Saturday, July 28, 2007
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
"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.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
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
Sunday, May 20, 2007
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.
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
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
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 attraction.....at least to me!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
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
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
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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
Monday, March 19, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
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
As I was wating for an open stall a bellow came from the one right in front of me.
"THIS WAS BUILT BY A MAN!"
I stiffled my laughter.
"A THIN MAN!!!"
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.
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
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
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!
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 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
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
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
Friday, January 26, 2007
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
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.
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
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
"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
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.
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.
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 voice.......wow, 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!
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.