Saturday, July 11, 2009

Where's my ride? A weekend concern.

A major concern in this project, for me who has a weekday 9 to 5 (or so), is the fact that some trains don't run on the weekends. This is a somewhat major hurtle to overcome, as these are also often the trains that stop running at 10 or 11 pm on the days they do run. That leaves me with just a handful of hours to do a ride. It takes very careful planning - and a certain willingness to end up at the end of a line at ten o'clock at night with blind faith in the dear old MTA that there will, somehow, be another train to get you home.

So, what trains are these weekend slackers? Here's the complete list.

-The B Train. Fortunately we've already overcome this one - and got to see some fireworks as our reward.

-The J Train. I'm kind of baffled by this - I really thought that the J was a full timer - apparently not though. Seems that the M is the workhorse on that particular line.

-The V Train. This is truly lamentable, as in the city it's the best alternative to the always bursting at the seams E train. It also just stops pretty much everywhere I want to go on the west side, and from one of my common destinations in Queens no less. So it goes.

-The W Train. My little buddy out here in Astoria, who almost faced the ax during the "doomsday" propositions of late. Yeah, great idea guys - approve the construction of one billion condos in a neighborhood and then cut its train service. Luckily it's been staved off, for the time being at least.

-And, last but not least, The Z Train. I haven't seen much of this elusive beast, and apparently there's a reason for that. Seems that all it really does is supplement the J line during rush hours on weekdays. This line follows a most unusual path - from lower Manhattan, through Brooklyn, and then up into Queens the back way. It ends up where all the other Queens trains end up, way up in Jamaica, but by slicing an entirely different route. Cool, says I. It will be an interesting ride.

And when is she riding again, you ask? Soon! I hope. The schedule's a little bit packed at the moment. But here's a touch of exciting news for you: next weekend I'll be in DC! No promises, but maybe just maybe I'll come back with photos of the Metro's Red Line. (Doubtless I'll come back with lots of pictures of me in wedding dresses, as that's why I'm going down. But that's a different blog entirely.) Ah, the Metro - a much less impressive system with much more impressive stations, largely because many of them were built as artful bomb shelters... true story.

So that's what I got for ya today. See you soon, and happy riding.

Monday, July 6, 2009

One year down, and I am no hero.

One year down and there is not a sound.

Well, actually there's lots of sounds - the subway is a very loud place. Sorry, 90's indie rock reference.

So, believe it or not today marks the first anniversary of my A Train ride - the first of what would prove to be seven in year one of The Subway Project. I knew that it would be slow going. But I'll admit, I thought I'd be farther along by now. The intention, luckily, never was to do it quickly though. The intention always has been to do it right.

In that vein, I've begun a new phase of this multi-media adventure. Each train post has been very photo heavy, but even so I've only included a fraction of the images captured on each ride. For example: on my B Train ride, I took 180 pictures. It's just not reasonable to put that in a blog post. *However.* There are whole websites dedicated to nothing but photo posting, and I've now commandeered yet another little piece of the digital landscape to dedicate to the images of the subway as seen through my eyes (ahem, camera).

So, once I get everything uploaded, you'll be able to see my whole photographic journey on each line. If you'd like to lift these images for non-profit-making purposes, honestly, feel free. All I ask is that you give a little shout out to me and the project.

Enjoy.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Your MetroCard.

This is a message to the fine people of New York City, and specifically those of you who use our mass transit system each and every day. As certainly you know by now, on June 28th our fares were raised. They didn't go up as much as they could have, and they're not destroying three of our subway lines, so we can't be too upset can we? However, here's what you need to know:

If you have already purchased a card at the old prices - say, a 30 day card for $81 dollars through TransitCheck - you MUST begin using it TODAY, JULY 6TH. After today, your card will not be honored by the subway turnstyles. Now, whether or not you will be able to trade in that card for its cash value I have yet to be able to determine.

That is all.