Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Walking in Space

Two of the Queens people got to the office at about ten, having carpooled it in with two other Queens people and then parking at exorbitant rates. Most of the other Manhattan people had walked distances similar to mine.

Two of the Jersey people said I could use my Metrocard on the PATH. They swore that they'd used one successfully just the other day.

When I left the office at five, it was as cold and dark outside as the moon. I pulled up the fake fur-trimmed hood on my down coat and I felt like a Space Eskimo. In my muffled hood universe I could hear stray lines of conversation.

"Remember the last transit strike?"

Then an inaudible reply, followed by:


"Yeah, 1979."

Somebody else was saying, "Are they even talking?"

"I saw CNN before when I went out on a break. Pataki scolded the strikers. Fat lot of good that's gonna do. He's on his last legs and he's hootin' and hollerin'."

Maybe tomorrow, I'll make some new friends.

Sixth Avenue was amazingly clear of major traffic snarls. This was, no doubt, due to the "Minimum four people per car" rule, and the fact that a lot of the side streets were closed off. Fifth and Madison are "Emergency Vehicles Only."

The Manhattan Mall was doing a livelier business than usual, because it's at the 33rd Street station of the PATH and a block away from Penn Station, two of the few contingency means of exit from Midtown right now. Guys from Modell's Sporting Goods were passing out flyers. "Strike Special! Strike Special!" I checked out a new cheap, trendy store called Charlotte Rousse and then went downstairs to the PATH platform, where extra personnel were shuttling hordes of displaced persons.

I put my Metrocard into the turnstile, and a buzzer went off and a red light went on. "Invalid!" said the light. Gee, thanks, Jersey people. A PATH guy hurried over.

"Pay per ride?"


"Is it pay per ride or unlimited?"

"Unlimited." A monthly unlimited with half a month left on it.

"Won't accept unlimited. Just pay per ride."

"Oh. Well, maybe they'll give me a refund."

"Haw haw haw! I don't know about that."

"Of course you don't. You're PATH." I hate it when people go haw haw haw.

A clean train dropped me off gently in the Village. There was a machine where you could buy PATH multiple-ride cards which reduced the price per ride, and this creates a new dilemma: Do you invest in a PATH card, when this may be over soon? New York is a bigtime union town, but this particular strike has very few fans. Combine that with the huge fines the TWU is amassing for striking illegally, the fact that it's less than a week till Christmas, and the face-shearing icy chill, and I have a feeling this particular strike may end by the end of the week.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

nyc bloggers map