Just Another Day on the M35
New York's shortest bus route serves two homeless shelters, a substance abuse center, and a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. In other words, it’s one helluva ride.
Historically, New York City has used its islands in the East River to contain institutions it wishes to keep close at hand but comfortably insulated from polite society. Randall’s Island has, at various times, held an almshouse, a reform school, an orphanage, a rest home for Civil War veterans and an “idiots’ asylum.” Its conjoined twin, Wards Island, housed a pauper’s graveyard, a hospital for destitute immigrants and, since 1937, an immense sewage plant. Now mostly parkland, the two islands still host a residential substance abuse treatment center, two homeless shelters and a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. All are served by one bus: the M35.
Every day, more than 1,000 men, most of them temporary residents of the islands, take the M35 into Harlem to see doctors, visit family, work and look for jobs before returning home in the evening. Measured by duration, the M35 is Manhattan’s shortest bus line. Without traffic, a round trip takes just …
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