Love and Hope in the Rochester Subway

Love and Hope in the Rochester Subway

Rochester Subway, 2/21/16

After having read about proposed development near the old Rochester subway (D & C), I thought it was time to see the subway myself.


Hunter and Shaunna, 2/21/16

At the subway entrance near South Avenue, I met a couple on their way out, Shaunna and Hunter. Asking if they had read the article, they had not.

I explained that while development would be good for downtown, there are fears that access to the murals and artwork decorating the walls and buttresses will be limited. And shelter less people who seek the subway as a refuge will be blocked.

Looking a little dismayed, Shaunna and Hunter said they have wandered the subway a few times and enjoy the art. They said they would read the article online and maybe sign the petition for subway preservation.

After I took their picture, Shaunna, clearly happy, introduced me “to her husband, Hunter,” married last month. Just newlyweds. On her phone, Shaunna showed me the inscription they had drawn on the subway wall.subway

After they left, I met another man who enjoys walking the subway and taking photos.  He had a different, bleaker take on the couple. Pointing to two filled trash bags down the way in the tunnel, he thought he had seen them sleeping nearby having spent the night in the darkened tunnel.  He didn’t think they were really married.

IMG_1863After my brief conversation with Shaunna and Hunter, I am sure he must have been mistaken. I found it highly unlikely they were the people he claimed to have seen.

But I did walk over to the bags. On the way, catching my first look at the dazzling images and graffiti art, flanked on both sides by a bright city-and-riverscape.

Someone had been at the bags — filled with old clothes — recently. It wasn’t Shaunna and Hunter, but someone had left a message of hope.IMG_1873

(Also, no urban exploration is complete without BG who you have met before.)IMG_1862








Providing hope for the homeless in the back alcove of Rundel Library

Local artists’ enduring message of hope for troubled youth at Pre-Trial Services

Entering The Jae Era with Deeper than the Subway.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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