Created By: Treblain on February 12, 2012 Last Edited By: Morgenthaler on February 28, 2017

Trainside Apartment

An apartment whose window overlooks elevated train tracks.

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What's the foremost sign that you're living in a really cheap urban apartment? Every time the L train passes, the whole building shakes. Look out your window, and the 2:05 by goes by. It can make sleeping pretty difficult. But hey, at least it has a view!


Examples:

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    Films — Animated 
  • Seen in The Triplets of Belleville. In France Madame Souza's house is right next to the train line, and the family dog Bruno rushes to the window every hour to bark at the passing trains. Later on, when she moves into the Triplets' apartment in Belleville, USA, it's next to an elevated track and Bruno barks at the trains every few minutes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Blues Brothers, Elwood takes Jake to his tiny room in a broken-down flophouse. Aside from the fact that there's no room to move, the Chicago "L" passes by ever time the window is shown.
  • This is discussed as a plot point in the testimony of a witness in 12 Angry Men, she supposedly heard and saw a murder through a passing elevated train going by between her window and the accused's.
  • Peter Parker's apartment in the Spider-Man Trilogy is near train tracks. The apartment is clearly shown shaking when a train goes by.
  • In My Cousin Vinny Vinny and his girlfriend spent their first couple nights in the Deep South in a hotel room next to a train that keeps waking them up at midnight. A subplot concerns their trying to find someplace else to sleep.

    Literature 
  • A plot point in one Sherlock Holmes story, used to explain how a dead body found on the tracks came to be found miles away despite multiple stops where people should have seen the murder. He was murdered in the apartment, and the body thrown on the train as it was passing by.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 30 Rock episode "Rosemary's Baby", Liz discovers that her role model Rosemary lives in a rat-infested apartment in "Little Chechnya", and when she looks at the window, a train goes by.
  • On Just Shoot Me!, Dennis is relocated to the "downtown office". The office is windowless, but it is frequently shaken by the nearby subway.
  • In the pilot episode of Speechless, it's revealed that the DiMeos always choose "the worst house in the best school district." A flashback to a previous home has Maya complain that it's next to the freeway. Jimmy points out that it's only near the freeway, it's next to the railroad, and at that point a huge train comes roaring past.

    Theatre 
  • The basement apartment that Ruth and Eileen share in Wonderful Town is constantly shaken by explosions from the construction of the subway directly underneath them. The musical is based on author Ruth McKenney's autobiographic short stories about moving to New York and living in a basement apartment directly adjoining the Christopher Street subway station.
  • In the Heights: Vanessa lives in one of these, as mentioned in the song "It Won't Be Long Now". She's gotten used to it, but she still wants out of the neighborhood:
    The elevated train by my window
    Doesn't faze me anymore
    The rattling screams don't disrupt my dreams
    It's a lullaby, in its way
    The elevated train drives everyone insane
    But I don't mind, oh no
    [...] And one day, I'm hopping that elevated train and I'm riding away!

    Western Animation 
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Two Weeks Vacation", Goofy stays in a run-down motel room so close to the tracks the train almost seems to come straight at him.

