Stand Clear of the Closing Doors: NYC Subway Culture

Happy Sunday everyone!  My New York people, are you out enjoying the weather? To quote the New York Times,   “unseasonably warm”– but I’m totally OK with it!

If you’ve even lived in or been to New York City and traveled by subway, I’m sure you will be able to relate to this post. Underground is a whole different culture, playing by it’s own set of rules, with it’s own set of problems and frustrations.

As someone who lives here and travels by train several times a day, I’ve seen a lot of strange and annoying things… and I’ve smelled even stranger. I thought a piece on “train culture” would be interesting and would give me a chance to share some of my top favorite train experiences.

Mostly, it’s all about the people. Sure, sometimes the MTA system screws you over and never tells you your train will be out of service or running local when it should be express. Or you get stuck in a tunnel without cell service- so you can’t tell your boss you are gonna be late for that important meeting… but some of that wouldn’t be so bad if you were just able to sit in piece and deal with it alone. Instead, you are surrounded by people, tons of strangers… all trying to get to someplace.

The weather, the time of day, the temperature outside and inside the car, all of these affect the commute and the people on the train. I’ve seen full out fights start because people won’t move into the center of a car and someone else can’t get in, so they push and shove and piss someone off.

It’s not always bad, thank goodness. When men stand and offer their seat to women, when someone holds the door cause they see you running to the train, those that you share a moment with when there is a crazy homeless person on a screaming rant and the train has stalled out in the tunnels. Remember that post a few weeks ago, “OH the 1 Train”? While I seriously disliked having to stand and have that guy hit on me the whole commute, the girl I ended up chatting with later and the other passengers who shared in a laugh at my facial expression was very fun.

Usually though, as soon as you descend down those stairs underground, the rules all change. We fight for seats, we push and shove to get into a crowded car, and we all deal with annoying things. Here are some of my favorite subway irritating moments… at least to date. Pictures and “definitions” are all mine… as are the titles themselves for that matter.

The Poll Hog:

Definition: Leaning a large portion of one’s body on the center polls that are meant to over a place for multiple people to hold onto when standing on a moving train and offer stability so one does not fall and the train lurches down the tunnels.

IMG_1333.JPG

IMG_1369.JPG

I only understand this one when the train is nearly empty or you are the only one standing. But when you are one of many on a crowded train—DON’T LEAN!! Suddenly there is so many fewer options for everyone else to find a place to hold onto. I’ve been one of 10 people holding onto one poll before, but in the blink of an eye, one person can hog a whole spot and the rest of us might just be outta luck. I don’t know what makes some people feel so entitled as to do this!

The Leg Spreader/ The seat Hog

Definition: Taking up more then one seat per-person. For men, most often accomplished by sitting with legs spread. For women, most often accomplished by allowing ones purse to have a seat of it’s own.

IMG_1366.JPG

I’m sorry if it’s uncomfortable, or you really don’t fit in the seat, or you don’t want to keep your personal belongings in your personal space… but you don’t need 2 seats on the train. What? You don’t want someone sitting next to you… or you think you are better then everyone else and you need more space? Oh GET OVER YOURSELF!! It’s rude, it’s also unslightly. And then glare when someone brave enough comes over and squeezes in. In a city where everyone thinks they are entitled either because of who they are wearing, what they do, what they Don’t do, how old they are, and on and on… it’s almost expected, but totally annoying. And I know, it the spots were reverse and I were taking up 2 seats… well, it wouldn’t last long!

The Chicken Wing

Definition: Someone who holds onto the bars and totally forgets where their elbow is… or that they have one at all? Or that it MAY be in someone else’s face! So it reminds me of something like a chicken wing, just flappin’ around wherever.

IMG_1492.JPG

I experienced this one for the first time last week. It’s early on a Tuesday morning on a packed train, and I’m sitting in my seat (totally minding my own business) maybe falling asleep every few minutes… when I open my eyes and just a meer 4 inches away from my noise is some mans hairy elbow! Like it’s RIGHT THERE! And shift of my head, his body, or the train will send it smack right in my face! What got me was that the whole trip, he never seemed to notice how close his arm was to me or that I couldn’t move. This could have been remedied if he chose to pull his arm closer to himself, hold the bar a little higher, or angle himself another direction. As it was, I get this great picture and stayed awake the rest of the trip!

