…and a hard place, I guess.
Started a new commute to downtown a few weeks ago and I’m still trying to get a hang of it. My body isn’t in auto-pilot yet and worst of all, I’m not that familiar with the new train schedules. Which brings me to the hard place.
The train schedule said that I could catch the 8:20 from HOB but I would have to transfer at SEC and wait 14 mins for a train to Bloomfield. Total travel time = 43 mins and arrive at 9:03. OR wait for the 8:58 direct train from HOB to Bloomfield. Total travel time = 24 mins and arrive at 9:22.
I either wait at HOB or SEC. 6 and 1/2 dozen, right? I figured it would be better to get home a little earlier so I opted for the 8:20 via SEC.
I was enjoying my commute (and even had a sec to take this elevator vid below) until I tried scanning my monthly ticket at the turnstiles. Errrr. Errrrrrrr. Errrrrrr. Nothing. Tried it again and still nothing. Luckily, Customer Service was right there.
Went up to the window and the guy told me that I had to buy a one-way ticket to NWK because I opted for the “cheaper” ticket. (I didn’t know there was a “cheaper” option!) I felt totally deflated! My monthly ticket that I pay good money for only works if I take a DIRECT train from HOB. No transfer. No nothin. Arg.
So on top of opting for the LONGER commute (because it got me home 19 mins earlier!) I had to shell out an extra $4.25!
So here’s what I learned from tonight’s commute:
• Even though a ticket to HOB is cheaper than a ticket to NYP, there’s very limited service, especially after 6:30pm.
• If you buy a ticket to HOB “via Newark”, it’s not valid for any trains “via Secaucus”
• Always opt for the direct service and shorter commute time!
The jitney I am no longer a passenger on
My friend, RJ, has a theory that Catholics have the best work ethic because of Catholic guilt. We stay at work the latest, we take on the the most work, we never ask for anything in return, others before self, etc. Yeah, we’re basically martyrs. (I think it has a lot to do with memories of kneeling on uncooked rice in front of a cross and having to pray the rosary alot, especially when my grandparents came to visit, but maybe that’s just me!). Anyway, I think guilt is the reason I stopped taking the free Glen Ridge jitney.
I live in Bloomfield, right on the border of Glen Ridge and used to take the Glen Ridge jitney home in the evenings because it would drop me off right at the corner of my street. It was great because I would just have to go just one stop further than Bloomfield but would get dropped off at my house (and nights that she’d feel like it, the driver would literally drop me off at my doorstep!).
But there were night where the jitney would be so crowded with passengers that it was SRO. And there were elderly passengers that I wanted to give my seat up for but was stuck waaaaay in the back so I couldn’t get up. So, of course, I started to feel guilty. Guilt for utilizing a “free” service from a town where I was not a resident of therefore not paying taxes in. So I stopped riding the jitney. I would rather sweat my ass off walking in 90-degree weather or freeze it in sub-zero degree weather. Yes, all because of Catholic guilt.
Here’s a picture of my westbound commute…
Starts off at Columbus Circle/59th St. station
An empty downtown 1 train
Passengers getting on at 50th St.
At my stop, watching the downtown 1 pulling away
Staircase where the Jersey-bound crowd usually bottlenecks. And it usually smells like urine.
Turnstiles to Penn
The monitor that everyone crowds around that announces the tracks that your train is departing from
Corridor to the NJTransit and LIRR trains. A homeless guy is usually sitting there playing his recorder. My favorite is when he plays the theme to the Addams Family.
Crowd waiting for their westbound trains
Boarding Track 2
Waiting for the 9:32 to fill up
Conductor waiting to pull into Blooomfield
Getting off the train at Bloomfield Station
Watching the train pull away
Me and my shadow waiting for the hubby to pick me up at 10:02pm. As always, he's late. I always tell him that I feel like the last kid to be picked up from school!
We made it from Bloomfield to the Lincoln Tunnel in 30 mins. Not bad. My husband says it’s usually 45 mins to an hour with bad traffic.
Now the question is, what am I gonna do to kill time between now and when I have to be in the office? I could go my usual route and sit at Starbucks or peruse the aisles of Duane Reade. Or I could just go to office early and actually get some work done!
They’re predicting 12-18 inches of snow tonight making for a yucky commute in tomorrow (and the NY public schools have officially called a snow day 24 hrs in advance!). But let’s hope they’re waaaaay off like they were with this past weekend’s prediction of 3-6 inches and we’ll be fine.
My friend Lynya’s recent FB status is so true:
“People who can’t be 8-inches off at their job like the NYC Weathermen were: Surgeons; Pro golf, pool, and dart players; male prostitutes (well, yes and no); ruler makers; the good people at Dominos; people who make Louisville sluggers; the list goes on…”
Well, here’s hoping for a decent commute in the morning!
WHERE do you store it while on the train?!
It’s super crappy weather here in Bloomfield so I took out the big guns: my large golf umbrella and wellies. The wellies are great, albeit a fashion statement of their own (and what outfit DOES one wear with them without making one look like a homeless person? A separate blog entry on that later…). And the golf umbrella is a commuter’s necessity. Forget the mini umbrellas. They don’t do shit. They fit perfectly in your purse or coat pocket but when you get to work, you look like a drowned rat and your pants are soaked to your lap. Not a look you want to sport when you’ve got a meeting or a fashion run-through first thing in the morning.
Now the golf umbrella…it’s large and in charge. You walk down the streets of New York and people clear the way for you (or course that’s because they don’t want to get their eyes poked out by your larger than life umbrella and as they’ve passed you they’ve also given you the one-fingered salute). BUT it does the job and keeps you bone dry! You just have to be sure the girth if your body doesn’t exceed the width of your umbrella, otherwise you might as well have gone sans umbrella in the first place (and then we’ll have to talk Jenny Craig afterwards).
Brings me back to my question: where do you keep a large golf umbrella when you’re on the train? You can’t put it on the seat between you and the guy next to you (see previous”Umbrella stand” post), you can’t lay it on the floor because it will be in someone’s way, and you can’t place it in the overhead storage rack. I tried balancing it standing up on the seat in front. Fail! It just ends up falling on the floor. So, I had no choice but to hold the wet, drippy umbrella between my knees!
Any other suggestions?!