Indices: You Would Not Want To Live Index, Railroad Index

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • February 13, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    I think in the film version of Howards End, Leonard and Jacky Bast's room is near a train line. I can't recall if that's also in the book.
  • February 13, 2012
    TonyG
    • In the Classic Disney Short "Two Weeks Vacation", Goofy stays in a run-down motel room so close to the tracks the train almost seems to come straight at him.
    • On Just Shoot Me, Dennis is relocated to the "downtown office". The office is windowless, but it is frequently shaken by the nearby subway.
  • February 13, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Claire's would-be apartment in Until The End Of The World
  • February 13, 2012
    Duncan
    This is discussed as a plot point in the testimony of a witness in Twelve Angry Men, she supposedly heard and saw a murder through a passing elevated train going by between her window and the accused's.
  • February 13, 2012
    chicagomel
    I wanna say Fraser's apartment in Due South, but I'm not positive. Can anyone confirm or refute?
  • February 13, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • It was Harry's hotel room in one of the later Harry Potter movies.
  • February 13, 2012
    atheywa
    Wesley's apartment in Wanted
  • February 14, 2012
    Chabal2
    A plot point in one Sherlock Holmes story, used to explain how a dead body found on the tracks came to be found miles away despite multiple stops where people should have seen the murder. He was murdered in the apartment, and the body thrown on the train as it was passing by.
  • February 14, 2012
    LeeM
    • Seen in The Triplets Of Belleville. In France Madame Souza's house is right next to the train line, and the family dog Bruno rushes to the window every hour to bark at the passing trains. Later on, when she moves into the Triplets' apartment in Belleville, USA, it's next to an elevated track and Bruno barks at the trains every few minutes.
  • February 14, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    • Peter Parker's apartment in Spider Man 2 and 3 near train tracks (although I'm not sure if they look directly on to the tracks, but the apartment is clearly shown shaking when a train goes by).
  • November 19, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    Since it seems the OP has forgotten about this one, I'll take up sponsorship.

    Updated to here. I've ignored example submissions that were too lacking in context to fit wiki quality.
  • November 19, 2016
    TomWalpertac2
    Harry had one of these in one of the movies.

    I'd like to recommend a name change to "Trackside Apartment" or "Trackside Room".
  • November 19, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    ^ Harry who? Please provide details for new examples.
  • November 19, 2016
    TonyG
    In the pilot episode of Speechless, it's revealed that the DiMeos always choose "the worst house in the best school district." A flashback to a previous home has Maya complain that it's next to the freeway. Jimmy points out that it's only near the freeway, it's next to the railroad, and at that point a huge train comes roaring past.
  • November 19, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    ^ Thanks, added.
  • December 20, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    Bump for examples.
  • December 20, 2016
    Leporidae
    Theater
    • The basement apartment that Ruth and Eileen share in Wonderful Town is constantly shaken by explosions from the construction of the subway directly underneath them. The musical is based on author Ruth McKenney's autobiographic short stories about moving to New York and living in a basement apartment directly adjoining the Christopher Street subway station.
  • December 20, 2016
    zarpaulus
    • In My Cousin Vinny Vinny and his girlfriend spent their first couple nights in the Deep South in a hotel room next to a train that keeps waking them up at midnight. A subplot concerns their trying to find someplace else to sleep.
  • December 20, 2016
    MonaNaito
    • In The Heights: Vanessa lives in one of these, as mentioned in the song "It Won't Be Long Now". She's gotten used to it, but she still wants out of the neighborhood:
      The elevated train by my window
      Doesn't faze me anymore
      The rattling screams don't disrupt my dreams
      It's a lullaby, in its way
      The elevated train drives everyone insane
      But I don't mind, oh no
      [...] And one day, I'm hopping that elevated train and I'm riding away!
  • December 20, 2016
    AmourMitts
    Should we make this In Universe Examples Only?
  • December 20, 2016
    NateTheGreat
    Why elevated trains only? Surely at-grade trains and subways can also shake houses? Is the most important criterion here "so close to train tracks that passing trains shake the apartment" or "can look out the window and see trains going by"? Because there isn't 100% overlap.
  • December 24, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    Updated to here.

    ^ I'm leaning on the "apartment shake" side of it. The view isn't necessary, but a nice bonus. The description still needs a lot of work anyway.
  • February 27, 2017
    Unsung
    Video Games:

    Might not be an example. I haven't played the games in years, so this might need some fact-checking. I know the train is right there, but I can't remember if you ever hear it or if it shakes inside the office.
  • February 28, 2017
    TonyG
    On a later episode of Speechless, Maya and Ray have a tea party on the backyard, which is interrupted by a passing train that shakes the flatware and drowns out their conversation.
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