Saturday, July 28, 2007

Full force!

This afternoon I received a message from my Dad who was stranded on a train just outside of Jamaica. There was a suspicious package on the platform that caused delays that lasted over an hour. The LIRR shut down.

While waiting for the train to move my Dad called the LIRR hotline to find out more information. When they gave him the details that he already knew he asked if they had a plan other than just sitting and waiting. Guess what.....they didn't! SURPRISE!!!!

I later received this email detailing the maddness at Jamaica once it was reopened:

When I got off the train at Jamaica to switch to the Hempstead train, I heard an announcement “ALL EASTBOUND TRAINS WILL LEAVE FROM TRACKS 4 AND 5”. “DO NOT DESCEND FROM THE WALKWAY TO THE PLATFORM UNTIL YOUR TRAIN IS CALLED.”

This was IMMEDIATELY followed by “TRAIN TO BABYLON LEAVING ON TRACK 6.” Of course, everyone believed the first message, ignored the second one, and had to go racing back up and across and then down because of the third. What a freak show. I had the bad luck to be in a car with a baby who was cranky, but worse, a woman sitting behind me who kept yawning loudly and humming some type of spiritual just loud enough to be annoying. And a loudmouth “business” man who must have called everyone he knew to tell them of his plight. Over and over and over.

I asked the booth guy “ Hempstead ?” He said “NEXT on track 5” Of course the neck train on 5 was to Ronkonkoma . I went back and said “ Hempstead ???” He said “NEXT on track 5. Oh. After the Ronkonkoma train.”

Oh how don't miss the LIRR!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Mmmmmta!

One morning a while back Beth and I were waiting for the N train to scurry us off to work. As luck would have it the N train was late. Whenever I try to get to work early a late train is always something I can count on. So as we're waiting I decided that I want to start referring to the MTA as the mmmmmmmmmmmmta! So far people like it!
This weekend there were no N/W trains going towards the city stopping at the my stop and a few others. I had to take the train heading towards Ditmars 2 stops to the Astoria Blvd stop and then catch a train to the city. Sounds simple.....right??? Certainly not!

The wait was long. The platform was crowed. People were angry. I had the joy of standing near some hipster that was far from being happy. He was on the phone and kept yelling that "we're not chaging our plans just because of a 20 minute delay!" and then "No, I'm not angry I just have spite." Let me tell you he was a joy.

The train finally showed up and we all ran on. We went the 2 stops and everyone ran off again. I was meeting Julia so I had to wait for her. The train to the city came within a minute which I thought was nice. But we missed it and had to wait some more. A trip that normally takes me 30 minutes on a bad day took almost an hour. But what can you do????? Well, look for track work is one thing and I didn't see any. At least it was only for this weekend!

The LIRR strikes again!


It's been a while and I apologize for this long lapse. And I can't promise it wont happen ;) This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of taking the LIRR home for a doctor's appointment. I was waiting patiently for the track to the 6:39 train to be announced. I hung out in the usual spot, near track 16 but something told me I would not be boarding on track 16. And....I was right!!! Soon after I arrived in Penn I heard the announcement no commuter wants to hear:

"Due to problems in one of the tunnels there are 5-10 minute delays. Please do not descend to track level until your track has been posted."

Dear god!!!!! i rarely take the LIRR these days and the past 2 times I've experience delays. Finally our track was posted....guess which one! Go on, I dare you! It was none other than deadly track 17! Go figure.
The massive crowd ran down to the track and then waited.....waited....waited....and finally the train arrived. At this point everyone's face had melted off from the intense heat but luckily the train was cool.
The ride itself wasn't bad and I was able to make a great dent in my new book. If there hadn't been delays it would've been a great train ride. Sadly, there are no great train rides when it comes to the LIRR.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Transit Museum Time

The transit museum is a place filled with interesting facts and well as more fun than you can ever imagine having in a museum!
Check me out playing a game of peekaboo on one of the older trains in the collection. I believe this is the train where our fantastic tour guide turned the fans on.

Here I am "swiping" my Metro Card. The museum has all the different styles of turnstyles starting with the very first one. When you arrived in the station you would purchase a ticket from one booth and then walk to the entrance. Here the passenger would put their ticket into a box and another transit worker would let them pass through to the subway. (I'm pretty sure that's how it went). The first time I tried going through this turnstyle was pretty painful. Unlike most of the display this particular one did not let you pass through. OW!

