Quicklink: The L Train Rat

Those of you who are looking for a little lite entertainment and happen to be on Twitter may want to give this, the musings of a L train rat,  a look-see. If you do, here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

i get so self conscious when everyone watches me look for food on the track

every once in awhile people at the 1st ave stop smell like delicious fried dough and i just want to kill myself

people seem to hate me 100x more when i’m rained on.

too fat to fit inside bottle 🙁 should probably go on a run to 8th ave.

Special thanks go out to Lisacat for bringing this to my attention. Check it out!

Miss Heather

Crosstown Local Photo Du Jour: Spellbound

March 17, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11206, 11211, Crosstown Local, Subway, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

This moment of excellence has been brought to you courtesy of the Queens-bound platform of the G train at Broadway. Given that the Metropolitan Transit Authority cannot master simple bookkeeping, I suppose it should come as no surprise they cannot spell either.*

Miss Heather

*To clarify/reiterate; this tile work is new. Or is it? Apparently this is a source of considerable debate.  Richard writes:

Forgotten-NY.com claims this has been there since 1937: But there’s some debate about it:

http://gothamist.com/2009/02/09/subway_typo.php

Apparently the MTA made a makeshift taped-on correction that has disappeared.

Only the best for the Crosstown Local.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Nothing’s Sacred

March 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Subway, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Inasmuch as I hate to admit it there is a great deal of veracity to be found in the above cynic’s comment. Everything is for sale in our fair city. Whether one wants to sell or not is immaterial. It’s simply of matter of money, political influence and legal chicanery. We’re the easiest city money can buy.

There are many— religious types mostly— who consider New York City to be the whore of Babylon. They may very well be correct. Whores are capitalists in the purest sense. They do it for the money. New Yorkers do it for the money. Our god is the dollar and time is money.

What has come to pass at Atlantic Yards has reduced our fair city from being a whore to a slut. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free— or better yet at tax payer’s expense?

Miss Heather

P.S.: This post goes out to Marty Markowitz who said and I quote (from Curbed’s gritty firsthand account of this farce):

Sorry about the noise outside. Obviously disgruntled Knicks fans.

Tool.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Lost & Found In Translation

March 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: Manhattan, New York City, Subway 

From Mott Street, Manhattan


This (which hails from the Canal Street stop of the 6 train in Manhattan) is bona fide proof that New York City is still an international city— if not in subway service, at least in anger directed at lack of said subway service. Only the MTA could make this kind of racial/ethnic unity (albeit while employing profanity) happen. Mazel tov!

The use of sarcastic quotation marks is a nice touch.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Can anyone give me a translation of the Chinese annotation on this flier? My curiousity is driving me crazy.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Crosstown Local Selections

Rock out with style!

From 21st Street in Long Island City and Greenpoint Avenue in the Garden Spot of the Universe.

Miss Heather

Subway Photo Du Jour: Cell Phone Lover’s Special

February 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: Culture War, New York City, Subway 

From the Brooklyn-bound platform of the N/R at Prince Street.

Miss Heather

Nifty Consumer Item of The Day: Subway (He)art

February 13, 2010 ·
Filed under: New York City, Subway 

When I saw this delightfully frivolous and fun item— a heart-shaped map of the New York City subway system— on the Subway Art Blog* yesterday it was love at first sight. So you can imagine my disappointment when I learned it is not available in the United States… yet. Today I was informed by the owner of Greenpoint’s very own Word Books (who saw them at the recent gift show at the Javits Center) that she will be selling them once they get a U.S. distributor. I can hardly wait!

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: Zero Per Zero via Subway Art Blog

*Which is really nifty. I highly recommend you check it out.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Mystery Train

Yesterday I finally met up with a very nice reporter. She is working on article which will hit the stands next year (January 2010). Among the numerous questions she asked me while taking in the marvel that is a very packed junk shop was one regarding what I like to collect. This was a very prescient question given that anyone I’ve ever known who worked at a thrift store is invariably a “collector” of one thing or another. I am no exception— but do try to keep my acquisitions as portable (and cat proof) as possible. I stick to photographs nowadays. I have acquired quite a collection over the years. Many are of a highly “adult” nature and as such are unsuitable to publish here. But some are. Like the following negative that I managed to finesse into a positive last night.

14 Street LocalNYS

14th Street Local with two proud employees. I’m guessing this is the L train— but who knows? I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to render a verdict. To this end I will leave with a slide show of my mystery train and mystery men. Enjoy!

