NOTE: Here are older Boston subway stories. For more current T tales, see Universal Hub's MBTA pages.
Compiled by Adam Gaffin
What's that smell?
Erika plans to avoid the Green Line around 3 p.m. from now on:
... He and I sat down at the same time, and I couldn't help but fear that people would think that the heavy cloud of stench was coming from me. He was well-dressed and otherwise neat in appearance, but it was all I could do to hold back the choking noises. ...
When ya gotta go, ya gotta go
On Dec 31, 2002, I was at first night with a couple of friends. We got out at the Boylston station, where, walking toward the exit, I saw a guy with his back to us, facing the escalator, checking to see if anyone was looking. As we walked past him, it became clear that he was....let's say he was using the escalator as one would a urinal. Interesting choice.
Stahting to love Boston
Jane explains how she's starting to love Boston: She's on the Green Line when she gets to talking to a guy from North Carolina and his young daughter who had just toured Fenway Park:
She gives me a million watt smile and asks me if I want to know what she has learned about Boston. Of course I say, SURE.
She responds in a true Boston accent: "Nomaaaaaaar is wicked ahhhhhsome."
Green Line grinders
Okay now I know the T gets crowded but c'mon now people! How many men out there really think they can successfully get away overtly with griding themselves against women riders standing (or sitting next to them) irregardless of whether they are drunk or sober? (And I've seen both) This really should not be a problem that women should have to encounter in their daily lives, commuting on the T. There is one ridiculous little older man with longer white hair who has this awful habit of leaning himself (if you know what I mean) against women's sholders when they are seated while pretending to be engrossed in his newspaper. I complained to another girl friend about what a crazy loser this guy is and she surprised me by saying that he also harassed her on the T as well. I can't say how many times I've been forced to really yell at guys who were clearly out for some lame cheap thrill when the T was clearly "not THAT crowded". Didn't there use to be a time where people had some manners and decency? These guys are really pathetic!
Even slower than usual
A few months ago, I was on the B line going inbound. When the train got to Packard's Corner, the driver announced that the train would be going express to Kenmore. When the train got to Babcock Street, it stopped and the second car opened it's front door to let people on. Then again at Pleasant Street, the train stopped and the second car opened it's door to let people on.
At St. Paul Street, the train stopped again, and once again the driver of the second car opened the door to let people on, and then the driver came over the intercom, "Close your door, we were express." The train stopped at all the rest of the stops before Kenmore with the driver on the intercom yelling, "We were express, close it up, you keep holding me up, they keep calling me, evidently your radio doesn't work!" And the entire time the conductor of the second car very calmly opened his door and wouldn't close it until everybody was on. That was the slowest express train I've ever been on.
This afternoon, February 15, 2004, I met a guy at the Hynes Convention Center stop on the Green Line while I was waiting for the T. He introduced himself by wishing me a "Happy Valentine's Day," and we chatted while we waited for the T. He said he was a student at Boston Architectural Center. We continued to talk on the T and soon found out that we both were getting off at Park Street for the Red Line. He was heading to Braintree, and I was heading to Central Square to catch a bus to Waltham. We shared a few quick kisses before I jumped on the Red Line. I didn't catch his name. If you know who you are, please let me know.
Going, going ...
Call it the Mini Dig. Soon, the MBTA will tear down the elevated Green Line tracks between North Station and Lechmere, replacing it with a tunnel. Here's the view looking north from North Station:
I got on the B at Harvard Ave one time. Took the last seat on the T and started reading. "Pssst!" I hear. I turn to my right and see this crazy looking dude with 2 brown paper bags in his lap, 1 big, 1 little. His eyes were wide and excited like a little kid. Yellow stained teeth. Messy hair. Real Freak. He says "Hey, I've got a rat in this bag the size of a football..." I said "suuuure you do" and kept reading.
He turned his attention to another guy and started trying to chat him up. Then he reached into the little bag and I see a tail come out and my heart skips. Turns out to be a little white mouse which he proceeds to let sit on his shoulder and crawl all over him. He's showing it affection. It's his best friend. So now I'm staring at his big bag on the ground about 2 feet from me with trepidation.
About 15 minutes goes by, like Packards Corner to BU. Then he exclaims "I can't take it, I gotta show you, he's so beautiful!" and Bam! out comes the biggest street rat in North America. Big like a football just like he said with a big white stripe. Ive seen many rats living in Allston but this was by far the largest.
A collective groan of disgust erupts from about the 5 people who have noticed. I storm away down the car cursing the crazy bastard. and he's down at his end caressing this rat laughing at me. asking "did I upset you?" I yelled some more "rat-boy" expletives at him and he got off about 2 stops later with his 2 brown bags. That one took the cake, imagine if he would have let it loose on the T.
Next stop ...
