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News / City Life

The new voice of the NYC subway is a woman from Queens

The new voice of the NYC subway is a woman from Queens
Photograph: Clayton Guse

The subway’s depressing service announcements are getting a makeover. As a part of an MTA initiative to change the way it communicates with customers, the authority has tapped one of its own employees for a new run of automated on-train messages.

The Daily News reports that the new loudspeaker prophet is Queens native Velina Mitchell, an announcer at the Rail Control Center who has worked at the MTA for 25 years. Her voice can already be heard in live announcements on subway platforms across the city, but now she'll be charged with refreshing many of the old announcements that echo around subway cars, like those that urge straphangers to avoid holding train doors and to mind the volume of their headphones.

Mitchell will not replace the iconic voice of Charlie Pellett, another New York native who can be heard urging riders to “stand clear of the closing doors, please.” She does, however, bring a harder local accent to the game. Take a listen here:

Like a true Queens native, the way Mitchell says “on” sounds a bit like “awn,” which may make for a more relatable announcements as straphangers wonder why their train hasn't moved for 20 minutes. In any case, the subway is poised to sound ever so slightly different moving forward, even if its service is painfully inconsistent

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