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!