“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?
Etc.

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.