Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

We Are The Four Percenters!

The MTA Fare Hikes are coming. You may remember, back in the 2014 there was the threat of an impending rail workers strike, but it was averted with a last minute agreement. We all knew at that point that the fares would go up, and now the day of reckoning is coming. The MTA just published a press release outlining fare changes.

I'm glad those 2014 hearings where customers were invited to speak their minds about fare increases were considered carefully before they were ignored. The MTA states that fares will go up by an average of 4%. What will I receive in return for increased fares?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Skunks On a Train

Ever heard of snakes on a plane? Today, I experienced skunk on a train.


Yes, skunk on a train. That's a new one for me. I rode the A Train from 34th Street down to Chambers Street, and the whole train car reeked of skunk. I've heard of coyote sightings in New York City, but skunks? Just another reason to keep a pair of nose plugs on hand when commuting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Year, New Peeves

All right! We're into the swing of 2015 and it's time to dig back in with some brand new peeves. It's been a few weeks since I returned to work from an extended and relaxing vacation, and that's enough time for me to regroup and re-establish commuting irritants.

It seems that many of you have done the same, because several of you have written to me with your own peeves. I'm excited to share them with you. Remember Octavius? He alerted me to Rackophobia and the Aisle Shimmy. Reader Mike G reminded me of Wednesday Travelers.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Piece Of History, Right Under My Nose

Perhaps you've noticed, I've been captivated recently by the beauty and history of the original Penn Station. This interest started when I was researching my post, "A Tale of Two Commuting Hubs."

I've been commuting from Hicksville Station for a long time. Usually, I have tunnel vision as I rush to the platform. But today, I saw something that I never really took notice of before. What was it? A 5,700 lb. stone eagle, proudly perched on a pedestal.

What's so significant about that?

The original Penn Station was adorned with 22 stone eagles. You can see six of them in the black and white photo, on either side of the clock. When the building was demolished, the eagles were destined for the landfill. Hicksville High School teacher Samuel Goldberg claimed the eagle and brought her to Long Island. Since 1965, the eagle has been at the station.

The years were tough on the bird. Her beak was broken. She was dirty. But in 2010, she received a restoration, funded by taxpayers and private donations. I'm thrilled that my tax dollars went to repair and restore this magnificent and important relic. 

Great architectural works with a rich history always capture my attention. I'm looking forward to seeing her every day on my way to work. I've often commented that Penn Station today is a rat hole. The eagle lets me participate, in my mind, in sophisticated train travel from a bygone era. And that's pretty cool. 

18 of the 22 Penn Station eagles are displayed in various locations throughout the country. One is in the Smithsonian, and another is located at the current Penn Station. Take a look next time you're in the area. The USA is a young country, and these birds are over 100 years old. They're an important piece of our heritage.

If you want to commute with me from Hicksville, let me know. I'll meet you by Big Bird. Just look for the guy staring upward, admiringly. I won't be tough to find.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Tale Of Two Commuting Hubs

Have you commuted out of the two Manhattan rail hubs? Grand Central Terminal is at 42nd and Park Avenue, and it lives up to its "grand" name. It is the crown jewel of the New York Metropolitan area's commuting infrastructure. In stark contrast, Penn Station stands at 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. To put it bluntly, Penn Station is an ugly rat hole. When you can honestly say that the Port Authority Bus Terminal is a commuting cathedral compared to Penn, you are really making a statement.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Incompatible Neuroses

Today on the train, I brought out the neuroses of a fellow passenger. Shocking, I know. Let me explain what happened.

I'm always on my computer when commuting. I'm either surfing the web, working, or writing for TTIV. This morning was no different. I had to prepare for a meeting by typing notes. I wasn't in the quiet car, but mornings are typically silent unless some amateur commuter decides to have an in-depth conversation with his doctor about his gall bladder, or has an urgent trade to make.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Back and Better!

Happy New Year everybody! It's been a great holiday break. I haven't taken a two week vacation in years, and I feel well rested and ready to return to the grind. Besides hanging out with the family and taking some much needed down time, I completed my goal of revamping TTIV. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Here are the key changes.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015