Summer Postcards 2011

Metro Dance Parties (Are Made of This)

WASHINGTON—It was a little after midnight on a Saturday night when I boarded the metro and headed on the Red Line towards home.

At first, I didn’t notice anything unusual about the metro car. The passengers were what one might expect from the Saturday night crowd: some huddled in groups, chatty and likely returning from a party, others sitting by themselves, looking a little tired.

Then, it hit me. There was music. Loud music. I spun around and noticed the gigantic boom box that a young man had set down on the seat next to him. It was rectangular and portable, with a handle and complicated-looking controls, big enough to fill up the horizontal space of the whole seat.

Within moments, Eurythmics filled the car. We all looked toward the boom box and the young man, who was tapping his foot in time with the music.

A sequence of 80s hits followed. As the next song came on, a scruffy man with his feet up on the adjacent seat began to clap. Slowly, more people joined him. By the end, about 20 people in the car were clapping in unison to the beat of the music, smiling and laughing. A girl standing by the door did a little dance.


This was not the same Metro I ride in the mornings, when passengers sleep or read in silence, avoiding eye contact. In that Metro, the scraping noise of the train passing through the cars is the only sound to be heard. This Metro had come alive. The music had changed the car. However briefly, it had become a community, and people were having fun together.

“Good job, man,” a passenger told the young man with the boom box, trading a fist bump as he got off at his stop. Others gave the young man approving nods or a smile as they left. And the party Metro car went on.

Alice A. Wang '12, an editorial writer, is a Government concentrator in Dunster House.