Take the J Train. Please.


The train of the future?Photo: Everett Bogue

We were standing in the Bowery and Delancey subway station a few minutes before nine last night when we heard the most unusual sound. It wasn’t the rumbling of ancient, rusted steel that typically precedes the J/M/Z line’s antique subway cars; it was instead a fresh, clean, newly minted sound. It sounded good. Commuters’ heads turned. It was a brand-new R160, the sleek train that runs on the L line. Even better, it seemed to want to be there: A bright, bold “J” glowed on each LED screen. The crowd yearned to board. But it was not to be: A sign on each door announced “Test Train - Train Is Not In Service”; it paused for only a brief moment in the station, opened and closed the doors on the wrong side of the train, and trundled off toward Canal Street. We were left with questions. Are new trains really coming to this unloved line? Does this mean Bushwick has been irredeemably gentrified? Will our rent go up? The answers: Maybe. The MTA will say only that they’re testing the trains on several lines, and a spokesman wouldn’t confirm any J plans. We’re still choosing to believe. —Everett Bogue