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In February, when Beyoncé announced that she would embark on a world tour for her “Renaissance” album, New Yorkers began furiously plotting their journeys to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
They debated the merits of Ubers and party buses. They arranged car pools and chartered vans. But many decided on a more accessible mode of travel to see Queen Bey: New Jersey Transit.
We knew fans would dress for the occasion. So we pitched an idea to Louis Lucero II, a Styles editor and a self-described Beyoncé superfan: to document the so-called BeyHive, as its members, in their glamorous and often bedazzled outfits, waited on platforms and traveled on crowded trains to the show.
On a hot and sticky Saturday last month, we met by the Dunkin’ in Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan for the first of Beyoncé’s two shows at MetLife that weekend. When we arrived at the station around 4 p.m., everything appeared normal: Travelers pushed, shoved and scowled their way through the station, suitcases trailing behind them.
But as we approached the New Jersey Transit waiting area, signs of the BeyHive began to emerge. Outside a newsstand, a woman wore a football jersey with the title of Beyoncé’s song “Thique” embroidered on the back. The density of sequins inside the station was growing.
A spot beneath the departures board — where travelers typically wait for their train platform to be announced — proved particularly good for people-watching. There we looked for anyone wearing a cowboy hat; Beyoncé wore a sparkly version in promotional images for her album, and we guessed fans would do the same.
From afar, we spotted a number of cowboy hats and followed them to Track 14, where we struck up conversations with several vibrantly dressed concertgoers. Most of the fans were excited to tell us about what Beyoncé’s music meant to them, or about the time and effort that went into each of their looks.
Imani Tudor, 28, a photo editor from Brooklyn, said she dyed her eyebrows red that morning. Seeing that others had also put together futuristic, avant-garde looks that were inspired by Beyoncé’s most recent album filled Ms. Tudor with joy. “I’ve been listening to this in my room alone for the past year,” she said.
When we arrived at MetLife Stadium about 30 minutes later, Ms. Tudor and other members of the ecstatic crowd spilled out of the car. We headed back to the city on an empty train — and then hopped on another crowded train headed back to New Jersey.
During each ride, Amir pointed his camera through the windows of train cars, across platforms and up escalators in search of interesting people and contrasts, like a family with huge suitcases being swept up in a throng of Beyoncé fans. The vestibule at the end of each car proved a particularly compelling backdrop for pictures; the reflective silver surface matched many passengers’ shiny accessories.
We were also eager to chat with people who weren’t going to the show, like Jair Fonseca, who just happened to be wearing a cowboy hat that day. Like many other accidental passengers on the Beyoncé Express, Mr. Fonseca, 38, who owns a Peruvian restaurant, expressed a mix of bewilderment and awe at his surroundings.
We rode to and from New Jersey six times that Saturday, taking a brief break for doughnuts after trip No. 5. At one point in the day, a station attendant took pity on us and started swiping us through the turnstile for free (he had thought we were hopelessly lost; we explained that we were journalists). As Beyoncé took the stage at MetLife that evening, we took the F train back to our respective apartments to start sorting through notes and images.
The next day, Amir photographed more stylish concertgoers en route to Beyoncé’s second show. We sent each other texts throughout the day: Where did we meet the couple who had stopped for Häagen-Dazs, even though they were running late? Did we get a picture of the woman with a “Yoncé” lip tattoo?
Our hope was that such details would communicate the dedication and flair that had been on display in the most mundane of settings. It’s one thing to write that the BeyHive is a passionate community; it’s another to publish an image of a woman with a different image of Beyoncé imprinted on each of her fingernails.
When the article was published online, we both felt that all of the trips were worth it — even if it involved a particularly inefficient way to get to MetLife Stadium. But maybe next time we’ll Uber.