Growing up near an elevated train presented my friends and I with many opportunities for mischief. For example, we could steal ripe tomatoes from the fruit stand on 31st Street and toss them at the trains passing above us.
A more dangerous practice involved us “skywalking” from one station to the next. The first step would be to sneak on the train (I don’t remember ever paying during my entire adolescence). We’d hide out near the token booth until we heard the train coming, vault the turnstile, and bolt up to the platform—two stairs at a time. To make it look like he gave a shit, the token clerk would often yell “Hey” after us…too late.
From there, we’d take the train one stop from 36th Avenue to 39th Avenue and then walk back. By “walk,” I mean we’d get to the end of the platform and climb down onto the narrow walkway near the tracks. From this point, we could walk without a train hitting us as we looked down onto the street.
I wasn’t really keen on looking down…but peer pressure is a powerful entity.