Archive for the ‘Transit’ Category

Fri 12 Jun 2009 11:40 pm   //   Posted in: Movies, Transit

Mistakes in “The Taking of Pelham 123”

The remake of “The Taking of Pelham 123,” I have to admit, is better than the 1974 original, which I own on DVD and have seen at least five times. But nobody said the original was a great movie. What made it notable was it’s attention to detail. Almost every reference to New York City geography in the original is absolutely accurate. It was one of those rare New York movies that respected the intelligence of trivia-obsessed New Yorkers.

I follow trains the way some people follow sports, so I was interested in whether the film was accurate in regard to the New York City subway, the setting where all of the action takes place. How did it do?


Mon 25 May 2009 7:57 pm   //   Posted in: Photos, Transit

Northeast Corridor photos

This weekend I rode the Amtrak from New York to Baltimore and back, as I’ve done many times. This time I took some snapshots of some of the beautiful/ugly urban decay visible through the windows of the train.


Sun 5 Apr 2009 7:00 am   //   Posted in: Transit

The “Long Train”

According to The Daily News, the MTA did a test-run of an F Train with eleven cars, instead of the usual ten (or eight, depending on the kind of car they’re running). The Long Train would help alleviate overcrowding on the F line, one of the slowest, twistiest and most problem-prone subway lines.

Difficulty: The platforms aren’t long enough to accommodate 11 cars. And the MTA can’t invest any money in making things better right now.

My prediction is that crowding will go down once 30-day Metrocards go up to $103 (from $81). A lot of people will start walking, driving, riding bikes, or hopping turnstiles.

(Pictured: Manhattan-bound F Train departing Smith and 9th, 2005)

Thu 26 Mar 2009 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: Music, Transit

In search of the perfect Manhattan Bridge song

It takes four minutes for a New York City subway train to cross the Manhattan Bridge. I usually listen to music and take in the view as we soar over East River. After countless express trips between Brooklyn and Manhattan, I’ve been wondering: Is there a perfect four-minute song to play on the ride?

Here’s my current favorite: “All Will Be Well” by The Gabe Dixon Band. The song is the right length and its gentle reassurance is perfect for starting and ending the day. You can play the song here and download it on iTunes, etc.

Wed 18 Mar 2009 10:57 pm   //   Posted in: Photos, Transit

New subway station!

Have you ever seen a New York City subway station this clean?

Seen here is the new South Ferry station in Lower Manhattan on the Seventh Avenue line, which on Monday became the first new subway station to open in New York City since 1989. It’s not actually a new stop; it merely replaces the old South Ferry station. The old station was over 100 years old and built on a looping turnaround, and thus only able to accommodate half of a 10-car subway train. (Conductors announced that riders had to be in the first five cars if they wanted to get out there.) The turnabout is closed, and the new station includes two tracks for arriving and departing 1 Trains, as well as a connection to the Broadway line (R and W trains). More pictures below.


Thu 26 Feb 2009 7:45 pm   //   Posted in: Brooklyn, Photos, Transit

Hooh? Where?

“Red Hook? No, sorry, this bus only goes to Red Hooh.”

Tue 16 Dec 2008 2:03 pm   //   Posted in: Transit

More train news!

The Jersey casinos are about to launch a new Atlantic City Express Service train departing from Penn Station on weekends. Behold the ACES train! Service starts Feb. 6 and costs $50 each way for the two-hour, fifty-minute trip. Most intriguing: You can rent the lounge in the rear of the train for a private party. I don’t enjoy casinos, but I will probably take this train at some point any way just to check it out.

I’m curious about which tracks the train uses. NJ Transit will operate the service, and the ACES train will make just one stop between New York and Atlantic City: Newark. The map on the Web site seems to show the train continuing along the Northeast Corridor rather than the North Jersey Coast Line (which doesn’t run all the way to Atlantic City.) I’m a little fuzzy on how the train gets to Atlantic City without going through Philadelphia, unless maybe it does and the map just doesn’t show it?

Tue 16 Dec 2008 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Transit

Northeast corridor is hot right now

1. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ride a train from Philadelphia and Wilmington to D.C. on the way to the inauguration next month. This is so cool! Unclear what kind of train they’ll be on. Two days after them, I will also be riding the train to D.C. to see the inauguration in person.

2. Transportation Secretary Peters announced Monday that the federal government is seeking private companies to build new high-speed passenger rail lines using $30 billion in federal money. One proposal is to build a entirely new rail line between New York and Washington.

This is a wacky idea. The Northeast Corridor is the only passenger rail line in the whole country that actually works the way it should. For years, everybody has been saying that the best way to improve travel along those tracks is to build a new Hudson River tunnel, given that the current tunnel is only two tracks wide, causing an infuriating bottleneck. Estimated cost: $7.2 billion. This money should be spent on that project.

Sun 14 Dec 2008 10:05 am   //   Posted in: New York is different, Transit

Glory days?

There’s an interesting story in today’s Times about public transit ridership: New York City Grew, but Traffic Didn’t. Even though New York City’s population and work force grew in the ’90s and 2000s, public transit here was so good that it was able to absorb all the additional commuters, and road traffic did not get worse. I am a living example of this phenomenon: Moved to New York 2002, went car-free in 2004 when I realized I could get by just fine without it.

This Times story includes the first reference I’ve seen to the “boom years from 2003 through 2007.” In a few years, will we be telling sentimental stories about how what great times those years were? Depressing.

Fri 21 Nov 2008 7:15 am   //   Posted in: Holga, Transit

This is the last stop on this train

Following up on my post from Tuesday, here are the proposed subway cuts announced in an MTA press release yesterday:

  • Route modifications – shorten G, operate N via Manhattan Bridge late nights, eliminate W and extend Q to Astoria, operate M to Broad rush hours, eliminate Z, add J local service.
  • Increased headways and loading guidelines during non-rush hours – headways increase from 8 to 10 minutes on ADEFGJMNQR on Saturdays and the ADEFGNQR on Sundays; headways increase from 20 to 30 minutes from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

MTA also wants to cut some low-ridership/redundant bus service, eliminate jobs (management, station booth managers) and cut back on (ugh) cleaning. The MTA’s budget presentation says they are trying to make budget and still: “Fulfill fundamental mission of getting people where they need to go.”

Okay, let’s talk about the cuts. As I wrote earlier, we’ll be fine without the W and Z. I hadn’t considered the possibility that they would run the Q all the way out to Astoria once they kill the W, but that’s a good solution. Confirmed that they want to stop running the M all the way to south Brooklyn during rush hours, which is a bummer. The R train is going to get crowded. And the G… [long silence]… That poor train…

Most serious is increasing the overnight space between trains from 20 to 30 minutes. Psychologically, there’s a huge difference between waiting 19 minutes for a train and waiting 29 minutes. We’ll have to start carrying timetables for the subway!

About once a month I end up taking the subway during those hazy hours between 2 and 5 a.m. (heading home after parties, or heading out to an airport or Penn Station early in the morning). During the pre-dawn hours, most of the people riding the train here in Brooklyn are working-class immigrants on their way to work. Anybody who works that hard deserves a break. A functional, round-the-clock public transit system is one of the few breaks they get in this hard city. If we’re pinching pennies, let’s find another service to cut.

(Thanks to Jeremy for the tip.)