Operation Subway Tree

I love the NYC subway. People keep telling me that this fascination with and adoration for the subway will eventually wear off, but it hasn’t yet and I’ve been here almost a year. With a name like “Operation Subway Tree” you’d think that I’m doing my part to protect the environment—even underground. Nope. This is much more selfish and (I think) fun. So here’s the deal.

I want to have a MTA-themed Christmas tree this year (or next year or whenever all the right pieces fall into place). Yes, I know I’m the biggest dork there is; you don’t have to tell me. (At least I’m not this guy.) This is what I need: a tree, ornaments, garlands, lights, ornament storage.

1. Tree. Average tree cost is $70. No biggie; I don’t even need to worry about this until I have the rest of the stuff.

2. Ornaments. The most expensive part of the equation, and what has turned out to be the most complicated. There are two types of ornaments I want: Subway Map ($27 each, of which I want 12 for a total cost of $324) and Subway Line ($15 each), the latter of which is the complicated part. As you can see here, there are quite a few lines and many of them share the same color. I would like the tree to be roughly color-balanced while still representing each line,* so here’s what I’ve come up with.

  • One each of B, F, V (orange) and Q, R, W (yellow) lines.
  • Two each of D (orange) and N (yellow) lines. (I use these lines most often.)
  • Two each of 1, 2, 3 (red); 4, 5, 6 (green); A, C, E (blue); J, M, Z (brown) lines.
  • Three each of L (grey) and S (dark grey) lines. (I don’t need too much grey!)
  • Six each of 7 (purple) and G (light green) lines.

That leaves me with 5 orange and 5 yellow ornaments and 6 of each of the other colors for a total of 52 Subway Line ornaments. The price tag is $780. Adding that to the cost of the Subway Map ornaments, it comes to $1104.

* Once the 2nd Ave. line is finished, my whole scheme will be royally effed up, especially if it shares a color with an already existing line. [cries] Also, for the sake of correctness, the S Line isn’t actually a line; it stands for “shuttle” and carries passengers one, two, or three stops between important stops on other lines.

3. Garlands. Gotta love these strands. Each is 4 feet long and costs $64. I’ll go for 3 strands, just to be sure, for a total of $192.

4. Lights. Mini clear or white ones, like these or these; they can be found at any hardware-type store in season. Average cost is $9. I probably need one 50-foot long (or less) strand.

5. Storage. One of these ($20) and one of these ($15). What, you think after spending all that money on ornaments that I’m just going to throw them in with the rest of my crap for the rest of the non-holiday year? I don’t think so. The first box holds up to 48 ornaments; the second up to 32. I don’t think I’ll need that much space for the ornaments themselves, so I can use the rest for the garlands and lights.

TOTAL COST: Roughly $1410.
TIME FRAME: No idea whatsoever.


Booooooooo. Why does everything I want to do require such a heavy monetary commitment?? You suck, oh capitalist world! [shakes fist angrily]

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

2 thoughts on “Operation Subway Tree

  • Wednesday, 09 April 2008 at 11:37:31

    I feel like even though it’s something you want to do, you should put it on a LONG time frame ^^;; After all, you do have other considerations.
    But actually though, it probably wouldn’t be any better if it weren’t a capitalist area, because if it were a socialist area then whatever money you earned would be in large part redistributed and you wouldn’t see much of it, and whatever anyone else earned would also be so they probably wouldn’t make the things you want… : /

  • Wednesday, 09 April 2008 at 18:31:56

    I dunno, I kinda think there should be a baseline where everyone will always have the bare neccesities, without having to worry about it: food, water, shelter. Everything after that can be extra.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *