The G train is the skinny jeans of the subway system, the artisanal mayonnaise store of public transit, in that it’s the butt of easy Brooklyn jokes, all the good ones of which have been made about eight years ago. Two videos about the G appeared in our inboxes today: The above is a faux-History Channel documentary take on the mysterious G train. “In the history of railroad travel, there is no train more elusive than the G,” the video goes before cutting to person-on-the-street interviews with people making the sort of comments about the G train that they make about a sasquatch. The video is cute and funny enough, as is this other one featuring Brokelyn faves Jo Firestone and Tyler Fischer on a date, which ends abruptly when Tyler realizes Jo lives off the G.
But the time of making fun of the G train needs to come to an end. It’s never been as bad as you thought, it’s not leaving you like the L train is and, unlike your job, it doesn’t force you to go into Manhattan, ever. Let’s celebrate the G train, the tortoise of the subway system: She’s the Gowanus Canal of trains, the pre-2015 Mets of the underground. She might not look like much, but there’s a lot of sturdy potential there to appreciate.
Yes, sometimes it feels like you’re waiting forever for the train, as if the loud noise of boisterous riders descending the stairs at Metropolitan/Lorimer scared the shy train into a hidey hole just out of sight down the tunnel. In reality, it comes about every 10 minutes. You can treat it like a commuter train and you’ll be fine, as some regular riders tell me they do. The feeling that you have an interminable wait at the end of a long night out is likely due to the time-warping effects of alcohol and the steady, thudding click of your own mortality clock pounding against the frame of the precious few moments you have left on this planet, which is not the train’s fault.
The L train doesn’t care for you like the G does. On a regular day, it’s too packed during commuter hours to pay you any mind, and with the coming Lpocalypse, it’ll be totally out of commission for at least more than a year (and maybe several years), like when your dad left town for “business” and never came back. The G train isn’t going anywhere: in fact, it’s getting bigger. Thanks to the L shutdown, the G will double in length from four to eight cars, ending the dreaded G train sprint down the platform; and the MTA will run three more trains per hour, according to DNAinfo. That will more than triple the capacity, an opulent, glorious orgy of cars and service you’ll hope to live to Snapchat your grandkids about someday. Sam and I just got back from a weekend in Austin, a city served by a paltry public transit system of a few buses, where Uber and Lyft pulled out of the city in the middle of our trip. We stood on the side of the road, ride-less, longing for the warm embrace of a train like the G to get us around, no matter the wait.
And sure, we all hate when the train runs in sections and you have to get off one G train just to get on another across the platform. But the truth is the G train isn’t even in the top 10 most delayed trains, according to a report that came out in August. The 4 is the worst, followed by the 6, 5, 2, F (poor F), and more before the G. Many trains deserve your hate well more than the G.
There is definitely an element of Stockholm Syndrome in coming to love the G, as I wrote about in the Post a few years ago: it may be a fickle, short, temperamental scaredy cat of a train, but it’s our train. It never tries to take you into Manhattan just to get to Queens, it’s a party train on weekend nights and it takes you to the highest subway station in the entire goddamn world, with a view of the sprawling industrial wonder of Gowanus, another once under-appreciated part of the city. It’s scrappy and outer-borough loyal, just like us. Just look at the lovely poetry it inspires.
In the end of this video, as the date breaks up, Jo screams “You know the G is not that bad!” We stand with Jo. Ride your G train with pride, Brooklyn. At least you don’t live off the L.
Follow Tim for more G train apologist rants: @timdonnelly.