I just came back from a trip to New York City, where I hung out with my grandson. One thing my grandson and I did together was take the subway to his day camp in the morning. I chose to visit at the last minute, so he was enrolled in camp for part of the day. If the parents had known I was coming, I could have spent more time with him. He wouldn't have been in camp. Ah well.
So, there I was on the subway, thinking a bit, especially on the way home, after dropping him off at day camp. One of the things I thought about was the Indian Point nuclear plant. It makes over 2000 MW of power and that power is widely described as the power that runs the New York subways.
When I think about the New York. subways, I am always amazed at how inexpensive and effective they are. All these trains, all those people, so fast! All electric. Most or all of the power coming from Indian Point.
Nobody on the subway probably knows that the power for the subways comes from Indian Point. They may read an article in the Times or the Post or see something on TV about Indian Point, but they don't know much about it. I bet that most subway riders don't think that Indian Point's inexpensive, reliable, non-polluting power makes any difference to their own lives.
I wish I could change that.
Advertising on the Subways of New York
There's a place above the windows of a subway cars where there's usually some advertising (the same is true on most buses). In most New York subway cars, the entire car was advertisements from one company. For example, a life insurance company might have all the ads. So the first ad would be "insurance you can afford" next to another ad that said "don't get high blood pressure worrying about health insurance" next to an ad that urged you to "see the best doctors in New York on our plan." (I am paraphrasing, of course.) The statements were short and positive, and the cumulative effect was greater than any of the individual statements.
I was especially amused by one subway car that contained advertisements for New York Yankees Fragrances. Some ads encouraged you to show that you are a Yankees fan by buying these products. Other ads noted that there were Yankees perfumes for men and women. Another ad included a picture of a ballplayer in the dugout. Again, each message was short, but the cumulative effect was great.
I decided that Indian Point should advertise on the subway. Each ad could be short and sweet.
- Indian Point Energy runs this subway!
- Indian Point: adding more than half a billion a year to the New York economy!
- Indian Point: reliable and inexpensive.
- Indian Point: less radiation to the public than they would get walking through Grand Central Station.
- Indian Point: safe for the community.
- Indian Point: Green Energy avoiding so many tons of greenhouse gases a year.
Take the Bus?
While I was thinking, I thought about buses. What if there weren't any subways in New York or if the subway electricity costs were dependent on "cheap natural gas"and natural gas does one of its periodic price doublings?
As I was heading out with the grandson one morning, my son-in-law said: "You can take the bus if you want. If you don't like the subway." Luckily, I like the subway.
Imagine the greenhouse gases if everyone in New York was taking the bus. It's an appalling thought. Those subway trains are sometimes twenty cars long (or longer) and often packed with people. Putting all those people on surface transportation would be horrific. The city would practically close down.
The streets and sidewalks of New York would be impassable and impossible without the subway. All hail to the subways and to Indian Point for providing the power!
Now, we have to figure out a way to tell the subway riders about the role of nuclear energy in their lives.
Reference needed: I tried to find a truly authoritative reference on the amount of power used by the subways, and the agreements they might have with Indian Point. I couldn't find it easily and I hope my readers will help me if they know of this.
Harlem School of the Arts: Our grandson was going to day camp at the Harlem School of the Arts. The grandkids go for a week or two at a time: our granddaughter went earlier this summer. It's a great place and the kids really enjoy the camp. Harlem School of the Arts is mainly a theater and arts school for older children, but it has many outreach programs in the summer.
Children and subways. First, when traveling with a four-year-old, always take the local train because the four-year-old is eager to read the numbers that describe the stations. 135th Street was my grandson's favorite, because it is a big number and his stop was next, at 145th. Second, I was amazed how many children I saw on the subway. They were traveling with their mothers, fathers, grandmothers, or they were in groups of children. I saw a far higher percentage of children on the subways of New York City than I do at the average grocery store or park in Vermont. Of course, the state of Vermont has the second-highest median age in the nation. (Florida is fifth-highest, in case you were wondering.) Not so many children up here in Vermont.