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Monday, July 17, 2017

Rant #1,939: Last Train to Nowhere

Good morning. I hope you had a nice weekend.

Now we all go back to work, and for rail commuters in Manhattan, it has become work just to get to work.

Due to constant repairs, and breakdowns, getting to work if you live on Long Island and need to get into Manhattan has become a nightmare, such a nightmare that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared this period "The Summer of Hell" for Long Island Railroad commuter, and all rail commuters whose journey ends at Penn Station.

The New York/New Jersey rail system is woefully out of date, more like a 1950s rail environment than one supporting current necessities.

Track improvements are being made, but the system constantly breaks down, leaving rail riders at the true beck and call of the various rail lines' situations on a daily basis.

Trains have been cancelled, rerouted and redrawn, and it has led to headaches for rail riders that are beyond the pale.

But these riders simply have to grin and bare it, because that is the way it is for now.

They have been given other avenues to get into Manhattan. Several trains have been rerouted into Brooklyn, from which they can take the overcrowded subway to Manhattan.

Others have been provided ferries, from which a select few can take the waterways to get into Manhattan.

Still others simply throw up their hands and drive in, which further clogs the current infrastructure, which is also woefully in need of upgrade.

Politicians point the blame at several entities, but talk is cheap, and the people who ride the rails to work are in the middle, not knowing which way to turn.

This story has become the major, overriding story in the New York Metropolitan area this summer, and there seems no end to it.

I worked in Manhattan for a few years, and let me tell you, even though the allure of Manhattan is great--and it is often where the jobs are, as opposed to the suburbs--I don't miss the daily commute on bit.

When you are a rail commuter, you are literally on a schedule each and every day, and if you cannot meet that schedule, you are sunk.

Your eight hour workday becomes really a 10 or 12-hour workday, because like I said earlier, you are at the beck and call of the railroad.

Miss a train, or have a train canceled, and that delay can cost you hours in time.

So the fallacy that one gets paid more if they work in Manhattan is just that, because you have to factor in your travel time to the entire equation.

Once you break that down, you find that you are actually making less by working in Manhattan than working in the suburbs.

But again, the jobs are in Manhattan, so you just have to grin and bare it.

I hated working in Manhattan. The extra time it took me to get into work was a major factor in my hate for working there, and my job was not a very good one, so all told, it was a very trying experience to work there.

And personally, I got my own epiphany when I was in a Long Island Railroad derailment in 1980 or 1981, I forget which year.

All I remember is that I was in the back car, the train came off the track at the Jamaica hub station, and my life flashed before my eyes in a brief instant.

Someone had the gumption to be able to reach the emergency button, and the train stopped right before we were going over the side into the street.

That incident was my word from God that I had to get out of Manhattan, and that is what I did.

That is one work decision that I never have regretted.

I worked again in Manhattan for a brief period after that, but due to several circumstance--including my employer providing me with bounced checks--that situation did not last long, and I have not worked in Manhattan since the mid 1990s.

And alas, during my current job hunt, at least two-thirds of the jobs I have applied for are in Manhattan, so I am resolved to the fact that that is where the jobs are, whether I like it or not.

While my current work situation is poor--our company's main salesman just left for greener pastures, leaving us no one to sell ad space on a full-time basis--at least I am working relatively close to home.

And that is the only benefit that I can see at my current job, that I rely on the roads--and not the rails--to get me there and back.

I feel sorry for those who do not have that option; been there, done that, and happy that at least in that regard, I don't have that headache.

I have other headaches, and one less is appreciated.


  1. I lucked out like crazy Larry. I lived 1 1/2 miles from work (IBM).

    1. I live about 12 miles from work. It is the only good thing about where I am employed