“Shut up kid.”

This morning I had a little kid standing near me with his little sister and parents.  Overhearing the conversation, it turns out that the dad used to live in Manhattan years ago.  The family was in town on vacation.

It started off with them jumping on the train.  Dad told the kids where to hold on, etc.  Mom looked a little jacked up about the whole experience, but whatever.  The boy was about 7 or 8 years old.  The little girl was probably 5.

Well, every little jerk and bump, the boy would yell, “Whoooaa!  Hold on,” like it was a roller coaster or something.  Of course, he was asking his dad a million questions.

Why does it go so fast?
What stop are we getting off?
What’s the next stop?
What are the lights outside?
Why isn’t that guy holding on?

At first it was pretty cute.  It was clearly his first train ride ever, and he was super excited.  It was like Disney world for the kid.

After about 5 stops is started to get a little old.  I made a note to invest in Ritalin stock later today.

I was fine with it until the train started to really get crowded.  I mean it was the heart of rushhour and I think they were headed to the Statue of Liberty.   So they were on board for the long haul.

At one point the kid was behind me holding on to the pole that is in the center of the aisle.  I was closer to side holding the overhead bar above the bench.  Once we started moving again, he kept slamming into me.  I mean he was holding on, but he was being ultra dramatic about each little bump and jerk.

I guess the thing that made me uncomfortable was it’s an 8 year old kid that keeps throwing his back into my ass repeatedly.  We adults bump shoulders and what not all the time, so you hardly notice it.  But when there’s something behind you constantly hitting your butt, it gets a little awkward.  I don’t even think he was paying attention to what he was doing.

But it is just another example of parents not taking control of their children in public places.

Lost Like a Tourist

Alright.  I admit it.  I had to ask for directions today on the subway.  I’m not terribly proud of it either.

We had company in town this weekend, and went downtown to the Seaport, etc.  We were going to take the 2,3 down, but that got all messed up because uptown, the trains stopped running for n reason.

So we transferred to the A.  Got to West 4th and it switched over to the 6th Avenue line with no warning.  Had to backtrack on that one.

I tried to ask a transit worker what my alternatives were.  I walked away before I said some choice words about the worker’s lack of mastery of the English language.

Eventually, we did make it over to the World Trade Center instead.  Then we just walked from there.

Now I know why I don’t go downtown on the weekend.

And We’re Back

Blue Smoke BBQ Ribs
Blue Smoke BBQ Ribs

After a short holiday hiatus outside of the city, we’re back in the NYC.

SUBWAYblogger tries to get back to the city early.  Right after Christmas though New Years happens to be one of the best times to be in the city.

Most of the neighborhoods are completely empty because people are out of town visiting family.  The only areas packed with people are the tourist areas like midtown.  Last night it took forever to get down Park Avenue because hordes of people are still going to see the tree in Rockefeller Center.  It turns out, we set a tourism record this year of 47 million.  So if you avoid the typical tourist areas, it’s really quiet.

For example, last night I was able to walk right into Blue Smoke at 7:00 and get a table right away without a reservation.  That NEVER happens on a weekend.  You’re easily looking at an hour wait.

Gradually though, people will come back.  By New Years, the city will be bac to its typical insanity.

Here’s to another week of from work!

Welcome to New York, Get Out of the Way

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back after a lovely Thanksgiving weekend.  SUBWAYblogger’s back in business, sorry for the lack of posts.

Without further adieu, we believe it is time for our annual public service announcement for tourists visiting our fair city for the holidays.  Here goes:

Get Out of the Way.  Thank you.

To harsh?  I think it is short and too the point.

First, you must wait for passengers to get off the train before you try to get on with all your shopping bags.  Yes, you will see other people doing it, but those are experienced New Yorkers that know when they can jump on a train early.  Do not attempt it yourself.

Stopping at the top or bottom of an escalator is not ok.  Take at least 10 steps off the escalator before you try to turn around and look for your friends/family.  Stopping at the top to put your mittens on will guarantee that you get mowed down.