The car Julia has the pleasure of sitting in is in fact the oldest in the collection. Again, notice the straw seats. Both the back and bottom were straw and comfortable, but only for women. This was the train with the very low seats. Most men opted to stand because their knees would be in their faces when they sat. Notice that Julia does not have any problems sitting in the seat....go shorty!

To your right you'll notice the constant grin on my face as I'm holding on to a more "modern" train. I believe this train was from the 50s, but don't quote me. I took too long getting my photos developed and have forgotten some facts :(
The most comical aspect of all the trains were the ads. They're hysterical!!! They make no sense, have amazing illustrations and just plain ridiculous. They're much better than the ads we have today about TV shows and viagra.

Friday, June 08, 2007

What you've been waiting for....

Finally! Julia has posted her photos for me to show everyone. Over the next serveral days I will reveal the beauty that is the transit museum. I will be getting my own photos back from the lab next week. As it is late, 1am, and I have to be at work soon I'm only posting this one photo for now. And remember if the ride sucks put your feet on the seat! (Notice the straw about a luxury ride!)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"I have a wad of $100s"

In a total brain fart moment I completly forgot to tell the tale of my recent Metro North ride. On Saturday my dear friend Kim and I took the 2:23 to Fordham. We almost didn't make it. Apparently the workers in Grand Central drive around on yellow work type vehicles. Within in 5 minutes we were almost run over twice. No joke. Had I not jumped back the first time I swear I would've lost a toe.

We finally made it to our train, with all our toes. One of the perks about taking Metro North is that the train is always on the track and waiting. Even better....the doors are open! Get out! They actually let you wait in the train. Kim and I made our way to find seats, it wasn't hard the train was empty. It was a new train like the ones the LIRR has. The only difference is that the seats looked like they had just been slicked down in oil. Not gonna lie, it was gross. They didn't feel oily they just looked nasty.

As we were waiting to pull out of the station an announcement was made:

"I just found a wad of $100 bills. Please find the conductor to claim it."

After Kim and I made numerous jokes that it was our money another announcement was made.

"I'm sorry, I lied. It's just one $100 bill. The rest of the wad is made up of $50s."

I doubt any of this was true. Just a conductor trying to be funny and probably wanting to see if anyone would step up and try to claim the fictional money.

The ride itself wasn't bad at all. But going back on Sunday the wait was a pain. Like the LIRR it pulled into the station about 5 minutes late. This is unusual for the very punctual Metro North. The highlight of it being late was having to "walk the plank" to get on the train. There was actual track work going on and long ramps were built out on to the tracks. Once it was safe we walked single file on these ramps to board the train. Then we waited another 5 minutes before moving. It was frustrating, mainly because I was sure the train would be on time. I just wanted to get home and rest! I was exhausted from the weekend.

Another perk....round trip it cost me $6! Gotta love city zones!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Be patient!

I know, I know I'm awful. I still haven't posted any glorious photos from the transit museum. That's only because Julia hasn't sent me her digital shots yet and I still need to finsh my role of film...egads! Film! Give me some more time and I'll see what I can do. In the mean time enjoy this lovely photo of me at Jubilee! Yes, even the LIRR haunts me at my college reunions!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's been a while, but worth the wait!

Friends hello! I know, I know I've been slacking with my commuting blog. I can't help it. Work got in the way. But luckily I commute by way of the subway and am getting home around the time my late night train would be leaving Penn Station!

During my brief hiatus I discovered one of the most amazing places on earth. The Transit Museum! I always imagined it would hold a special place in my heart once I made the journey but nothing could've prepared me for today. It was magical.

Subway facts:

Old turnstyles

Sitting in old subway cars

Discovering that seats once had a lovely straw cushion

Learing about the Bluebirds

And so much more. Over the next few days I will be posting amazing photos and facts. Julia's photos will be posted first because as many of you know I have yet to enter the digital world and will need to get my film developed. I will leave you with one interesting fact:

In the original subway cars the seats were lower to the ground because people were much shorter back then. It became customary for the men to give women their seats. Some may think out of chivalry, which in many cases I'm sure it was, but it was because it was easier for men to stand because the seats were so low.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's a sticky situation

Earlier today my Dad emailed me this fabulous photo. Oh, how I miss the Old LIRR trains.
They have far more character than the newer ones. With one quick glance you know by the the wear and tear that millions have had a the pleasure of being a passenger.
To me the duct tape wall says everything you need to know about the LIRR. A fast and easy fix. It wont last very long but for the time being it will do. Soon the tape will begin to disintegrate (thank you Trace!) and it will get sticky. Bags, pants, people will begin getting stuck. Mayhem will ensue. Suddenly the LIRR is not a friendly place.....but was it ever? Eventually the duct tape will fall off and the open gash it once covered will be exposed. Bringing the true nature of the LIRR into daylight. Once again the commuters know what they're in for, at least on the old trains. Not like the promising new trains with their modern style. Such a sly little fox the LIRR is.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Summer is on its way!

