We've all had that tinge of curiosity when we spot a curious-looking person on the subway during the off-hours, thinking to ourselves, "Where could they possibly be going?" Armed with just a FlipCam, Jen Jamula and Alli Goldberg, the creators of the blog Why Are You on My Train? have dared ask the question of multiple New Yorkers and shared some of the best responses with City's Best.
How did you two meet?
We met as theater majors at Yale. Since then, we've acted in plays together in New York, and decided this past summer to broaden our artistic horizons as collaborators through our production company and projects such as Why Are You On My Train?
What gave you the idea to start the blog?
For a while, our full-time jobs were essentially riding the subway to and from auditions. We had always pondered what a unique place the subway is -- packed with all the diversity of New York in an enclosed space, yet no one takes the opportunity to connect. We knew there were stories to be captured. We originally thought of making this into a theater piece, but with tools like blogs and FlipCams, we decided we could share the stories most directly, immediately, and with the widest audience through a vlog. We have pages on the site where you can share your stories and submit interview questions for us to ask.
How have people responded when you approach them?
We expected -- as we think most New Yorkers do -- to be rejected. However, we've been pleasantly surprised to find that the vast majority of the people we approach are friendly and eager to share their stories with us. Sometimes people are slightly cautious, but once we explain the site and share our story, they respond in kind.
What is the weirdest story you have heard from an interviewee?
There are so many. We met a man who told us that humans used to have telepathy and, instead of hunting, they would simply summon the animals to them and kill them. We spoke with an adorable couple that actually met on Twitter. We had a long talk with a rastaman who suddenly pulled out a giant spool of yarn and told us how he knits colorful hats and scarves on the subway.
Which trains seem to have the best stories?
We've interviewed on most of the trains -- minus the G, but seriously? Who rides that train anyway? -- and the 1/2/3 trains have consistently delivered the best stories. No offense to the people of the C train, but so far we've been disappointed on our jaunts there. The other trains have been hit or miss. As expected, the Union Square and Times Square platforms always provide.
What were you doing on the train outside of the 9 to 5 rush hour?
As theater artists, we've always been on the train at odd hours, but regardless of the hour, it is always packed. Who are all these people? We realize that people aren't going to start approaching strangers now, but we kind of wish they would. It's definitely less weird than meeting people on the Internet, which has become very normal.