Yes, he’s touching you.  Those other people on the train are going to be in your personal space and probably touching you.  Get over it.  Or take a cab instead.

Ask for directions ahead of time.  Waiting until the last minute to jump out of your seat and run for the door is not cool.  Pay attention to the stops, and don’t be afraid to ask someone.

If your 20 blocks or less away from your destination, just walk.  I know…exercise is not what you are used to.  Trust me, it’s not that far.  No need to pay the $2.00 for a ride and crowd the trains even more.

Last but not least, keep moving or get out of the way.  There’s very little area in the city (approximately 13 square feet) where it is ok to just stop and stand still.  So always keep moving.

Good luck.

Obnoxiously Long Commute this Morning

Wow did it take for ever to get to work this morning.

There were some pretty significant delays on the 1 train last night because of signal problems at 96th Street.  The trains were running excessively slow.  At one point, it took 10 minutes just to get to the next stop.  We were rolling the whole time, but at a pace that I could have matched on foot without breaking a sweat.

So this morning, I don’t know if they were still recovering or what.  There were huge gaps between trains.  The trains themselves ran quickly when they finally arrived.

Then there was the largest single travel group I’ve ever seen trying to board the train.  On the Upper West Side, there are a lot of less expensive boutique hotels, so groups of foreign travelers (and students) often stay there.  So you see the groups of them all the time.  Sometimes they can get large, but nothing like this.

There had to be over 150 of them.  Mostly they seemed to be around 18 years old.  I couldn’t make out where they were from.  They sounded sort of Dutch?  I don’t know.  What I do know is there was a ton of them.

Any other day when there are delays like this, the train arrives at the station packed to the gills.  Only 2 or 3 people are able to get on at each doorway, even though there are lots of people waiting at the platform.  So then, throw in this mass of tourists, and you’ve got complete insanity.

They’re still probably standing there waiting to get on.  There’s absolutely no way they were getting more than 10 of their people on a train at a time.  Of course, none of them wanted to do that.  They looked like they were just going to keep waiting until a virtually empty train came along.  Good luck with aaaallll that.

Lots of Foreign Tourists this Morning

Did you see a higher than average amount of foreign tourists on your train this morning?  I sure did.

There was a large group of what sounded like Swedish tourists on one side of me.  Then on the other end were a bunch of Germans.  There’s definitely no mistaking the German language.

I wonder if this is just a taste of what’s to come this holiday season.

I’m all for the foreign tourists (as long as they keep walking on the sidewalk).  Bring us your Euros!

When I noticed that the market opened -300 points this morning, I almost spit my coffee on my computer screen.  Way to go bailout.

The European economy is starting to feel the pain of our problem as well.  So it makes me wonder if we will see even more tourism than we did last year.  With our economy in the crapper, travel should be pretty cheap, right?

Domestic travel is certainly going to be down.  People from around the US are definitely not going to fly to New York for a trip, and spend $500 a night on hotel rooms.  So those rates will probably drop and get scooped up by international travelers.  

And the stores are going to start the holiday insanity sales even earlier this year.  So they’ll be here in droves to buy all our Levi Jeans and Reebok sneakers.

Of course, Europeans are fans of mass transit, so they tend to take advantage of the subway.  Combine that with more and more Americans leaving their cars at home in favor of mass transit, and we’ve got crowding.  It’s going to be “interesting” to see if the system can handle the load.

College Students Are Back

The freshmen are in town.  I’ve seen a lot of tour groups riding the subway.  I know they are tour groups because one kid has a t-shirt on that says “orientation leader.”

I guess part of the orientation process is learning how to get around the city.  If so, that’s pretty cool that they take the out of town kids around to get them acclimated to city life.

I overheard some in depth discussions about uptown vs downtown and express vs local…haha.

Honestly, the orientation leaders should just talk about the subway and stops in terms of bars.  Instead of calling the stop West 4th Street, call it Off the Wagon, Down the Hatch, and 124 Rabbit Club…etc.