At Crotch Level

Definition: I think the name really says it all.

IMG_1368.JPG

These are the people who stand right in front of your seat (if you are sitting) and don’t bother to angle their bodies or hold on the to bar with one hand and turn sideways… NO, they stand square in front of you and we… if you are sitting your eyes usually fall right at crotch level. Then of course, as the train rocks and rolls down the tracks, they may swing closer or further from your face. Mostly it’s just awkward and uncomfortable. I understand, you have to stand, I’ve been there. It’s totally cool (but I’m glad to be sitting) just, like, I don’t want to be looking there for the next hour of my commute!

The Screamers… and all those Loud Talkers

Definition: People who treat the train car like their own personal living room. They talk, fight, laugh (cackle), scream, cry… or don’t stop their bratty children from screaming and crying… and don’t for one moment seem to care if it’s bothering every single other person stuck on the train with them.

I have had to look away or close my eyes and restrain myself from glaring at so many people, or worse- from saying anything. Especially mothers with screaming children who act like it’s totally fine that their child is crying at the top of it’s lungs and make no effort to silence them. This is about as bad as the adults who carry on for the whole world to hear. Don’t you care about your privacy at all? I mean, even if you don’t… just shut up! Or use your indoor voices! It’s not that hard and it makes the whole time on the train so much better for everyone.

These are some of my favorites… that are funny, worthy of a definition, and that I can get a pretty good picture of. The list of annoying, frustrating, and unique things on the trains also include, but is not limited too: the incredibly smelly, the drunk, the good the bad and the ugly musicians, the dancers (yes, like the kids who blast music and take up the whole isle to dance and usually hit someone in the face), the starers, and the napping (those lovely people who fall asleep and tip onto their neighboring passenger).

There is always something interesting

What have you encountered on a NYC train?  Anything fun that you’d like to share, please comment!  As always- follow, share, like, comment, etc!  and Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @NYChristiane

love always,  Christiane

Advertisements

This Bed is SO Damn Big- Need More Pillows!

I’ll let you all in on a little secret, for 70% of my posts I’ve already decided on the title then I have to come up with the body content. So, when this phrase showed up in my head, I wrote it down to save until I was ready to write the corresponding post, figuring it would be some sob-story, nostalgic post about missing by (ex)boyfriend, and how sleeping alone is so… well, lonely, and yadda yadda yadda.  (especially considering where it’s from)

IMG_1678
But laying in bed last night, forcing myself to fall asleep in the middle of my huge queen size, pillow top bed and not being able to get the title song (of this post) out of my head- I decided what I really needs were more pillows!!! Ya know, decorative throw pillows, to fill up the extra space, to look pretty, to lay on, to set stuff on, and just to be… there. Something to make it feel not so empty…. Make this bed feel a little less big.
Ok, maybe I’ve been spending to much time at Pier 1, but I’ve always loved throw pillows!

20140918-112108-40868259.jpg

Of course waking up the next morning. The previous nights decisions sound totally ridiculous… And expensive. This made me rethink, or think about at all, how much importance I… or we as a society… Place in material things. I am totally guilty of this. “Oh, if I get that lamp, pair of shoes, necklace, bottle of wine, glass figurine… I’ll be happy”!  But once that thing has become yesterday’s news, are we ever any happier? In the long run, probably not… And if you are budget conscious, you are probably even more disappointed. At least, that’s the story of my life.

Yet somehow, I can’t seem to find or maintain those non-tangible things.  AND here’s where it gets sappy.  We all knew it was coming eventually.  I truly miss sharing a bed with the person I lov(ed).  I would never want things to “go back” to the way they were, cause clearly that wasn’t good for any part involved… but did it have to be that way?  We may never know.  And I may never be able to sleep through the night without making my way over to the right side of the bed and waiting for cuddles…. at least until I get lots more pillows!

