27. Because You Can Find Love Underground

Photo: All by Glenn Glasser

REBECCA CARROLL, 38, magazine editor
CHRISTOPHER BONASTIA, 40, sociology professor
Rebecca: It was a Friday afternoon in August 2003. I was on the platform changing from the G to the L on my way in from Greenpoint. At the time, I was obsessed with this kind of Trident gum that snaps out from the package—you have to push it with some force—and I dropped a piece onto the ground. Chris came over and pointed at the gum: “I’ll bet you a quarter that between now and when the train comes someone will step on that.” I remember thinking it was a very good thing he was pretty hot, because otherwise I definitely would not have accepted the wager. We didn’t really talk, we just stood there and looked at this little square of gum. Just as the L came, someone stepped on it. I gave Chris his quarter on the train. He had a lot of bags with him, so I asked him if he was going away for the weekend, and he said he was going up to Harvard for a conference on race and social policy. I’m stunned when I meet a white person who cares about race, plus I’ve written books on race, and I’d done a fellowship at Harvard, so of course I gave him my card. We went out for our first date that Thursday. Ten months later, Chris proposed to me on that same subway platform. Our son’s 2½ years old.

MITCHELL RATCHIK, 37, creative director at an advertising agency
SUSANNA KO, 37, deputy design director at Martha Stewart Crafts
Mitchell: About ten years ago, I lived at Bleecker and Broadway. I took the 6 train up to 23rd Street to work, and every morning I saw this cute Chinese girl with a Depeche Mode haircut, this perfect alternative chick. We would always sit across from each other on the train, playing eye hockey—one would look up, the other would look down. We both got off at 23rd, and she went west and I went east. I never said anything because there’s an unwritten law not to approach people on the subway, and I didn’t want to get maced. Then suddenly I stopped seeing her on the train. I thought that was it until one night in 1998, I was having drinks at a bar on 20th Street, and I saw her walk by. I said, “Oh my God, that’s the girl!” This time I ran over and asked for her name. It turned out we were both graphic designers, but then she had to go and I didn’t see her for a year after that. Then, in 1999, I went to the laundry room of my building and she was there. I said, “What are you doing here?” She said, “I live here. What are you doing here?” Our first date was at the Museum of Natural History, and we eloped to Iceland in 2002.

ARIANA KOMAROFF, 33, nurse practitioner
Ariana: We met on July 7, 2002. We were both heading up to the Bronx Half Marathon. It was 6 a.m. on the platform at 59th and Lexington, and all these runners were standing around, trying to figure out what was going on. There was some construction, all those signs for switched trains. According to Bill, he noticed me immediately. I went downstairs to the 4/5 track and he followed me. We made a plan where I’d stay at the bottom and he’d wait at the top and we’d motion to each other whenever the first train came. The local came first. It took us 45 minutes to get to Bedford Park Boulevard and we talked the whole way, but only exchanged first names. Later, he told me that he waited for me at the finish line, after sizing me up as a nine-minute-mile runner. But we never saw each other. Three days later, I got a message from him. He said, “Hi, it’s Bill, we met on the subway, and no, I’m not a stalker.” It turns out he “result-stalked” me, looking up my time on the race Website. We had a great first date, dated for a few months, then broke up. Two years later, we ran into each other and started dating again. We were married in January 2007.

ERIC GRONNINGSATER, 55, investment banker
AMY LEVINE, 61, retired pharmaceutical-company administrator
Amy: In the summer of 1975, we were both taking a night class in NYU’s business school. Back then, the business school was down near the Stock Exchange, and during the first week of class, I saw Eric on the 2/3 train uptown. I was talking to this other guy from the program, and Eric offered me his seat. I said, “Okay,” but didn’t take the seat, and continued talking to the other guy, but kept Eric in the conversation. It was very clear he was interested—and I was quite attracted to him, too. The other guy got off at 34th Street, and Eric and I stayed on and kept talking until he got off at 72nd Street. It was a three-hour class that got out very late at night and we were always very tired, but we started to take the subway home together after each class, twice a week. On our first date, we got together and he helped me with my calculus and then later we went to his friend’s post- final-exam party together. We got married the following March, in 1976, so we’ve been married for 31 years now. We still live on the Upper West Side, and he still takes the subway to work every day.

27. Because You Can Find Love Underground