September 1st was my first day of riding the subway to work. Up until now, the Long Island Railroad was the most efficient way to get to my office, time wise. It only took seventeen minutes or so on the Long Island Railroad and I was a short walk away from the office. In just a few short days that will be changing as my office is relocating to Brooklyn — the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, specifically. There is no direct Long Island Railroad (LIRR) route there, and taking the LIRR and transferring to a subway would save about ten minutes and cost one hundred dollars more. This is, of course, unacceptable with baby Davidescu on the way. With that in mind, I could not help but notice many differences between the two train lines.

People tend to nap more often on the LIRR. This could be because there are some people who are on the train for an hour and a half each way. Free newspapers such as AM New York and the King James bible are the preferred reading material on the subway — not for pay newspapers and best-selling novels as seems to be the case on the LIRR. There is a somewhat biased poll that was done by the New York Times that concluded that more people read the New York Times than any other newspaper — but I’m sure an AM New York poll on the subject would show decidedly different results.

Finding a seat on the LIRR was usually not an issue. On the subway there are usually so many people traveling in the morning that announcements are made warning that overcrowding is no excuse to grope your fellow passengers. Thanks for the heads up on that.

I have not heard any announcements saying you should offer your seat to people who are more likely to need to be sitting down, such as people who use a cane to walk, or pregnant women in the later stages of pregnancy — nor do I regularly see seats being offered. It’s nice when it does happen, though. Well, there may be such announcements — I just might be misunderstanding them:

Subway announcements about delayed or rerouted trains are garbled, incorrect or nonexistent more than half the time – and even that’s a big improvement.

A Straphangers Campaign survey out Monday found that 55% of the time when train service is disrupted, no announcements are made or they contain inaccurate information or are unintelligible.

The announcements do warn us not to give money to panhandlers, and that organizations exit to help them. This certainly didn’t stop a gentleman from announcing recently that he needed one hundred and twenty-two dollars for a week at the YMCA, and that this was cheaper than paying them by the day. He told us that anything would help, including food. When I offered the gentleman food, however, he refused it despite it being a fairly pricey dish. (I had ordered Chinese food the prior evening, and they messed up my order by sending Beef Lo Mein instead of Vegetable Lo Mein.)

“That food has your name on it,” he said. Negative. The food that had my name on it contained vegetables and no beef whatsoever. I do not partake of animal flesh and therefore the food could not have had my name on it.

Finally, a big positive aspect of taking the subway is that when I get off the train at Kew Gardens, there is a fruit and vegetable stand right in my face. It says, “Eat better!” Thank you. I think I will.

7 Comments

    1. Tomorrow is our last day in Manhattan. I had to start taking the subway because it didn’t make sense to pay for the LIRR’s $145 monthly fare for 3 weeks of service. This morning, it took an hour and a half to get from Kew Gardens to Penn Station whereas normally it takes 45 minutes. The train stopped 10 times with an average of a 3-5 minute wait time.

      1. I know this is an unpopular thought — as it may take future unsweetened soy milk from the mouth of your unborn child — but I would spend the money on the LIRR. That is a reliable train. The subway is a mess and oftentimes breaks down. Stay with what you know. The extra $100 a month will be worth it to your peace of mind and you should be able to write off the expense at the end of the year on your taxes as a work expenditure.

        1. The only problem with that, David, is that I would still have to rely on the subway to get there. My route would be :

          LIRR -> Penn Station
          A Train > High Street / Brooklyn Bridge
          Walk 15 minutes.

          Tardiness is OK if it is because of train delays.

          1. Gordon —

            Yes, but you’d be on a more reliable subway line on the A train to Brooklyn. The LIRR pass is worth that monthly nut to avoid the Queens lines.

            The Queens lines are notorious for being slow and awful. Especially in the rain and the snow. You’ve been warned!

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