Amtrak Strike Will Be a Subway Disaster

Amtrak workers could go on strike as early as January 30th.  As with all strikes, there’s a much broader impact than you first think.

An Amtrak strike has affect on virtually all rail related travel.  What most people don’t realize is Amtrak controls the signals coming in and out of Penn Station.  This means all the rail switches are under their control.

Because of that, LIRR and NJ Transit trains cannot come in or out of Penn Station without them.  Even though multiple train companies use the rails, it is Amtrak doing the switch work.  If and when the Amtrak workers go out, Penn Station will grind to a stop.  It translates into the displacement of 85,000 LIRR riders and about 70,000 NJ Transit riders.

NJ Transit riders will be able to get close to the city, but not all the way in.  They would be able to ride as far as Hoboken, and then they would have to get off.  From there, they would need to take the PATH or Ferry.

LIRR riders would have to get off at Jamaica Station in Brooklyn.  From there, the only option would be to take the subway the rest of the way into Manhattan.

If the strike happens, there will be an enormous amount of volume on the PATH and subway.  Perhaps more than they are able to handle.  There would also be an insane amount of street traffic.

People would likely start to drive into the city.  If the option is drive to a PATH station or parking lot near a subway stop, people will probably just say “screw it” and drive all the way in.

Folks that choose not to drive are going to get crammed into PATH and Subway trains like they’ve never seen before.

January 30th happens to be a Wednesday.  I’d imagine that is a fairly slow day for incoming or outgoing tourist travel.  However, Thursday and Friday are going to get crazy.  People coming into the city for the weekend that had planned to take Amtrak will start to flood in using alternative methods.  Yikes.

Getting to Times Square on New Year’s Eve


It’s time for the city to get rid of 2007 and move on to 2008 like only we can.  It’s time for the shit-show known as New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

Ask any New Yorker that has been around here for a few years or more.  They’ll likely tell you the last place on earth they would want to be on December 31st is Times Square.   Why?  Well let’s check the rundown.

– No Alcohol
– No Bathrooms
– No Seats
– No Walking Around
– No Bags

Ohh, and you have to be there by around 5pm at the latest if you want an even halfway decent view of the stages or ball drop.

Starting at around 4pm, the NYPD will close down the streets around Times Square and start filling in the revelers’ cages viewing areas.  As each area fills up, they close them off, and start filling the next one.  You have really no choice of where you want to be. You just go where you’re directed.  Then you are pretty much locked in there.  If you leave, there’s really not any getting back in there.

So there’s nothing quite like standing in a penned in area, packed with people while the chick next to you pops a squat because there are no bathrooms.  It’s definitely a once in a lifetime activity.  Then again, I suppose it is a badge of honor once you’ve done it.

SUBWAYblogger will be there!  (Yeah, after that enticing setup.)  SB will be “working” right smack in the middle of it all. Luckily, I won’t be trapped in the pens though.

So how do you get there?  The subway is the best way:

– All normal Times Square trains will be running every 3 – 12 minutes until 3am.  Then, for the rest of New Year’s Day, the system will run on a Sunday schedule.  Keep in mind, the bars are allowed to be open until 6am that night, so you’ll need to be in “Sunday Mode” as you stumble back to your apartment.

– N/R/W Uptown lines will skip the 49th Street station beginning at 7pm till 12:15am

– 1 Trains Uptown will skip 50th Street from 7pm till 12:15 am.  (That station is waaaay to small to handle the volume of people that will be there.

– From 7pm on, certain subway entrances will be closed as crowd volume warrants, so just be aware that you may need to hoof it to another entrance.

The MTA also reminds you that they are not cool with you shotgunning beers on the trains and buses.   [More MTA Info]

So after it is all over, SUBWAYblogger highly recommends walking as far as you can.  Just get a reasonable distance away from Times Square before even attempting to get on the subway.  Walking uptown to 59th Street really is not as far as it sounds.  Walking downtown to 34th Street is like nothing.  So you would probably be better off getting out of the thickest areas first.

Let you know how it all goes!