I’ve been a LIRR commuter for 8 years now, coming out of Port Jefferson to Hunters Point Avenue in a daily grinding four and a half hour routine that has become second nature. And it’s expensive! My monthly pass with two subway rides a day costs $432 a month. So when the MTA announced that they were giving a 25% fare reduction on the LIRR and a free transfer to the subway if you chose either Atlantic Terminal or Hunters Point Avenue during the AM rush, I jumped right aboard. It meant an $80 savings on my monthly LIRR ticket and a $55 savings on my subway fare. Now here is the beauty of all of this…. I use Hunters Point Avenue anyway! My only inconvenience, more people on my train. But for such a social animal as myself, even that has a silver lining! I’ve been meeting some of the coolest people since they are forced to sit next to me on the crowded train. I engage them by asking, “Well how is your commute?” I think my enthusiasm has been encouraging. Some of us are train buffs who are excited that the LIRR leased rolling stock from Maryland’s MARC, which breaks up the generally monotony of riding the double deckers. They totally got that right!
Before this Penn Station summer construction initiative, those of us who used Hunters Point had to dodge speeding cars and impatient drivers to cross 49th Avenue to get to the subway. I always felt it was just a matter of time before I got hit by a truck! Now, during this so-called “Summer of Hell,” there are cops, lots of cops serving as crossing guards,, making sure the multitude of new commuters don’t get mowed down while walking with their faces in their mobile devices. There is a cadre of orange-jacketed MTA greeters wishing us a “nice day” and “not to rush!” and “use every stairway!” I get a tickle out of every one of them I pass, knowing how much I will miss them when the MTA finishes work at Penn Station and they go back to not giving a damn about us Hunters Point commuters.
I think I must be the only guy in New York just loving this “Summer of Hell!” Tomorrow, I think I will take the free ferry across the East River. It will be like a little vacation cruise before hitting the pavement to go to work. Naw, this is no “Summer of Hell” it’s a “Summer just SWELL!”
Engine number 411 leading a consist of MARC rail cars leased from Maryland on the Port Jefferson line.