This weekend I'm heading off to one of the most relaxing, fun, and best places on earth....the manse! It's a short ride to what is nothing but fun and nature. I'm very excited to get away from the city and the trains. I'm off to hike and have a great time. I'm sure we'll hit traffic on the way up. A different kind of commuting problem I know nothing about. But I have heard it can be a bitch.

My thought, at least you're in your own car and can play your music loud to help cope with going no where. I also think you have a better sense of control over your commute. Granted you don't have the power to clear up an accident or remove a few cars that are in front of you. But you have a better sense of what's going on, at least as far as you can see. When you're on a train how often can you see the train you're waiting to cross in front of you? Never. The fact that you have more power over how fast you can commute makes me a bit jealous. We all know the LIRR crawls along, I'm sure some times with good reason. When you're in a car it's different. I'm sure I'll get some heat from car commuters and I'll tell them ride the LIRR for a week and then talk to me. Hope the weekend is a good one for everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Behold the city at night

I know, I know another London picture. You're thinking....where's the commuting talk!? Where are the train stories!? Has the blog gone the way of the LIRR, downhill??

NO! It has not. I'm just merely sharing a great view of the fabulous city of London at night. This shot was taken from the ever popular London Eye.

To get to the London Eye Julia and I took one of the fancy buses that occupy the streets of the city. It was not a double decker bus, how I love those! Just a regular old bus. But clean and comfortable. I didn't get an icky feeling after getting off at my stop. I know the Tube is the major means of transportation for the city but I have to admit I really enjoyed the bus. It was faster than I had expected. And transferring was easy as pie! Traveling through the city by bus certainly made my trip all the more better. I recommend it, but also don't forget the Tube. It's a must see least to me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I just like this photo

So pretty!

Standing room only

This morning I went in to work earlier than usual. I wanted to get a head start so I left about 30 minutes earlier. Let me tell you what a difference 30 minutes makes!

I got to the top of the stairs and thought what the hell are all these people doing here!?? I figured I was leaving at a somewhat off time, 9am. Most people are either at work already or get in closer to 10. Apparently there's another world that starts around 9:30.

Anywho, I made my way through the crowd and snagged a prime spot. Right in front and close to where the doors of the train would be. I knew I wasn't going to get a seat but I wanted to try and get a good standing position. I was lucky. I managed to get the last spot for one of the center poles. This is key for when the train rounds the sharp curve going into Queens Boro Plaza. This morning's conductor was kind and took it easy. He didn't fling us around the train and I didn't have to use every muscle in my body to keep from falling. I like him, he's my favorite conductor.

I eventually made it to work without any problems. Although I have to admit the worst thing about being on a crowded train is not people pushing you but other people's breath touching you. I was standing next to one girl that was a heavy breather. It kept hitting my arm, grossing me out, and there was nothing I could do. Yetch!

p.s. that beautiful rabbit cake is one that I made for Easter. Admire it....and it was delicious!

Monday, April 23, 2007

An apology??

This past January Penn Station shut down during rush hour. The close was so disruptive to the evening commute that I heard announcements in the subway system instructing commuters to go directly to Jamaica or to Flatbush for service.

At this time my brother, Jamie, was unforunate to be on a train that was delayed by almost 5 and half hours. (If you click on the January archives you can read more about his ordeal)

Days after the incident my cousin Chrissy found an apology on her seat. She was stunned. When has the LIRR ever apologized for a communication break down? Between the two of us neither could remember a time when the LIRR actually took fault for their actions, not to mention in such a public manner. In true LIRR fashion Chrissy finally sent me the rare apology. While I believe it is a nice gesture I hope that the LIRR never has to send another apology like this. I hope for all those who commute on a regular basis using the LIRR do not get stuck on a train for hours on end. I've been there, as have many LIRR riders, and it's awful. Fingers crossed as we approach summer that the heat doesn't cause any major disasters.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A night at the track

A short while ago a few of us ventured to Tracks for some fine dining and coverstation. Crab cakes were devoured and portobello burgers were savored. But there was a suprise guest...RUE! Otherwise known as Blanche from the Golden Girls. I was lucky enough to have been given a copy of her new and exciting novel earlier that day.

