Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Doomsday on the Broadway Local: Day 30 - the last day.

It's kind of anti-climactic to end on a Tuesday. But then, the whole point of this mini-project was to see what life holds now for the everyday riders of the yellow lines of the NYC subway, so I suppose a Tuesday is just as good a day as any other.

There was nothing so extraordinary about today's rides. The morning Q was of average crowding and pace, just tinged with the ridiculous pain of my back. Seriously people, can someone please get me a new lumbar spine?

My evening ride home, at nearly exactly 6pm, was almost bizarrely empty. I had to stand through the tunnel, but had my pick of seats at QBP. I was somewhat suspicious that we must be behind another train, but we were moving at a nice normal clip.

But then, between 30th Ave and Astoria Blvd, we engaged in some classic Astoria shenanigans. I was riding in the very first car of the train - it is my habit to always be at one end of the train or the other, given that it's the habit of nearly everyone else to be in the middle. So I could see that indeed, we were immediately behind another train. Kudos to the driver, I must say - that usually results in a jolted and aggravating ride. So, stacked in front of us were not just that one train but of course two more up at Ditmars.

I'm not sure what happens up there - whether they can't turn them around faster or just won't, adhering strictly to the "schedule" rather than clearing a slot for the train that they can clearly see is approaching, which will be stopped dead and hold up the trains behind it if not allowed to proceed... I'm sure some personnel switchouts have to happen up there, of drivers, conductors, what have you. I will not humor any arguments of "cleaning", as I've seen the state the trains are in when they leave Ditmars. They do, occasionally, mop. It's... fascinating. But seriously, the schedule - does the MTA truly believe there's someone down at 34th Street saying to himself, oh my, I simply must make the 6:27 N! Just really not sure what the thought process is there.

So there we sat for a few minutes, hanging in the air above 31st Street between 30th Ave and Astoria Boulevard, just waiting for the three trains in front of us to rearrange themselves. These sorts of blockages are enormously frustrating when you're waiting for a city-bound train at Astoria - you can see them just sitting at Ditmars, you can see that they need to leave Ditmars so that the trains coming in from the city have somewhere to go, and yet they still won't come pick you up. It begins to feel like a conspiracy orchestrated specifically to fuck with you. On the way home, it's only truly frustrating if you're stopped for long enough that you could have walked home from the previous stop. It happens.

This is just how we do things here in Astoria. Apparently, we like it this way.

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