I was on the train last night, and I saw someone had etched HARlEM into the train wall, scratching the paint to form the letters. So, obviously, the first thing that bothered me is that he made all of his letters capitalized except the L.
That aside, it struck me as odd. Let’s say this fellow is proud of Harlem, presumably his hometown. So, how better to share your pleasure with the neighborhood of your youth than to carve it into a subway car. A subway line, I might add, that doesn’t go within fifty blocks of Harlem.
So let’s say that’s a normal method of indicating your town allegiance. I can live with that. (Not really, but let’s go with it.) The perplexing part of it is that it was crossed out in the same style of scratching. Did he USED to favor Harlem but now isn’t a fan? Did he jot down the car number and track it down to retract his earlier statement? Scratcher’s remorse? Did some other, similarly equipped fellow walk by and determine that a Harlem engraving was not to his satisfaction and he had to cross it out? If he did, why not claim the car in your town’s name? Why not make it the “Lower East Side” car?
I don’t have an answer for this, I was just thinking about it, and thought I would share.