Subway Report: Woman Kissing Cards

17Sep07

Another report in a series about strange, beautiful, interesting events witnessed by your heroic author, on the subway of New York City.

 

On the trainride to work today, another sighting of the strange and weird. Also known as “why I love NYC”. I got on the G train and somewhere, maybe Metropolitan Ave., this little Hispanic lady gets on the train and squeezes in next to me. I was reading Six Months in the Sandwich Islands by Isabella Bird, an account of her voyage to Hawaii in the mid-19th century (thanks Henry). The little lady kept peeking at it. Soon she took out a set of cards. She ritualistically felt each with her hand, rubbing it gently and whispering some prayers. At the end of each mini-ritual, she would raise the card to her lips and kiss it before moving on the the next card. They were like baseball cards, but with saints.

Were it not for the train, me in my suit, the girl next to us with an ipod, and the Nikes that the Hispanic lady was wearing, it could have another time and another place. The fact that such superstitious beliefs persist in 21st century NYC was kind of freaky; even stranger was encountering it on the morning commute, but there was also something refreshingly honest about this kind of religious display, something you don’t often see in secular New York City.

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