Tuesday, December 20, 2005

They Really, Really Meant It

The transit workers called a strike at 3 AM, about twenty minutes after I'd given up waiting for an announcement and turned off the TV to get some sleep.

Fortunately, the PATH is still running, and I left an hour earlier than usual this morning to head over to the station at Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street. At my corner was a clutch of Wall Streeters waiting for a shared cab ride downtown, chattering excitedly and warming their faces over the steam from cups of Starbucks. It's still in the "adventure" stage right now.

The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a separate, non-MTA subway line, sort of like the BART train in San Francisco. It runs from Jersey City and Hoboken, across the river through the Village and Chelsea to 33rd Street near Macy's. It's the one that New Yorkers go "Oh, it's so clean!" when they get on it. PATH was prepared for the extra ridership this morning with enough trains to cause serious congestion. They also had extra workers at the stations, showing us Metrocard zombies how to use their machines and turnstiles.

The only challenge so far has been the mile walk to my office after they ushered us off the PATH at 33rd. I joined a steady stream of people marching up Sixth Avenue. We were resplendent in our sneakers and walking shoes, except for this one woman I saw on 48th Street wearing stilettos--but I think she was pulling a Rosie Ruiz.

I ended up getting to the office fifteen minutes early. The people who have it the toughest are the ones from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. They're too close for the commuter trains from Long Island and Westchester, and too far to walk. I did see a Green Bus at one point, but the other private bus lines went out on strike yesterday. The Queens people in my little warren of cubicles have yet to arrive. But then usually, I'm arriving and settling in about this time, so they may show up yet.

I'd thought that management would be springing for bagels and donuts and other round, starch-like objects, but no. Just as well; the walking could get me in shape.

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