Steven M. writes:
I've been riding the T for over 10 years and can't help but encounter this strange little guy every so often who yells out at fellow passengers, saying all the stations the train is going to next, like he was the train's PA annoucement system. I always note him as a nut.
NO PICTURES, NO PICTURES!
My boyfriend and I were visiting Boston from Atlanta. We were very excited to be on a subway. I had my camera out and began to snap some pics of the T's various walls and of the trains. Then a cop came running and screaming at me! He was yelling "NO PICTURES NO PICTURES!" I shrugged my shoulders and put the camera away. When he got to us, he demanded the film. I looked at him like he was crazy. My boyfriend explained that I was obviously stupid because I was a southerner. This didn't faze the cop, as he still demanded the film. I pressed rewind on the camera when it was inside my pocket,and took the film out. He was still talking to us when the next train pulled up. We got on and he was distracted as the herds of Bostonians moved onto the train. Bizarre as it was the developed film showed nothing unusal.
Good drivers on the E line
Scott Page writes:
It was four years ago, I was 8 and some crazy man was bothering my mom, my brother, my friends and I. After 5 minutes the train came down the hill. (I was waiting at the Riverway stop on south Huntington Ave). The man had threatened to blow our heads off with his imadginary gun (I think he was drunk!!!). The train had stop and opened its doors for us. we ran on threw the our money in the fare box and sat down. Then the drunk guy came running at the train cursing! The driver closed the door and the man smacked head first into the front door of the Type 7 Kinki LRV. I was very happy to see that the MBTA drivers always do a great job!!!
Visiting Boston from New Zealand I once took this line with a local friend. We got on the subway taking hold of the high grip holds, standing up.
After a few stops these two people got in the tram with us. It was quite crowded but a few dirty seats were spare, this man and women took the seats next to an older handicapped man. They were very loud and drunk (it's mid-day) and after a few moments the man started a coughing fit. He coughed up vile onto this lovely old man in the next seat without even noticing.
The older man was notably upset and the vibes in the tram were tense. We helped the older man to clean up, the drunks were arguing now and the man spat at the older man with purpose and onto the surrounding area.
We helped the man to move away and watched these horrible people continue to upset everyone on the trip. I have never seen such sub-human behaviour before. Horrible.
An animal nut
My friend and I were going down the stairs to get on the Green Line, when a woman barked at us "animal rights!" Being a vegetarian and having two cats myself, I am always looking for another way to help animals and decided to ask more about it. the woman told me not to ask anythink about it, just give her $5 and put my name on the paper. I told her I wasn't just going to give her my money without knowing what it was for and she just snarled at. I finally got it out of her that it was for birth control to strays and I asked another question. I don't know if this whole thing was rude or not, but I didn't think that asking a few questions about an organization I might give my hard earned money for is wrong. Anyways, so as the woman took out another smoke, so yelled "I don't have any god-damn time to play twenty questions with some stupid brat!" I didn't know what to do, so I just ran down the stairs.
Michael West writes:
I used to be a frequent visitor to Boston, and love the city very much. The T though is always a great experience, and i could travel on it all day. Last Xmas, I was travelling from Coolidge Corner into Park Street. As per usual that time of year, the T was packed to the rafters, and it was standing room only. At St. Marys, I was engrossed in something (prob a girl's butt) when this man with a holly wreath confronts me, and starts to ask me "How much do you think this cost". I said I had no idea, and for the rest of the journey he chatted about the rising cost of ivy, and holly wreaths. Then he noticed my English accent, and I had to give him the full run down on holly wreaths quality and price back in the UK. It was just the most bizarre journey i had ever taken! I have never forgotten him!!
Couple of boobs at Kenmore
I was sitting on the T with my friend one Saturday afternoon, minding my own business. At Kenmore these two old guys got on and sat in the seats in front of us. I saw one of them whisper something in the other one's ear and look back at me. I just ignore them. This whispering continues and I hear the words, "... her boobs..." They look back again. When I finally got up for my stop, one of them says to the other, "HERE'S your chance to look at them!!" To this day my friends still say that to me when I wear cleavage showing shirts.
You see that? See what?
I am convinced that a naked person can walk on the T and no one would bat an eyelash.
Does wearing a devil's costume with a miniscule red thong count?
Seen on the Green line (D) this Halloween; for about 5 minutes, I was convinced the guy was actually naked till he turned around.
Yes, that is the WEIRDEST Boston phenomenon. Just about anything can happen and no one will acknowledge it happening. For instance, the T drivers who sing. When I've heard this on most of the lines during the commute, no one reacts or looks around to see what others' reactions are. I have been on a few trains where people were expressing amusement/annoyance/whatever, but these were all B-line trains on weekend evenings, which were full of student-types traveling in packs. Otherwise, anything can happen on the T and no one would acknowledge it.