You can see the above images in larger format by clicking here.

Miss Heather

P.S.: In my research I stumbled upon this map of featuring the pride of the New York City subway system: the Crosstown Local. If you thought service was limited now, you should see it what it was like in 1939!

Britney Epiphany: Oops, I did it Again (and again)

It’s been rainy and I have been combing my wee wittle brain for non-dogshit related infotainment… Enjoy. Or not. Frankly, I do not give a shit either way.

Britney Spears has gotten a lot of flack of late and it is starting to get me a bit angry.

I do not like someone I consider brethren being drug through the mud for ‘being real’. Wearing rollers, eccentric apparel, and/or toting a child in one hand with a beverage in the other (preferably while wearing high heels) in public is, by Greenpoint standards, *quite* real. It’s normal, actually— and that’s why I live here.

If you’re listening out there Britney, you and your loved ones can visit me at Half-ass Junction anytime. I will not judge you. I got laughed at once while submitting art to the small works competition hosted by NYU (in Manhattan) while wearing hair rollers. My art speaks for itself and my person was getting prepped for other things, thank you.

The fact that the person taking submissions and I got into a rather heated debate over whether or not the electrical cord attached to my device (constructed of an old vibrator, pot scrubber and night light) factored into the overall dimensions (12″ or less in ANY direction) is probably inconsequential, but the outcome was funny as hell. A curator was summoned to settle the argument and with Solomon-like wisdom she rendered her verdict: well, if it was a toaster, you would need the cord in order to plug it into an electrical socket. None of my works made it into that juried show, but victory was mine. I won the battle, but lost the war.

When did I get my affection for Britney, the rest of you ask?

My answer is very simple: when that Pepsi ad with her and Bob Dole aired. Eons ago.

That ad made me laugh my ass off because:

  1. (I suspect I am speaking for the general public here) the fact that Bob Dole rectified his ‘droopy hose’ problem (via Viagra or Pepsi) is decidedly not something I wanted or needed to know. No doubt it made Elizabeth work harder to establish her political career (if you know what I mean).
  2. I am very fond of the caveats for such “E.D.” drugs: especially priapism (an erection lasting more than 4 hours) and blurred vision. I have giggled myself silly many times at the thought of Bob Dole trying to dial 911 (with blurred vision) because he’s gotten up and can’t get down. Maybe they should make panic buttons for this sort of eventuality; with baby boomers retiring, the demand is only going to go up (no pun intended).
  3. Slobs knocking wood to the visage of an unattainable woman is par for the course. I know this because I am female, have a pulse, live in New York City and use the subway.

Apparently, the New York Times and MTA have recently caught on the aforementioned point as well.

Speaking for myself, I have had three encounters with subway masturbators. None of them ventured to touch me and for that they can thank their good luck. I take my personal space very seriously; as Jim Morrison would say, “no one gets out of (t)here alive”.

  1. After visiting friends in Greenpoint (back when I lived in *gasp* Kensington), I took the G down to Lorimer St. to catch the L to go to Manhattan. As I was putting on lipstick, I see a man a yard away from acting strangely. Is he scrounging around for change in his pocket? No. He is actively flogging his kielbasa. I caught him in flagrante delicto. Great.In a subway car of thirteen people, men all, I was the Judas Iscariot (replete with albeit FAKE, red hair); I got up and pointed out to every MTA patron in the car that this guy was tossing off. Most ignored me, but a couple of guys chose to help. I am eternally grateful to those men. As politically-incorrect as the following may sound, it is the simple truth: a Polish man jerking off on the G train will invariably find a middle-aged black man laughing at him (and calling him a “Sick Fucker”) a buzz-kill. Joe Tossoffski bolted at the Nassau Avenue stop and my life reassumed its relative normalcy.
  2. Riding the G, Queens-bound: I see this paunchy, middle-aged Hispanic dude staring at me and a couple of teen-aged chicks. He is playing ‘pocket pool’. I tell the girls this and they laugh at him. Nothing happened.
  3. (Strike Three): May 2002. I was coming home from a date in Astoria, Queens. I was riding the Manhattan-bound N train in order to transfer to the 7 and (eventually) catch the G to the mighty Greenpoint. It didn’t exactly work out that way.

When the N train hit 36th Ave., (once again) I see a man acting strangely. Once again, I have managed to cross paths with a man jerking off on public transportation. And (once again), I make the patrons of said car aware of it. Three men (whom I like to call the magi) acknowledged this: one gets squeamish, the second laughs at him, and the third is stone-faced, but watching. 39th Ave. goes by. Nothing.

