A few months ago, I made a slight shift in my evening commute back home to Brooklyn. Instead of taking the 2 or 3 train as it slowly winds its way south of Chambers St. to Grand Army Plaza, I shifted to the Q train from Times Square to 7th Ave. Although Q headways are longer, the ride itself is faster and more comfortable. I can usually get a seat from the get-go, and if I can’t, the BMT rolling stock is wider than the IRT’s. What I didn’t account for was “Showtime.”
You know “Showtime.” What time is it? Showtime! If you ride the subways long enough, you’ll see it and hear it and see it again and hear it again and again and again. A group of kids — sometimes young, sometimes old — come into the car, blast some music, and spin around on the poles. It’s the modern-day version of break dancing. After an express run — from Union Square to Canal if you’re lucky, from Canal to De Kalb if you’re not — they canvas for money and move on to the next car.
As things go underground these days, “Showtime” is divisive. I can’t stand it. It’s loud; it’s in your face; it’s inconsiderate, especially at rush hour. People on already crowded trains are focused to move to the sides (though I’ve seen more than a few groups refuse to move), and then tinny music blasting from a portable speaker fills the car. I just want peace and quiet on the way home.
Not everyone is as curmudgeonly as me. Some people love the Showtime routines. It is, they say, just a way for kids to earn a few bucks, and it doesn’t harm anyone. It’s just good ol’ New York fun.
The debate came to a head shortly after Christmas when two men were arrested. DNA Info reported that a Showtime duo were charged with reckless endangerment as a misdemeanor as they “caused a hazard to themselves and others around them, and made excessive noise by blaring music from a stereo.” I think an arrest is a bit too harsh, but removing the threat of Showtime from a crowded subway is A-OK with me.
But I’m just one person. Let’s hear from you. What are your thoughts on Showtime? Let’s have a poll.