaring and unforgiving sun that at once forced people out and indoors. Hot cars came back with a vengeance and the platforms felt like a precursor to what would befall us if our cars weren’t so lucky.
At work the long line of tourists who shell out serious money to be 13 feet above the pavement were nowhere to be found.
Some buses left with barely anyone on them and a few people let their shirts, already soaked by the combination of sweat and humidity, literally come off. Now, ladies, before you think that is a good idea to see a grown man go shirtless and still covered in sweat, I beg you to reconsider that image.
I also had the unpleasant task of rudely but for their sake telling customers with small children to stay away from the lower deck of the bus since the air conditioning never worked.
Finally after a whole week of suffering, the rain finally burst down on me and a few customers near the NOHO/SOHO border, to my delight. To the slight shock of my customers, I let out a whoop of delight and screamed out, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the New York heat wave of 2013 is now officially over!”
At the time I had no idea how right I was going to be weather-wise.
That’s not to say I didn’t have any fun during the summer. I took in the small pleasures like taking the C train uptown, where there is always a seat.
Riding the C is kind of like a trip down or, in this case, up memory lane because I’ve ridden the C for most of my life and it has factored into almost every commuting pattern I’ve ever taken.
Plus, it’s the only subway rolling stock left that gives you the open front window we subway buffs call a railfan’s view.
It’s the only perk for being a 49-year-old railcar when you’re so old you start to leak and, worse, no air conditioning in the summer.
Yet, for all its faults these cars have managed to get me from point A to B with a degree of flourish, (what I like to call their signature screech).
It’s also outlasted some of its contemporaries and younger cousins, making them a reliable friend and ride up to the Heights.
The one constant of all the changes for good and ill that have happened underground in its lifetime. I am glad that I will have four years left with them before take their long visit to the shore.
Finally, there was the summer class. For four weeks that class drove the other aspects of my life all helter-skelter. I’m no fan of waking up at 7 a.m., going to class, work and then trying to do homework on deadlines that were not realistic, at least on my end it wasn’t.
Somehow, I managed to pull it together, including pulling my first true all-nighter, which led me to walking my beloved neighborhood after escorting my mother to the subway. At six in the morning no less. The city had yet to awaken here, creating a serenity amongst the brick and mortar.
When I returned to the flat I turned on the T.V. and learned that another woman had pulled an all-nighter of sorts, in Texas.
Beyond home many changes came about last summer yet two things remained the same: my ride on the C train and my adopted homeland of Washington Heights.
This summer might not have been worth repeating but it holds the little things worth remembering, such as the time I walked across St. Nicholas Avenue and remembered a line from a movie I just saw:
“All life is here,” a character says to a disenchanted woman. She might not have gotten the memo but I did and he is right on so many levels.