Together we read thrilling passages about her days in the business and learned a new phrase for the night: Slutpuppy. Sophia, that spunky little Sicilian, would call Blanche this sweet name. Eventually Slutpuppy evolved into Slutcheeks. Soon after this transformation we managed to clear out the tables near by. One lone woman eating nachos and sipping wine laughed at the entertaing tales of Rue's magical life in the biz. But Rue's life wasn't all Southern picnics and debutant balls she had her share of hard times, especially with the Italian (not Sophia but 1 of her 5 hubbies).

Rue aside this was one of my better nights at Tracks. Although, Gisel refused to listen to any of my suggestions and her mouth watered as soon as the crab cakes were placed on the table. Steph and I raved as we dug in.
As I always say anyone who wants the best crab cake in town head over to Penn Station and give me a call! Not to mention the Track fries are out of this world!

The LIRR Cracks Down on Ticket Theft!

The other day my Dad was at the Flastbush station waiting for his train when he noticed the ticket booths were slightly different than those at any other station. They were locked and chained in. No one, not even an expert thief, can break into these machines and run off with the cash.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Those Brits have got us beat! They have a fancy little Oyster card while we're living in the dark ages with our Metro Card. There card is a beautiful shade of blue that can withstand sitting in your back pocket all day and not breaking. It's stregnth is only matched by it's usability. So quick! No swiping just a tap and off you go!

The only downside to this beauty is that you have to tap it again before leaving the Tube. I'm sure had been in London for more than a few days I would've adjusted better. I felt panicked that I wouldn't be able to find my Oyster card in my bag. I sometimes have a habit of tossing my Metro Card it to the giant black hole of a bag I carry. Towards the end I caught on and was traveling not only in style but with speed I never dreamed of.

Another perk to the Oyster card is the cute little case you receive when purchasing your card. It's most excellent! I know the MTA would never hand such a luxury out. It would probably pain them too much to give us something so nice. I will forever cherish my Oyster card case and eventually my Metro Card will find its way into it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Back on Track.....Unfortunately

Last night I had the unexpected pleasure of taking the 6:39 back to Long Island. This was one of my regular trains back in the day so I thought I knew what to expect. Unfortunately one of the tunnels was still flooded from Sunday's monsoon so there were 15-20 minute delays. This would've been better had the crowd not been so rowdy.

As I boarded the train two men cut me off and I almost fell down. Then once we're all inside the train the second man started screaming at the first man. Apparently the first man's umbrella got caught on the second man. In a fit of rage the second man got it off his jacket, screamed again, and then threw it to the ground. I quickly darted to one of the few remaining seats so I'm not sure if the first man ever got his umbrella back. I have a feeling he didn't, mainly because he would'be been trampled had he turned back and bent down.

After I was comfortable in my seat I turned on my Ipod and started reading, The Alienest....I recommend it. We sat for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes....finally we pulled out of the station. Once we were out of the tunnel we sat for another 5 minutes. Then my Ipod started acting funny. It stopped mid song for no reason.

Crap! I thought. I can't handle a delayed train ride home without my Ipod! I need to be fully entertained at all times.

I managed to restore it for another 2 songs but then the sad face appeared. I quickly texted Erin who called me back with the bad news. So on top of a long and boring train ride home I had to spend 2 hours last night restoring my precious Ipod. It better not stall out on my again.

Even though my Ipod was busted I was not without music for too long. The man sitting next to me was listening to music so loud that I was able to hear it. It wasn't my type of music, show tunes, but I'll take it!

Eventually I made it home a little more than a half hour late. I was tired, hungry, disgruntled, and ready to move my legs. It was one of the longest train rides I've ever had. Luckily my phone didn't die too because I was able to text Erin and my dear sister about the wretched train ride.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What a system!

I have to say those Brits have things down pat! The tube is amazing. Clean, on time, there is even sinage to tell you when the next train will be pulling into the station. What surprised me other than the greatness of it was that it's not entirely underground. There were many stations that were out in the open. I was not expecting this but it was a nice surprise.
I did have some problems with the Tube though. I thought they were very small, narrow and short. But I could deal with it because they were so clean. Not to mention the seats were cushioned and covered in fabric. Such a luxury would never survive here. Beastly New Yorkers would tear through the cushioning and certainly stain the pretty fabric in no time. I do love the Tube!

