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City Beat June 26, 2003
 
A Hymn to the Metro
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 3
 
As you reach the bottom of the escalator, you start walking with a jolt. It's such a fierce way of moving compared to the dream carriage of the escalator: step, step, step. The faces of people slogging to the escalators seem slack and worn, as if they left it all on the train. And you're walking hard in the opposite direction and style, stomping, ready to shove your way onto a train.

Moscow would explode without the Metro, and not simply because all city would be gridlocked instantly, for good. I think the Metro is Moscow's "Epideictic Behavior." That's a term biologists use for the way some species, especially flocking birds like starlings, gather at dawn and dusk in a few trees to look at each other, call to each other, and draw some strange sort of nourishment from the mere fact of the group's continued existence. The Metro is classic epideictic ritual: it takes place at morning and evening; it allows the entire population to see and savor and cherish itself; it's mute and easily ignored.The Metro is our display, morning and evening, that there are still so many of us, not extinct, still able to flock with this massed avian grace.

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