Queensboro Plaza: the stone-faced man makes sure I exit the train. I did. The giggler and squeamer stay. The conductor of the train shouted something at me— to this day I have no recollection of what he said— but I shouted back “There’s a guy jerking-off on THAT train!”

Conductor: which car?

Me: THAT ONE (while pointing to the second or third car from the front— my memory fails me at the moment).

The N train pulled out (towards Manhattan). Two or three cars, just enough. Then it came to a screeching halt. Sirens go off. Very, VERY, scary. Over a dozen policemen (plainclothes and otherwise) storm the car. I hid behind a column.

They apprehend the man in question and an officer locates me. He tells me I have to file a report at HQ. I tell the officer that I am unemployed and have plenty of free time.

The officers interviewed the masturbator (who claimed he was scratching himself) and then they interviewed me (the man in question was, most decidely, NOT scratching himself). They pat down the perp and he has drugs on him. I did give them probable cause, after all.
So it goes…

The train (finally) pulled away 20 minutes later. As it did, I saw the ‘giggler’. He was jumping up and down, waving, and giving me a “thumbs up”. It took all my restraint to keep from waving back.

I spent the entire evening (until 4:00 a.m.) at the Queens hub of Transit Police HQ. Briarwood, Queens to be exact. And what followed was the most entertaining evening I have ever experienced. Period. The fact that it was financed by tax dollars (my own included) made it only that much sweeter. When you grouse about paying taxes, remember the following…

I was driven by police car from Queensboro Plaza to Briarwood by the head honcho himself. In transit he tried to deduce if I was drunk or otherwise acquainted with the perp: no on both counts. Sure, I had a couple of beers— two to be exact— but that was over 4 hours ago. I had comsumed four cups of Greek coffee in the meantime. The officer grilled me as to what “Greek coffee” was. I told him it was basically the same thing as Turkish coffee (high octane coffee, no alcohol), but don’t tell that to a Greek person— they’ll find that offensive. He asked me why and I gave him middle-eastern history primer.

By the time we got to Briarwood, he knew I was not drunk: a weird chick wired on caffeine with a command of history to be sure, but not a drunk one. A person who is highly unlikely to run in the same social set as the dude they apprehended.

They made sure the perp did not see my face; they put him in lock-down before I even entered the station. I got to hang out in their office space while they negotiated the paperwork.

Clearly these men are not acclimatized to dealing with women who are not perps, e.g., some (hot-ish, heavy on the “ish”) broad hanging around in their quarters who is a plaintiff. Once they got used to me being there they opened up— and we had a shitload of fun.

They asked me why was there and I told them. We laughed.

They asked me who was on the back of my jacket. Mao Tse Tung, I answered. A couple of them knew who he was, but most were puzzled.

I asked them whose cube had the picture of Clint Eastwood in it, but they wouldn’t tell me. Oh well…

If any of you out there are wondering what transit police deal with (and vice versa), I’ll tell you:

  • First and foremost, you should be mindful that anything that goes down on rapid transit falls under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority, a peculiar inter-state entity. And copious paperwork will follow.
  • Secondly, a lot of very weird shit goes down on the subway system. I learned this firsthand, as some dude pre-empted my complaint on their docket by trying to set a token booth on fire with a Mr. Bubble bottle filled with lighter fluid. The officers also told me some of their work stories, and if there is one moral to parsed from the whole lot of them it this: do not fall asleep on the subway. EVER.

    If you’re lucky, you’ll be pick-pocketed. If you are unlucky (and male) you may wake up in the drunk tank and have an officer tell you that a man was administering fellatio to your person while you were passed out. Whole bunch of no fun.

By 4:00 a.m. the police gave up on interpreting the new paperwork from the D.A.’s office and I was driven home. I got home around 5:00 a.m. and was so hopped-up on (free) Diet Pepsi I could not go to bed. I finally fell asleep around 7:00 a.m.

I was awakened at 8:30 a.m. by the Queens County D.A.’s office. I answered her questions. Shortly thereafter, an officer came by my apartment to have me sign a statement. I read it and signed it. The arresting officer would testify on my behalf. Good. I go back to bed. About 30 minutes later my mother calls and berates me for sleeping and not looking for work.

No good deed goes unpunished. But then again, I think I earned my severance pay that day (and then some), thank you.

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