I'm back!

I've been gone for so long and I'm sorry! London was a blast and I'll be writing about my trip and how wonderful their transportation system above and below ground is. My first night there Julia and I explored far and wide trying to find special Picnic Bars for my sister-in-law Laurie. While we proved unsuccessul with that mission I was able to find a Tracker bar. I thought why not, anything named after the rail can't be bad......Sadly the Tracker wasn't as good as I had hoped. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't buy it again. I did discover the Double Decker though...DELIC! I'll have a photo for that amazing candy bar one day until then feast your eyes on the Tracker!

Monday, March 19, 2007

And I'm Off!

Tomorrow I leave for London! It's my first time ever out of the country and I'm very excited. What's even more exciting I'll finally get to test out the Tube. So many have told me wonderous tales of this fast moving subway that I can hardly believe them to be true! There are digital signs that tell you when the next train is approaching....and even better yet people are nice! This I must see first hand in order to believe! So tomorrow I'll be thinking of everyone taking the MTA while I'm on the fancy Underground! And don't worry there will be pictures!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Distant Memories Rushing Back to Haunt Me

This past Thursday was the first time I rode the LIRR in over 3 months. It could've been worse but with my commuter knowledge and skillful tricks I had a decent commute.

The first thing I did right was to take the first peak train of the evening rush. I took the 4:32 to Stewart Manor. I took this because it left early enough for me to make it to my doctor's appointment for my gimpy ankle (I chipped the bone in 2 places!) and because I didn't have to change at Jamaica. All went well on this commute. It was quiet and there was barely anyone on the train.

Going back in I took the 9:12 to Woodside. This was a little more lively. Most of the passengers were kids singing the entire time. But they were also inquisitve.

Kid 1 - "Hey, can you drive this train?"

Young Conductor (who I believe I saw him his first week of work when he got tips from a veteran conductor who told him not to take shit from anyone because his job is always on the line) - "I know how to drive it to the next station if something were to happen to the engineer."

Kid 2 - "What's the difference?"

Young Conductor (wearing a ring no man should wear) - "We're trained differently. He has an engineer's license and I don't. He can do things I can't and I can do things he can't. But we get paid the same."

The kids had enough and the yound conductor went on his way. He punched my ticket and told me to change at Jamaica. What a pro!

Switching at Woodside is always a breeze, if the 7 train is running, and it was. The subways were running perfectly and I didn't have to wait too long. The entire way back took about an hour, as if I were still commuting to work. After this recent trip I still don't miss the LIRR.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tracks....Love that Place!

Tonight I dined at Tracks. The portobello burger was superb as always. The service fantastic and the atmosphere everything you could want. It was your typical night at Tracks until I went to use the restroom.

As I was wating for an open stall a bellow came from the one right in front of me.


I stiffled my laughter.


Trying not to burst out and fall to the floor.

The door swings open and the crazy lady busts out declaring the stalls are too small.

"God, it's like I'm Yukon Cornelius with this giant coat on!"

Then as I walked into the stall she yelled out - "Don't touch the seat!" Lady, I never thought of touching it.

I then heard her complain some more and it sounded like she had just knocked over another girl. Then as I was washing my hands her phone rang. She pulled it out of her giant jacket muttering "3 minutes exactly!" "What? You time me!?? What's wrong with you?" She finally moved out of the bathroom and proceed to yell at the person on the other end of the for the next 5 minutes smack in the middle of the dining area. Needless to say it was nice to be back in Penn amongst the crazies for a bit.

Britney Strikes Again

Readers since I last posted I learned I will be a limper for longer than I thought. It turns out my ghastly fall caused 2 chips in my ankle bone. Yes! Chips! And please don't ask me where those bits of bone went because I don't know and don't want to know.

As I've been hobbling to work this week I've been leaving a little later so I can get a seat in the morning. That failed today. I was forced to stand and next to what appeared to be a normal middle aged man. About 10 minutes into my commute I started hearing the distinct sound of Britney Spear's "Toxic" coming from somewhere. I realized it was from the fairly normal looking man to my right! It was blaring through his headphones and he was bopping his head to the beat. It took all I had to not start laughing like a crazy person!

