Living Off the 6
Sometimes a subway line is more than just a means of transportation. It's your identity.
In 1999, Jennifer Lopez named her first album “On the 6,” after the train that runs from the Bronx to Brooklyn Bridge, because it represented the artery that took her from her working class roots in the Bronx to beckoning stardom in “The City.” And it worked—I doubt JLo has seen the inside of a subway car in at least 20 years.
The next year, in 2000, I found my first apartment, a rent-stabilized one-bedroom in East Harlem, two long avenues from the 6 train. When I got the phone call from the management company accepting my lease application, I ran out of my Russian History class and jumped up and down in the hallway, howling and whooping, shocked and exhilarated that I had finally found a place in “The City” to call my own. I was moving to Manhattan from my parents’ apartment on the North Shore of Staten Island—quite the leap.
In the weeks leading up to the move I’d sit in classes I should have been paying attention to and whip out my notebook—the one emb…