Subway Surf Report

Stand Clear And Suit Up: The Commuter Line Is Approaching

What people are actually wearing to work, as told from the Z Train (which we forgot existed).

By Ali Royals

Photos by Shindelverse


The Subway Surf Report is a monthly column that investigates New York’s most underground scene. Each installment captures subterranean snapshots of humanity at its realest and most randomized.

You never forget your first time. Mine was hot and sweaty, dimly lit, a few onlookers watching creepily from the corner. But out of the dreary darkness of the Stupin-JFK station, there it came: an iridescent Z. It’s taken me two days of fruitless searching to hunt down the mythical Z train, New York’s most elusive subway line.

I think the Z train has my dream job, which is operating for a mere 2 hours a day, Monday through Friday. It heads into Manhattan by morning and is Queens-bound by evening. Despite running as a rush-hour companion to the J train, the line is decidedly not named after Jay-Z—though the line itself is still a HOV: a high occupancy vehicle shuttling thousands of skip-stop commuters from Parsons Boulevard to Broad Street. It’s commuter carpool for schoolgirls and stockbrokers, creative directors and construction workers, cigarette smokers in cigarette pants.

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