No Mean City

No Mean City

No Mean City

No Mean City

Excerpt

BEGINNINGI ROUGHLY, A YEAR AFTER PEARL HARBOR, IT was no trouble at all to answer questions on the FortySecond Street shuttle of the subway; and to answer promptly and correctly. The people who asked for help were visitors from the United States, with a sprinkling of Canadians and British. Most of them were in uniform and often they carried duffle bags, if sailors, and luggage of all varieties, if soldiers or Wacs or Waves. There were also a good many civilian inquirers. They were in New York on business closely connected with the men in uniform.

When they stopped a person and asked how you got to Times Square or to Grand Central Terminal it was of course quite simple, inasmuch as the railroad station is at one end of the subway shuttle and Times Square is at the other end. But more complicated problems were also handled expeditiously and, we trust, courteously. If the visitor asked the way to Pennsylvania Station, or to Columbia University where the naval cadets were being trained, or to the Bronx where the Waves were at school, or to South Ferry or to Brooklyn, the old inhabitant gave the right answer, practically without hesitation.

This was not always the case, even if the old inhabitant had been touring the New York subway since it was opened. Up to, let us say, the year 1935, he did not know how to direct visitors who asked questions. About that time he set himself seriously to master the problem, because of a . . .

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