IMG_1710

love always,  christiane

We Say “Goodbye” to out Girls

“We all have the opportunity to leave our footprint in the sand”

Often we say goodbye and really mean, I’ll see you later. But there is always the looming goodbye that you know is really the last one. I don’t mean to sound harsh or negative or depressing or mean… It’s the circle of life and I’ve experienced my share of it… So I speak from my experience.
The physical being may be gone but the memory lives on in photos and those of us left behind. Sometimes the later in I’ll see you later, may be a long way off but memories are forever. I’m always a fan of “remember the good times”, the times before you fought, got sick, moved on, left. It’s easier said then done though, I know. So here’s to a post about memories and goodbyes.
I just found out my mom had to put her dog to sleep. Scamp, or little dog as I always called her, had lost most of her senses and her organs were failing internally. While we all called her our puppy dog, she was well over 10 years old. She had a great life full of long walks, popcorn, groomers, and food. But that doss not make it any less hard to say that last goodbye.20140915-145618-53778687.jpg

20140915-145618-53778519.jpg

About 5 years ago, we put our other dog, Kate or big dog, down. She to was about 13 and her body was starting to fail her. Even though she always wager her tail when she saw the treats come out or the harness go on, I the end she could hardly stand. It was better for her and for us, to end the pain and remember the good times. Because those are what matters…. While both good and bad build us up, break us down, and make us individuals.

20140915-150114-54074187.jpg

And senses I’m already crying, I will make this a full “in memory” post and white about my dad. We are just 1 month shy of the 3 year date of his passing from an aggressive form of kidney cancer… If you didn’t know that happened, well, now you do. In a whirlwind of a 10 month downhill spirally world changed and I was saying a goodbye that would never be I’ll see you again. What can you do? The body fails but the spirit and Emory lives on… If we dwell on that goodbye we never move forward. It becomes a ball and chain, weighing us down and holding us back. However, if we remember their spirit and channel that in our daily lives, we grow and move onward… Living with their memory and guidance.

20140915-151809-55089530.jpg

20140915-150831-54511266.jpg
We are shadows.

Alright, that’s enough emotions for me today… But it saves me from writing a blabbering unreadable post on October 19th.
The take away, love the moment and live it to the fullest. Love those around you and love yourself… even when it seems impossible. I like to believe that goodbye doesn’t mean goodbye, just I’ll see you later… And depending on what you believe, maybe that’s true… But it’s never any easier.

20140915-151918-55158105.jpg

20140915-151918-55158227.jpg

Reflect, share, comment, like, follow, enjoy.

Love always, Christiane

A Short and Simple Message

Good morning beautiful friends, family, followers, readers, viewers, and visitors.

I feel like such a horrible blog writer!  You all follow and read or even give my blog the time of day and  I’m really good at posting interesting things for a few weeks… then I totally fall of the grid for indefinite lengths of time.   Well This short message is just to say “Don’t give up on my just yet”!

I have a lot of things I want to write about and posts that are in the works… but I always seem to run out of hours in the day.  But with Fall moving into the city, I’m making a change (which my boss pointed out to me yesterday- I’m not good at).  I want to work on getting into a new routine– balancing work at both jobs, time to run and work out, time to socialize with friends and maybe meet new people, time to write interesting and engaging posts for you all to read, and time for myself… whatever that means.

I think that sounds like a good plan.  And just to keep you all interested, I’ll let you in on some of the topics I have planned for you!

– of course, more of the mini series “Sharing is Scare” with dance pictures, videos, and experiences.

– More on life style and culture in New York City, including a piece on Subway travel

– Some posts with a variety of photos from outings in and around the city including “I #liveforcloudydays” (which is also a tag only I have on Instagram… you should check it out @NYChristiane )

– And of course, I’m sure more posts on my personal tango with love, loss, relationships, feelings, life styles, and daily life in general.

Well now, if that does not sound like fun, I don’t know what does!!!

So hang in there and stay tuned, more good stuff is on the way.  Till then, follow, comment, read, share, like, etc.  Also look for my on Instagram and Twitter:  @NYChristiane

Now, if you are in NYC- go out and enjoy this BEAUTIFUL DAY!!!  I already for my run in this morning and I feel great!

love always, christiane

Sharing is Scary Part 2: “Solo” in Progress

Happy Friday fabulous readers!

