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New York: Taken from the 50th street stop on the 1 train, just blocks from Times Square at 1:30 a.m. A new New Yorker, from Portland, Ore., my favorite activity is people watching, especially underground. (@donilee via Instagram)

Planes, Trains And Gondolas: Your Commute In Photos

by Becky Lettenberger
Oct 23, 2013

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For this month's Public Square assignment, we asked you to share the story of your commute and challenged you to find beauty in the everyday. Many of you rose (or should we say rode!) to the occasion. Here are some of our favorites.

Stay tuned for our next assignment and follow us on Instagram @npr and @kpcc.

Seattle: You would think this is a nighttime picture, but Seattle just looks that grey at 7:45 am.

San Francisco: Every morning I ride #Muni into downtown #SanFrancisco from the sunset district, for school at the #AcademyofArt. It is about a 40-minute trek without delays. ... Although many annoyed gasps and claustrophobic faces fill the train car every morning, it is one of my favorite parts of the day. For just a moment everyone riding is the same. We are all just human, waiting for our stop, without any idea what will happen once we arrive.

Lake Hodges, Calif.: I saw this on my way to work at 8:15 a.m. commuting from Encinitas to Escondido. I couldn't resist pulling over it was so beautiful.

Portland, Ore.: There is Oregon in the air.

New York: Taken from the 50th street stop on the 1 train, just blocks from Times Square at 1:30 a.m. A new New Yorker, from Portland, Ore., my favorite activity is people watching, especially underground. As many people as there are above ground, there are thousands more traveling from place to place underground. Capturing a moment of their time has quickly become a favorite way to spend my time. Each day I look forward to my commute because of the treasures I may find underground.

Long Island City, N.Y.: @el_crafter spends 15 minutes on the 7 train and passes 5 Pointz every morning. "It is a piece of art history the city has voted to tear down by 2014," @el_crafter says. "I feel blessed to have experienced it every morning for the past two years. Long Island City is really going to lose something special."

New York: 5:15 p.m. on the C Train ... 34th Street, Penn Station back home to Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Giving the gift of reading. A magical moment between mother and son. It may seem like just another subway ride, but with a book and an imagination, the adventures are limitless.

Chicago: My morning commute from near the Chicago Midway Airport into my job in the "Loop" is only a half hour. But in this timespan I witness everything from the single immigrant mom chatting away with her kid on their way to school to the first time, overpacked, Windy City visitor in awe of our rooftops and distant skyline as they approach downtown on the "L". Everyone rushing to a destination more important than the other's. As much as I enjoy the diversity of each passerby, my favorite part is the serenity of the evening commute. Everyone is a bit more polite, a lot less caffeinated and with only one direction: home.

Telluride, Colo.: The gondola connecting Telluride and the resort town Mountain Village is the first free transportation (and maybe still only) of its kind in the U.S.

Brooklyn, N.Y.: Afternoon from Church Ave in Brooklyn to 86th Street in the [Upper West Side]. As a freelance photographer, I have to commute to all corners of the city multiple times a week. That commute is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, leaving ample time to make images of this specific urban experience. I also like to shoot little videos during my commute at different times of day, capturing the poetic moments of this strange ecosystem [we're] all a part of in the city.

Red Feather Lakes, Colo.: Molly Stetson's morning commute in Colorado at Shambhala Mountain Center.

San Diego: Oct. 15, 2013 7:55 a.m. I take bus line 3 to work from Sherman Heights to Bankers Hill, a 25-minute commute. Our city isn't really a public transportation hub, especially since car companies took a hold of Southern California way back when, but the few bus and rail lines San Diego has are crucial for seniors who are unable to drive, due to physical or financial constraints. With the recent developments in the downtown area, I hope that San Diego officials will spend some of those funds to develop a more comprehensive public transit system.

Vermont: Leila LaRosa took this photo during her 45-minute morning commute. "I love it when the morning fog clings to the mountain," she says.


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