You like trains? I love trains! Whats your Favorite Train Story? Your favorite train ride of all time?

Jim tells the story about his favorite train ride ever! It was when he was a kid in NYC. He and his family were riding the subway to Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, back in the early 70’s.

Suddenly, a lady on the train yells out “That guy took my purse” and then, you see…

It was a sunny hot day in Ridgewood New York. That’s where I grew up. Back in the 70’s, many folks still didn’t own a car in NYC. My family was one of those.

So we took Mass Transit! City Busses and Trains! Every summer, my mom would take my sister and me to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, NY, via the subway.


Elevated Rail, NYC, circa, 1970’s

We’d start out, early in the morning, on the elevated line on Wyckoff Ave, that would eventually go underground when it got to a certain point. Then we’d get off at a certain station to meet up with Mrs. Giambroni, the and her grand-daughter, Ana Maria. Mrs. Giambroni was the mother of my mom’s best friend growing up, Anna. Anna had a problem with ulcers in her legs that swelled up so bad, she was confined most of her adult life to being inside, unable to walk very far. So she never came with us to the beach.

We’d meet Mrs. Giamroni and Anna Maria at the station we got off at and then we’d all get back on the train to finish the trip to Brighton Beach. The trip took about an hour, all together, and was usually pretty boring. Except for one particular day.

We had been riding the subway car for a while. We already had met with Mrs. G. and Anna and they were with us. It was pretty crowded. On such a hot summer day, lots of folks had the same plan! A train ride to the beach!

Suddenly, a lady on the train yells out “That guy took my purse” and then, you see a guy rocket by on the subway station platform! He was a blur. He swiped her purse and ran like the wind!
It happened so fast!

He did it right before the subway car doors closed after letting passengers on and off the train.

He waited until the doors opened for the train stop, then he swiped that poor lady’s purse, and jumped off the train, onto the platform for a quick getaway!

Lots of folks were looking around to catch a glimpse of the culprit, but he was long gone! Needless to say, it took a long time before the doors closed and the train started moving again. It got my heart a pumpin’, thinkin’ I was so close to a robbery in progress! Young lads like myself were always looking for something out of the ordinary to turn an other wise blah day into something exciting! That day, for a few minutes, I got my wish!


Train to Brighton Beach

Now don’t get me wrong, I was hoping the guy would get caught (and I’d get to see them cuff n’ stuff him) and I was concerned about the lady who was robbed. that din’t materialize here, though, and I never even got to see the lady who shouted in the crowded subway car! I’ll never know if he was caught and if she got her purse back.

I remember Mrs. G. humorously comment about it. She said something like, “They can take my purse, ain’t nothin’ in it worth stealin’!”

We finally made it to the beach in plenty of time. Can’t remember a thing that happened after we got there, but who cares? My day was already made on the subway ride!


Brighton Beach, 1971

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