Commentary

The Cutest Cockroach

That’s what PIRG’s Straphangers Campaign should look for next. It’s just about as fitting as choosing the best New York City subway line, which this year was the L. I’m very familiar with the L, and for years I’ve claimed its stops have the highestââ?¬â??how should I put thisââ?¬â??liquid waste content of all. Seems strange that the Straphangers measure dirt levels. Most New Yorkers would welcome dirt as an alternative to what they have to deal with. I’m also surprise the 1/9 and the 2 and 3 ranked as high as they did in terms of service. During the morning rush in Brooklyn it’s common to see three or four nearly empty Brooklyn bound trains before one Manhattan bound train creaks on by. Perhaps the Straphangers measured overall volume of service without considering if the service is going the direction most people want to go. Of course the subways are better than they used to be, at the very least there’s much less graffiti. But that’s part of the problem. Our frame of reference only compares the subway against an earlier version of itself. Without any sort of competition, choosing the best subway line will always be as empty a practice as choosing the cutest cockroach.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.