The tourist had no idea what was coming.
“Great shoes!” bellowed the smiling, chunky woman from her seat on the crowded downtown 6 train. “Thank you,” replied the flattered tourist. “For a whore!” cackled the woman.
Wide-eyed, the tourist and her companion tried to retreat down the car, but the foul-smelling woman’s booming voice followed her. “Slut! What’s with that dress? . . . And what the hell are you other [expletive] looking at?”
All too familiar with this, locals on the train stared benignly at their cellphones as the woman screamed profanities with obvious delight, but the tourists seemed in shock. Perhaps they were waiting for a plainclothes cop to emerge and throw this abusive woman off the train. Yeah, good luck with that.
This incident happened only days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to fend off challenger Cynthia Nixon’s attacks in last week’s gubernatorial debate. When Nixon said Cuomo “uses the MTA like an ATM,” it wasn’t only a clever line, it rang true.
Cuomo seems to have a safe lead in the polls, and Nixon is probably too far left to win many votes upstate. But her words on our deteriorating transit system stung Cuomo, who falsely claimed that “the subway is owned by New York City.” Meanwhile, Nixon is correct: The state has looted the MTA for pet projects, including $5 million to boost state-run ski resorts, according to The New York Times.
I’m sure that Nixon, who rides the subway (I’ve seen her on the West Side lines more than once), has experienced her share of maddening delays and bullies terrorizing subway cars. Cuomo? He’s up in Albany, removed from the hell millions of us endure each week. The next time you see Cuomo (or Mayor Bill de Blasio or members of the MTA board) on the subway, you can safely bet it’s for a photo-op, not to actually get to an appointment.
When dead-silent riders piled off the 6 train at Grand Central, the chunky woman screamed, “Have a nice day, you [expletive] suckers!” Perhaps Cuomo can steal that line for his campaign slogan.
Yes, that foul-mouthed woman needs help. So do we.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.