Saturday, September 25, 2010

We're in The Wall Street Journal!

Most of you probably got here through the Journal article. So welcome and thanks to Brad and Ebele for being the first commenters on here. More great things are to come, and I plan to call on all of you in the near future to help move "this" forward.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Post By Melissa

Normally I transfer to an R train in the morning, which is usually less busy than the F train in the morning, but adds a couple of minutes on my commute time. But on that particular morning, I was running late and decided to stay on the F train the whole way to get to work. Right before I was about to get off on 23rd street, Solomon announced his idea to the car. I thought it was just lovely. I grabbed a flyer before I headed off the train, and decided to email him once I got to work about advice for going back to school for a career change. But quite frankly it is inspiring me to think of my own ways to contribute and help others as well.  I don't know exactly how I can help others yet, but I'm ready to try my best.

Email from Christina

Hello Solomon,

You very graciously made this outlandish (to some, but not to others) offer on the northbound M train around 9am today, welcoming the strange faces before you to e-mail you with our suggestions for this "pay it forward"-type goal of yours.

After an unforeseen ending to my extended weekend yesterday, I thought of your proposal as a nice, reinvigorating breath of fresh air. (Whew!)

While I do not know if you are an escaped convict masquerading as a typical office laborer or if you have submitted to a recent battery of mental health checks and passed all with exceptional ratings, in theory I do want to jump on this bandwagon. The idea is surprising, different and fresh.

I'm uncertain whether what YOU offer is limited solely to the six options you list and whether what WE can give back to you is limited to the five options you list.

Therefore, I propose the following and it is completely up to you to accept or decline:

  • You clean the soiled cages of my four male guinea pigs. It is usually done twice a week, but perhaps its owners can use a break from cleaning, scrubbing, wiping and washing.
In turn, I am willing to do anything for you, within reason and the confines of legality.

My boyfriend took a flyer from you, too. I am not sure if he intends to contact you with his idea(s). Either way, I did, and I commend you for being brave, innovative, and inspired enough to help complete strangers. For the record, my coworker thinks you're nuts (and I do, too, to a lesser extent, but at the same time I'm smitten by the concept) and says you're looking to get killed.

Perhaps you're new to New York, and a tad naive and utterly convinced of your immortality.

If my suggestion goes unheeded, that is fine.

If you want to throw suggestions my way, I'm all ears.

I simply thank you for trying to make the world, or at least your immediate surroundings, a better place to live.


And here's my response:

Hi C,

You are ON!! I will clean your cages. I actually have guinea-pig-cage-cleaning experience. I just hope you don't live too far--I work in midtown and live uptown. Tell me when and where and I will be there. Hopefully this will suck you into my cause so it's a win for me too.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn and have killed 5 men in my lifetime in hand to hand combat so I can take care of myself. For the sake of honesty only the first half of the previous sentence is true.

Thank you for your email--it really gives me the motivation to keep going. And perhaps I am a little crazy, but aren't we all? "Nobody realizes how some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." -Camus. Well, I was normal for far too long and it was exhausting and empty. No more.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guest Post By Tia

I found myself on the F train as usual trying to squeeze into a small space without offending and successfully drowning out the surroundings with a good book. To my right, I hear the introductory phrase of someone you know is about to make grand proclamations for god or beg for money. "good morning everyone can I have a moment". My initial response was to drown out the voice, but I soon realized that this person was a man with an idea. So I listened up, took his business card and decided to email him to announce my interest.

I think the idea of exchanging things in a meaningful way on your daily commute is an idea worth trying out. New Yorkers live, travel and work in such close proximity to each other, yet they are cut off and removed, often opting for the ipod over a friendly conversation.

Maybe this will work, maybe it will fall into the obscurities of Solomon's mind never to be thought of again. Either way, im down to be a part of this and see what happens.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flyer 2

This is the flyer I'll be handing out tomorrow.

Hi! I would like to help you and ask if you can help me.

My offer to you:

Email me 1 thing you really want/need. Either:
1)     something you want to get or experience—e.g. a 5-star meal, a spa treatment
2)     help with fulfilling an important need—e.g. help finding a job, grad school help
3)     personal help/improvement—guidance in breaking free from an unhappy job, relationship…; becoming more social or confident
4)     any other specific need—packing/moving help, legal advice, someone to watch your dog, etc

I will reply to your email with some advice and direction. In addition I will choose one person each week and devote 5 hours of my time to really get you what you want, or get you close to it.

What’s in it for me:

·       I have this idea that we can exchange our knowledge, our resources, our skills, our time, our compassion on the subway. I just don’t know yet how to expand this concept and make it practical for everyone. Your email is feedback. The better I get at understanding what people want, the better I will be able to come up with solutions.

·       Maybe I will attract people who want to get involved or help out in some way. And ultimately I hope to get things that I want too

Please email me: Solomon Lederer manonmetro AT gmail  Blog: (comments welcome!)
I am working on helping Ida find a job. Can you help? I am also seeking someone that can offer legal advice to a new New Yorker who’s facing eviction. 

In the blank space above I have a photocopy of Ida's business card.

Flyer 1

This is the flyer I handed out last week.

Train Barter Idea -- Day 3

Hi! I would like to help you and ask if you can help me.
I offer:
  • Help with finding a job
  • Grad school advice
  • Packing/moving help
  • Love
I seek:
  • Feedback on this idea of having us exchange our knowledge, our resources, our skills, our time, our compassion on the subway. Any feedback is really helpful
  • Ideas about how to expand this concept and make it practical for everyone
  • Someone who would like to make a webpage or blog describing this idea
  • Someone to be my weekly swim partner (I can provide the pool)
  • Love

Please email me: manonmetro AT gmail  Solomon Lederer

Is there something you want to get or give? E.g. find a dance partner, find a Spanish tutor, information on how to publish a book, how to nurse your newborn, advice on buying a computer, someone to watch your dog, someone to go to the movies with, etc.


Hello and welcome to the underground connection. If you saw me on the subway you've come to the right place. Feel free to post a comment on your thoughts on what I did. I will post more tomorrow with information on what this is about.