Strangers on a Train


Here’s a nice review of Curry Long’s new book:

"In this city of eight million-plus people, there are
certain rules by which we must abide in order to preserve our sanity.
Take the subway for instance, those mobile zoos of human exhibition.
The unofficial MTA code of conduct states that one must not maintain
unnecessary eye contact (lest you unwittingly imply you’re in need of a
new dance partner); one must not peruse another passenger’s reading
material, even if it features naked people; one must not graze elbows
or any other body parts; and one must not converse with other riders
(particularly not about their aforementioned lurid reading material).
But one man has found a way to quietly connect with his fellow New
Yorkers, bypassing convention without breaking any rules.

Cully Long is a theater set designer by day and a subway sketch artist
by night. With his moleskine sketchbook and ballpoint pen, 34-year-old
Long boards the A Train at 59th Street and settles in for an
interrupted ride up to 125th. Along the way, he draws whoever is seated near him. He’s not choosy, so
Long’s sketches reveal a social equality present on the subway, despite
its absence in the greater city. “Everybody in NYC, from the mayor down
to the homeless, rides the train,” says Long, “So if you’re looking at
these people, I think you can’t help but wonder about everybody else’s
life … who these people are, where they’re going, why they’re wearing
that particular thing.”

Cully Long, subway sketch artist and renaissance man
By Kari Milchman

New York Press

Book link