Sadly, he had one over on me. For the next 4 hours "Toxic" was running through my head at full speed. I thought I was going to lose my mind! Thankfully I heard another song that forced "Toxic" out of my mind forever. Funny to have a song with barely any words torturing me all morning.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Limper has competition!

I discovered something almost worse than a limper the other morning. The zig zagger. I was trying to walk up the steps to the subway platform and was in a rush since the train was pulling into the station. The man ahead of me was the only thing between me and catching my train.

No one was in front him but he found it necessary to walk smack in the middle of the stairs. As I tried to go left he went left. I dashed to the right, he did the same. There was no way I was getting around him. I lost hope of catching my train and prepared myself for the wait. But I got lucky and train was stopped longer than usual and I finally got past the man once we both reached the platform.

The zag zagger is a rare find but when you come across them you want to bop them in the head. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to move ahead with only one person in your way. I've often encountered them on sidewalks which is slightly more mangeable. But the stairs! The stairs are hell!

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's winter time!

We all commuted through our second snow storm of the seaon today. In my opinion it was a much better commute than the first storm a few weeks ago. That was when I discovered that the MTA is just as bad with shoveling the subway steps and platforms as they are with the LIRR.

Slush and ice was everywhere! It's amazing more people didn't fall. I can understand not shoveling or salting if the storm strikes just at the beginning of a morning commute but when it's happened over night get your act together! I leave on the later side in the morning and with all the commuters that braved the trails ahead of me everything was patted down and slick as could be. My brother Jamie said it was pretty much the same for the LIRR.

I'd like to invent a quick melting salt that I can carry around in my pocket. When I see a patch of ice ahead of me I would toss and then walk over the melted ice. Jamie wants to walk around with a flame thrower, I think that's what he said. Either way he'd be melting the ice.

One day the monkeys that are running the MTA and LIRR will get their act together. And when that day happens you will see me running through the train cars rejoicing!

I'm back!

I have to say I've been somewhat ashamed of myself lately. I've turned into my worst commuting fear....I've become a limper! I've actually gotten much better over the past week. The Saturday of President's Day Weekend I took a mighty spill in my apartment. My ankle was bloody, bruised, and still is.

Last Tuesday was my first day commuting as a limper. I have to say I held my own. I didn't crawl up the stairs and I made sure there wasn't anyone behind me. If there was I moved faster or moved to the side to let them pass.

I suppose that some of the limpers that have angered me so much might have just been injured....but it was there attitude that really got to me. They're "I'm limping so you better deal with it" attitude that's what causes the hate.

Like I said, I'm still slightly gimpy but I've been doing well on the commute. The worst part is having to stand. It's a short ride but man, when your ankle hurts it's the longest ride in the world!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I made it!

I finally made it to work Thursday morning. After a few frantic phone calls from Julia and one I made to Beth I started what would I thought would be a horribly cold commute. I opted to try my regular station rather than walking to Steinway to catch the R train.

I was lucky. I waited about 2 minutes and a N train pulled into the station. It wasn't as crowded as I had anticipated, which was a nice surprise. Even better the train went into the city. Beth had told me earlier that she took the N to QueensBoro Plaza and had to transfer to the 7. After all the phone calls back and forth between Julia and work I managed to make it in on time.

The weirdest part about the whole morning was that earlier in the week I was thinking to myself what would happen if the train stopped working? How would I get into the city? After this fiasco Julia told me I'm now part of her carpool should the trains stop working. I also know that I leave late enough to miss most of the damage. And of course there's always the walk to the R........

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Oh Dear!

The subways aren't running.......this will be an interesting morning commute!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Behold the beauty!

I was waiting for my train tonight and praying that the N or W would arrive before the R. It was a late night at work and with the chill in the air I wanted nothing more than to get home. Off in the distance I saw the light of a train approaching. My fingers were crossed as I peaked at the end of the track....there it was in all it's glory a NEW N train! I had seen these pass by on the opposite track early in the morning. I have even heard of friends riding them. But never before had I had the chance!

I pushed my way on to the packed and spotless train, grabbed hold of a pole and off I went. The electroinc voice bellowing in my ear about keeping the trains clean and safe, announcing the next stop and thanking me for riding with the MTA. It was a smooth ride. A crowded one, too many people for me to get a real sense of what the train is like. Although it was similar to the 4,5, and 6 lines. Those trains are so so for me. I think that there are less seats but I could be wrong.

I hope to ride the new train again sometime soon. It adds a little spice to the commute and makes me happy that there are no arm rests to rip apart my clothing!

