My assignment was to travel from Coney Island to Times Square, document it and produce a 60-second clip of the journey.
I hadn’t been to Coney Island, so I was excited for the opportunity to see that part of the city. It’s a place that is both eerie and wholly intriguing. Now that it’s winter and the attractions are closed, it has a real post-apocalyptic ghost town feel. Vibrant colors and wide open natural light made it great for filming.
I chose to bike there, because I figured everyone else in my class would take the subway. It was a 30-mile ride to get there that took me down the west side bike path, across Canal Street, over the Manhattan Bridge, down Flatbush Ave to Prospect Park then all the way down Mcdonald Ave. until I made it to the Boardwalk. (Geography nerds, see map below).
Needless to say, I worked up quite a sweat. As soon as I stopped moving and started filming, the magnificent winter sea breeze froze my damp clothing immediately. Looking through my footage back in the lab, I noticed the camera seemed to do a lot of shaking towards the end due to my incessant shivering.
Pleased with the shooting I had done, I hopped back on my bike. Not 10 minutes into the return trip, I heard the familiar, terrifying noise of a flat tire.
“POP. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” it screamed at me.
I came to a halt, luckily right below the elevated Avenue U Station of the F train. I hauled my bike up to the platform. The turnstile was one of those full-length cages so I had to shove my bike in, swipe my card, then push it through.
Then, I had to swipe myself through.
“INSUFFICIENT FARE,” the angry green letters beamed back at me.
Here I was in the middle of Gravesend, Brooklyn with my precious bike on the other end of the turnstile.
I walked down to street level and hurried to the other end of the platform, refilled my Metrocard and went to rescue my bike. All the while, I stopped to shoot some hurried video.
Luckily, my bike was still there. Although it had been moved aside to let passengers through.
Now, if you ask me to name the two most awkward things to do on the New York City Subway system, I would list them in this order: 1) film strangers. 2) lug a bike onto the train.
I had to do both.
It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience, but I’m alive and I’m glad to have done it.
I’m a journalist, I like having a good story to tell.