We were making small talk at the Catskill Bagel Company on Cortelyou. As you filled me in on the growing unreliability of the New York subway this summer, she put down her paper and stared.

“Excuse me,” she said. A quick twist of the wrist moved three silver bracelets into place. “I couldn’t help hearing your conversation, and I have to correct you. The subway is a jewel. A national treasure.” The glasses she examined us through matched her bracelets. “If you’d seen it in the 70’s – do you have any idea what it was like? The stations are spotless now in comparison.” She waits for us to contradict her. We can’t. We weren’t alive in the 70’s. “Do you know how many people depend on the subway every day? Do you know how many trains are on time? To the second? Do you know what goes into pulling that off 24 hours a day, every single day? New York is the greatest city in the world because of that system. I’m tired of nobody giving it its due respect.”

I was disappointed when she did not then reveal herself as MTA’s President or Director or the next city Mayor, but instead nodded to us both, and went back to reading her paper.

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