Nothing wrong with this, I suppose, though I wonder if this also means people would not do anything if someone were to cause harm to another person who was out in public alone. I hope that isn't the case.
Where am I?
My roommate told me this... he went out drinking with coworkers one night and everybody bought a round. When he was leaving to go home, he was about as drunk as he's ever been. He was waiting for a trolley at North Station when he lay down on a bench and fell asleep. After a while, he woke up, in the same position, on a bench at Brookline Vilage. He has no recollection as to how he got there.
The star-spangled Green Line
This Fourth of July, I ended up riding alone on a brutally hot evening to catch the fireworks. A couple of kids who were drinking patriotic brews started singing the national anthem, and by the time they finished, about 40 people were involved! That stuff didn't happen in Montana. ...I love this town.
Halloween on the D line
A coupla drug-afflicted decades ago, I was on the Green Line heading from Newton towards Allston for a Halloween party (sorry- pahdy) and was delighted to see a tall & elegant bunny get on, sit down, & read the Globe. Coupla stops later, a coupla more bunnies got on. It was evident that one couldn't assume all bunnies know each other, as neither crew paid attention to the other. No special notice was given to a third bunny rider who got on a few stops later, even though he was dressed for a formal occasion. I loved it!
I couldn't decide whether to be concerned or proud of being aggragated wit' dese types when every one of them eventually turned up at the pahdy I was at.
How to deal with evangelists on the T
Just remembered this one. In 1991 or maybe early '92, some musician friends and I were in the Govt. Center T stop waiting for a train. It was very late, probably just before the last train, and there weren't a lot of people there, so we started singing. I don't remember what we were singing, but it must've been some kind of rock because it clearly annoyed the evangelist who was set up in there with his little sound system and country-Christian tapes. When he started telling us we were going to hell for performing the Devil's music, we switched to Christmas carols, in five-part harmony, and drowned him out. Dumb, I grant you, but we were high school seniors and thought we owned the planet. :)
The singing driver
The Green Line trolley has a new driver (at least I've not heard his commentaries before) that several of my fellow riders believed was drunk the other night. Having ridden in his trolley several times now, I know know that he was not drunk, but is always this "bizarre!".
He gives commentaries throughout the ride, announcing the stops and the side of the car that the door is going to open on with a dramatic flourish, telling the passengers on the trolley to wave and smile at all the riders who couldn't fit on our car, announcing our average speed (25 mph) and average elevation ("ground level" or "below ground level"), and on this recent Saturday: he SANG to us, as we were preparing to disboard at Park "...if you leave me now, you'll take away the biggest part or me....".
He also apologized for his "ramblings" but indicated that he was bored, and that talking to us helped keep him awake. And he further explained, that the alternative of a sleeping T driver, was not a good thing.
Anyone else ride on this guy's trolley?
I've been on his trolley many times and it's always fun to see how people react to him. I've seen people laugh out loud as well as move to the back to get away from him.
I think he's so much fun, wish there were more like him.
AAAAAAH! The wacky Green Line trolley guy! I know exactly who you're talking about, Blusteryday! My girlfriend and I have both been on the trolley with him, and heard his various weird monologues! I think he's awesome! It totally makes the time pass quicker when you're riding the T.
St. Mary's for a song
I've been on the train with the singing subway driver. When people got off at Kenmore, he told them he would miss them and started singing "If you leave me now"; then when he closed the doors, he said "I thought they would never leave."
Then when the train got to the St. Mary's stop, a young kid was holding the door open and waiting for his friend and the driver yelled "Either get on or off the train" and after the kids got on and went down the back of the train the driver said "Thank you so much, I really appreciated it," because they didn't thank him for waiting.
It was probably the first time (and only time) I didn't want to get off the train.
The ex-wife is in Virginia
Our college sponsors an alternative spring break trip every year and last year we ended up in Boston working with Community Servings and other Great orgs around the city. Well one night on our way home,towards Riverside, we had the same singing driver he asked us where we were from and when we said VA he joked about the whole for lovers thing and commented that his ex-wife now lived there. It really made our night.
A real ding-dong
Sarcastic Sam writes:
It's probably not the same guy, but there used to be a driver who would tell people over the p.a. to ring for their stops when going outbound on the C line "Ring fo' ya stops. Ding-Downg. Ding-Downg."
And when it was crowded "Move away from the doors. Don't be shy, move up close to somebody you like."
One time, a few years ago, I got on the Green at Copley, at Boylston this couple got on. I noticed they were walking strangly close and it looked awkward as they sat down. Hmmm, no biggie. but when they got up for their stop at Park, I noticed they were handcuffed together!
Getting off the T one morning at Brigham Circle, I sleepily noticed the bare legs of a man boarding. I thought to myself, "My, it's a little early to be wearing shorts." Then I looked up to discover the man was wearing nothing but his tighty whities. Everyone walked by as if nothing was out of the ordinary.