On Friday, June 25th the Metropolitan Transit Authority implemented another round of service cuts, slashing subway service and bus lines, and removing whole train routes from the system, specifically retiring the W and the V trains. This was the most radical restructuring of NYC’s mass transit system in a decade, a system that carries 5 million people M-F and is the only public transit system in the world that runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Some New Yorkers wrote letters to their congressman. Some called into WNYC to complain. We threw a party.
Not just any party mind you, but a festive funeral party on board the last departing V train out of the 2nd avenue station, headed for Forest Hills, Queens. Jonah Levy managed the whole shindig and promoted it heavily and cost-free via emails and Facebook. Called “We Hardly Knew V,” the invite took on a more outraged and political tone than the party itself.
We Hardly Knew V is an outraged outcry against the mismanagement of the New York City Subway . For years, budget gaps have grown, trains have been delayed and re-routed and now we come to a devastating termination. Bring your voices and lets “V” heard!
The party was much more of a celebration, a spirited gathering and an excuse to make a lot of noise on the NYC subway. By the time 11:30pm rolled around, we amassed a crew of 200 party people, pumped to ride the last train out of existence. After completely filling up two cars on the train and throwing around rolls of crepe paper, hanging pinatas and passing out orange “V” flowers and noisemakers, the last V train in history lurched into motion on its way out of the city!
The NYPD was a constant presence on our party train, which helped our celebration rather than hurt it. At the very beginning they warned us “no drinking, no amplified noise, no graffiti, no problem!” and posted uniformed officers at all the doors, making sure that everyone got onto and off of the trains without harm, and that the train didn’t have any over-crowding issues. It happened to be one officer’s birthday, and the crowd sang a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday” at the top of their lungs.
The costumes ranged from orange wigs and orange teeshirts, to orange jumpsuits and orange dyed hair. There were orange ties, orange belts, orange shoes, orange hats and oranges. Three enterprising young women made their own V Train tshirts, with all the stops that the V surges through on its daily commute. Needless to say, these ladies will sorely miss their favorite train.
When we got to Forest Hills (famous for giving the world The Ramones as well as Spiderman!) an hour later, the train pulled into the station and the crowds surged up the stairs and out into the warm Queens night, in search of a bar and celebratory rounds of beers, in memory of our no-longer running V train comrade. We Hardly Knew V, and V will be surely missed!