Monday, January 29, 2007

This little lady right here was the victim of ticket discrimination on the LIRR Saturday night. She had her January monthly ticket and was on her way to Flatbush. The conductor who punched the F for female was a little over zealous and went punch happy. For roughly 22 days Steph didn't encounter any problems, until the other night that is. She was informed by the conductor on the 6:14 train that her ticket was in fact not her ticket. The ticket she had belonged to someone else and she had to pay for her own. With months of commuting aggravation behind her she went off..."This is my ticket. I paid for it! I ride the LIRR every day to work!" Even when all of this was said the stupid conductor had his doubts. Finally Stephanie proved herself right and he went off to harrass more passengers. But he left Stephanie feeling angry and hurt. Just because it's the weekend and she's not in her work attaire does not mean she didn't purchase her ticket.
This happened once before, but the conductor was right. My Dad had borrowed my monthly ticket on a day I wasn't heading into the city. The conductor called him out on it not being his ticket. But he played it right and convinced this conductor that the F had been punched all month long and no one had noticed.
Due to the high cost of monthly tickets why can't they be shared amongst family members? Or why do you have to be harrassed just because you're not in a suit!

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Just In!

I just heard not more than 5 minutes ago that the LIRR is finally doing something about the gaps at Flatbush! Major construction? Adding a plank to the platform? NO!!! All to simple. They're just going to only open the first 4 cars at each track. Genius! Sure.....

Apparently they plan on doing this at other dangerous stations. This is to keep people from falling into the gap. It's the cheap and quick fix. What they seem to be forgetting is how overcrowded the open cars will soon become. What they are forgetting is how they tell us not to walk through the train cars while the train is in motion. I only see disaster ahead. The LIRR should suck it up and repair each platform. These quick fixes will only lead to more accidents.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mmmm Tracks!

Last night I was going out near Penn Station and had to pick a meeting place. Of course Tracks was the obvious answer. Thank goodness it's a happening place because Beth and I were a half hour late and kept Tom waiting.

When we finally got there Tom was hungry and ordered the crab cakes! (Of course!) He agrees, they're damn good! I got a little nibble and was statisfied. It's been a long time since I've had a bite of those delectable treats! Makes me want to go back for more!

On a side note not taking the LIRR home has greatly improved my life. The past two nights I was able to stay out late with my friends and not have to worry about rushing for a train. In fact I left after my usual 1:46 train would've left and made home earlier. Talk about service! Service aside the crowd is a lot better too. I have not encountered a drunk train. I'm sure most of the people on the subway that late at night are drunk but they're not rowdy Long Island people.

Beware of the gap

I got off the phone a short while ago with my Mom and she was telling me that Newsday is running features on the LIRR and the gap problem in the most recent issues. (She's keeping these articles for me and I will scan them in once I have them)

The gap issue has always been there. I've always been cautious and have constantly brought up the trouble with Track 17. As it turns out many people have been injured by the large gaps. Not to mention how dangerous the platforms are in the winter when it snows. I remember too many times trying to avoid slipping on a patch of ice.

The gap hazards are finally being addressed due to a number of unforunate accidents in the recent months. Supposedly they are working on adjustments at multiple stations. As you can see from this photo signage is not the answer. This shot was taken by my Dad at the Flatbush station. When a train pulls in the "watch your gap" along the wall is blocked. What's the point!? I suppose one could say the LIRR is trying but they shouldn't have to. There should never have been an issue with the gaps. If the subways can handle it why can't the LIRR?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The kindness of strangers

Yesterday morning was a rainy commute. Not torrential downpours but enough to break out the daisy rain boots. I managed to get a seat on the train when I noticed a woman calling to the woman sitting next to me. The bottom of her paper shopping bag was wet and everything was falling through. Next thing I know the man sitting across from us was handing her a plastic bag he fished out of his coat pocket.

It's not often you seen kind acts on the subway, let alone two in a row. It was nice to see that people are paying attention and willing to come to the aide of others.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

5 and a 1/2 hours of HELL!

Last night as I was making my way to Joe's birthday dinner I heard a first time ever announcement in the subways.

"There is no Long Island Railroad Service from Penn Station to Jamaica due to police activity. Please take the E to Suphtin Blvd and connect there."

I was stunned. Never have I heard just information being broadcasted at multiple stations! 59th st/Columbus Circle and 7th Ave I heard this. Last night was a night I was happy not to be commuting on the LIRR.