As promised, I’m continuing to work on and share dance performance and choreography. In this post I’m featuring the first rehearsal footage of a brand new piece I’m working on. This solo, untitled to date, is being performed by yours truly at the moment. I have always feared sharing a piece when is it still very much in progress, because things will change, be added or taken away, and people don’t always take well to seeing mistakes. However, I want to keep working on this piece and I feel like I will be more motivated if I have an audience to share it with. This is also helping me overcome my reservations and hesitations of sharing my original work.  (the link is at the bottom of the post… in hopes that you will read the post then watch the piece!)

 

With this piece being in progress, I thought I would talk a little about the many aspects and pieces that come together to begin work on a piece of choreography, at least as it applies to me. Each dancer and choreographer has their own process and method of working, so do not define the “choreographers way” as what I’m about to talk about… this is just my way.

 

MUSIC

Music is an important, but not totally crucial aspect for dance performance. Many pieces are done with and without music, sometimes the dancers know the track before getting onstage, other times it may be a game of chance. Some choreographers prefer not to use music with lyrics, not wanting the movement or the audience’s perception of the movement to be affected by the preexisting tone of the music.

Personally, I like to choreograph with my music already chosen. I don’t mind pieces with lyrics, but I’ll usually look for one that will compliment the style, movement and “story” of my dance. Often, when I hear a piece of music, I can already start to see the movement come to life in my head… this is how I know it’s something I want to work with. However, it’s not always the first piece of music that ends up fitting for a piece of dance. For this solo, I had chosen a very different piece of music, one that was very personal to me, and would fir well with the track for “Shaded Blue”… but at this time I was not motivated as I should be, to choreograph to it.   The piece I ended up choosing, “Elements” by Lindsay Stirling (check out her site and music!), found me. It came on a co-workers Pandora Radio station on day and I was hooked.  I could feel the creative juices starting to flow and I wanted to start creating right there in the middle of work… I know this was a piece I had to work with.

 

MOVEMENT

I like to create and set movement that is comfortable in my body. If I’m working on a piece for myself, or without a particular performer in mind, I will create using movement that highlight my strengths and show my body the way I want. On the other hand, if I’m setting movement on a particular dancer(s) or working with someone specific in mind, I will choreograph to highlight their strengths, while staying true to my form and style. For example, the opening solo to “Shaded Blue” which was specifically designed for Emily! I’m not at all adverse to making choreographic adjustments in the future, to make any piece a better fit for the dancer.

I have a tendency to pull from the variety of styles 

 

STRUCTURE, FORM, FUTURE

Some choreographers have a piece already mostly set, either in theirs heads or on paper, then the rehearsal process is just getting that out onto actual dancers. Others prefer to create as they go… maybe having definite points or movements that will happen as a given time, but the rest come together like a puzzle as they work. I am a little of both I think, depending on the piece. “Shaded Blue” was 90% written out on paper before I ever set foot in the studio with it and dancers. While changes and adjustments were made throughout the process, most of it is as I originally set. This new solo, on the other hand, is very much coming together each time I get in the studio to work.  While I have some ideas for the overall look and direction of the piece, I don’t always know what’s coming next… so much of my rehearsal time, right now, is playing and seeing what comes out.  The rehearsal process will be for another post… Yay, something to look forward too!!

In my head, this piece is a sister piece to “Shaded Blue” (premiered in the last Sharing is Scary post). watch it again! While “Shaded Blue” was more so movement for movement’s sake, this solo is a little more aggressive and the character is troubled. There is more tension on the stage and she is always looking off to something else… something just off stage… something she can’t have. The movement is more angular and sharp and I actually love the silhouette look I got in the studio! The music adds to the driving element, while being light and easy to listen to… and believe me, I listen to it a LOT!  the first week of working on this piece, I listened to the track every day on my 45 minute train commute, just to get it in my body and lear the music, phrasing, and character.  

When this piece will be finished… performed… with or without “Shaded Blue” is beyond me.  Right now I’m working on it so I can keep creating and to have something special to share with you all!  I would LOVE to reset Blue with this piece when it’s done… but I also don’t want to rush myself so I truly create something I’m proud of and enjoy.  (“Shaded Blue” is by far my favorite piece of Modern/Contemporary dance I’ve done… so this new one has a big sister to live up to)!!

And on that note… I should fork over the link to the new piece and let y’all see it for yourselves!  Here it is “Solo” 2014.  Please feel free to share, like, comment, etc!!  I love your feedback and support!  

 

Love always,  Christiane