My sister, Stephanie, arrived in Penn and it was a mob scene. Gates were being drawn and people were being forced to exit. Being on her toes she fled to Flatbush in hopes of catching a train from there. She was able to board a train to Valley Stream and with the help of Laurie's directions our Mom was able to pick her up.

My brother, Jamie, was not so lucky. As it turns out a teenager was close to the tracks working on his graffiti when he got hit and killed by a train. Jamie was in the train behind the one that hit the the kid. He was on the 5:27 express to Valley Stream. He arrived home 5 and a 1/2 hours later around. The passengers who were on the train that was involved in the accident were rescued by another train that took them back to Penn Station. Jamie's train sat there until 8:30.

At 8:30 when they began heading home the conductors discovered break damage. This then lead them on a 2 hour journey to Jamaica at a snails pace. When Jamie's train finally arrived at Jamaica they transferred to a working train that was suddenly a local. None of these passengers were going to get off at the local stops since they were on an express train. Eventually Jamie made it home.

I was told that no one on his train freaked out. They remained calm. Since it was an early train there weren't that many people and everyone had a seat. I can only imagine the scene if people were standing. There would've been yelling, fainting, possibly even a fist fight. Early on when the announcement was made that there would be delays people quickly got up and formed a line for the bathroom. Obviously commuting pros.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Has February been replaced!?

I can reveal very little information right now but I think my favorite ticket might be replaced. I will post it's competition in a few weeks to see what everyone thinks. I will not have this wonderous new ticket in my possession until then. Please wait and don't let the suspense kill you. I can only say that it was pointed out to me and it's amazing.


This entry is from New Years 2 years ago.....

I took the 1:46 train home with Erin because I was exhausted from the week's activities and whatnot. Usually new year's calls for the 3:49 home, but this year was different. This year we bailed early. It was almost a mistake, we were almost pulverized by fellow passengers.

For some reason the track was announced 20 minutes before departure.

Bad idea.

Stupid idea.

Worst idea ever.

Everyone was so drunk I was waiting for the bodies to start piling up on the tracks. Luckily no one fell off the platform. But when that train pulled up it was every man for himself. The crowd gathered at the door and when those doors opened people went down. Pushing began, shoving ensued, screaming was heard all throughout the station. I myself took part in the screaming as I was slammed up against the outside of the train. "What the hell is wrong with you people!!??" I bellowed. No reply. Just more shoving.

I made my way into the train, stepping over a person, for had I not I would soon become the one that was being stepped over. I found seats for me and Erin and settled in to watch the insanity continue. Everyone who was on the platform as the train pulled in was able to get a seat. There was no reason for the mob scene that occurred, none whatsoever. Those that arrived later on had to stand, which makes sense. Show up late on new years for a train you're going to stand. Deal with it.

And deal with it they did. I was in the musical car. There were a group of kids singing up a storm from oldies to music from today. It would've been a nice treat had they been able to carry a tune, but at least it made the ride go by. Sitting in front of me and Erin was a "man", she looked a lot like Lyndsey Lohan, but more butch. And her, she must've been a man before the operation. She kept flirting with a cop that was standing in the aisle. But her way of flirting was downright creepy, she just stared at him. She didn't even smile. I believe he smiled back out of fear. He probably thanked the lord that he was armed should she do anything drastic. Her pig friend, really...she looked like a pig, was terrified of the gun and kept moving away. Overall they annoyed me and Erin a great deal. We discussed this through Erin's text messaging, she had no voice to speak with. What a night! Everything calmed down after we changed at Jamaica. It became a smooth sailing from there!

A Hush Falls Over the Train

I thought this morning would be a jam packed commute with everyone heading back to work after the holidays. My train was empty. I got a prime seat and there were still many empty seats before we even left Queens. Not only was the train empty it was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. No one was talking, coughing, yawning, or panhandling.....nothing. Suddenly right before my stop I had a coughing fit. I couldn't help it. I broke the silence. People glared but what could I do? There was no way I was going to stiffle my cough and choke for strangers.

Ib went through the same thing on the LIRR this morning. She too was on a silent train and was terrified of making a noise. Where is everyone!? Why was no one working today!? Are Ib and I chumps? Should we have been fast alseep in our cozy beds instead of on dirty uncomfortable trains? Maybe. Tomorrow will probably back to normal. Fingers crossed I get a seat! I don't mind standing but it's always a nice treat.