RIP Green Bus Lines

January 8, 2006 marked the end of an era as the Green Bus Lines would no longer be. The MTA officially took over the company starting on January 9th, 2006. I had never rode or photographed GBL before so I decided to conduct a farewell shoot/first ride on their last day. The plan was to ride the Q6 to their main depot & go from there.

I got on the Q6 (243) from the 165th St Terminal & soaked up the ride until I got off at the corner of 147th Ave & Rockaway Blvd. When I arrived, the area looked so familiar to me as I had been through there tons of times in a car. I somehow must have never noticed the depot or never made it a point to stop & shoot. Whatever the case is, I made it out there okay.

I got a ton of great shots while going all around the outside of the property. I even spotted a few transit enthusiasts as they walked by me. The day was going by smoothly but that wouldn’t stay the case.

I was wrapping up my shooting when a GBL driver approached me asking if the bus that headed into the airport had looped around yet. He wanted to run to McDonald’s & take a leak. He makes it back with plenty of time to spare & in the meantime a few others are in the bus stop.

The bus finally arrives & I have now boarded (261) to head back to the 165th St Terminal. I take a seat in the priority seating up front & we are on our way. The ride was smooth until some ghetto teens get on the bus. I don’t recall how many got on but there was at least 5 who did.

I saw one girl have her metro card out. I figured she was paying for all of them. Some of the teens went straight to the back while a couple stood there watching her dip the card only once. The driver who sat next to me saw this & stopped the kids telling them to pay their fare.

The idiots didn’t seem to care & walked straight to the back. He told his female colleague to stop the bus & call the police. He took off his jacket & went to the back. He told the teens to pay their fare & they didn’t take him seriously.

He mentioned about the takeover & how the MTA wants them to enforce the fares being paid. The teens still didn’t budge so as he tried to give them one more chance to pay, he kept telling his colleague to call the police as we have fare beaters.

The teens finally accepted the fact he wasn’t playing games so they said they would pay. They had someone they knew who was outside where they just came from to get some change & pay the fare. The rest of the passengers just looked & acted like it was of no surprise these idiots were trouble makers. I guess when you live in these types of areas, it comes with the territory.

The driver finally made his way back to his seat & continued his conversation with his colleague. Meanwhile you can hear a couple of the guys saying he was lucky they didn’t punch the old man. Yawn….. fake thugs trying to act tough. I thought this was the end of the events but I was wrong.

A few stops later, some older black lady boarded. She just had to be the fucking idiot who felt the need to squeeze between the driver & myself when it was clear she wouldn’t fit. I was annoyed & wanted to smack her already. She started talking about the takeover & wouldn’t shut the fuck up!

I think the main thing that annoyed me about this know it all was how she kept bragging about her brother or uncle (forgot which) was a conductor on the D. The next sentence would be how he is a T/O. Ok lady which one is he, as he isn’t doing both of those jobs on the D at the same time moron! Also what the hell did that have to do with the takeover?

Next we have a drunk guy who looked mentally behind the 8 ball board with a drink in hand. He was told by the driver that he couldn’t bring that on the bus but he was so wasted, he just put in his metro card before she finished her sentence. The man reeked of beer which is disgusting & he had a fucked up look on his face to boot. Oh I couldn’t wait to get off this bus!

The ride is continuing & next we have a woman who doesn’t have exact change on her to board the bus. She asked if anyone had change. Miss know it all now sitting across from me (thank god!) chimed in that she didn’t.

However leaving it at that was not good enough for her as she had to keep flapping her gums like a damn yenta! She goes on & on about how one should always be prepared with the proper fare when boarding a bus. This statement is followed up with how she “NEVER” boards unprepared.

I admit I can see her first point as it is true. However life isn’t perfect & sometimes things happen & we aren’t fully prepared to board with the proper fare. Instead of leaving it at this, she went on for a good 3+ minutes about how to be prepared.

The woman seeking change turned around & told her I got your point so you can shut up now. She said she wouldn’t do so & the change seeker told her no one wants to hear you so shut the fuck up.

I was about to clap my ass off & say thank you sister for telling it like it is! The worst part of her holier than thou speech was how she threw in a reference to her family member who works on the D. Once again wtf does that have to do with what’s happening now! Thankfully the know it all got off a couple of stops later. Is this the end of the story? No it isn’t as one more event took place!

The drunk guy gets off at the corner of Sutphin Blvd & Jamaica Ave. As the bus is turning onto Jamaica Ave, I hear a loud boom. The people on the bus start to look & see if they can tell what happened. My first thought was that a car hit the bus. The change seeker notified everyone of what happened & she tried to keep a straight face while telling us.

I wondered why would she find a possible accident funny. It turns out the loud boom was of the drunk guy who got off falling straight into a garbage can & it falling into the street. The entire bus broke out in laughter as we drove away.

The ride finally came to an end & I felt like the ride back was enough to make up for never riding GBL’s any time before that!

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Why????

Why?, is quite the appropriate way for me to start this entry. The story will show why the question is asked. The other reason I’ll explain right now. The events in this story took place on December 30th, 2005 & now is when I’m writing about it!!! Today is February 4, 2006!!!

I felt like shooting that day but had no concrete plans on where I would achieve this goal. I got a late start to the day which should come as no surprise. Since I only had a few hours left of daylight, I decided I’d shoot along the N & W in Astoria. The session turned out well. I didn’t care for the pictures @ Astoria Blvd so I never put them up for display. I really didn’t try to shoot at Ditmars.

My day of shooting is now over & I’m on my way back. I noticed I missed a call while I was shooting. I checked my voice mail when I arrived at Ditmars. The call was in regards to a NYE bouncer gig I was looking into.

I’m deciding on if I’d return the call when I get home or somewhere outside while on the train. I figured the call might not be done by time the N pulls into Lexington so I got off at Queensboro Plaza to make the call. This is where “Why?” becomes a reality.

I get off the train & am at the back of the station. I return the phone call as one 7 train came in after another. During a 2 minute stretch 4 of them came in! Anyway I am on the phone & I notice this couple or at least I assume they were. The two looked fairly young, maybe around my age if not a couple of years younger or older.

The two caught my attention as the man was verbally assaulting the woman. He seemed seriously pissed off about something she did & all she did was take it without going back at him. I now got off the phone & started to hear what this was all about. How could anyone not as the guy was that loud! He seemed angry that he was made to wait & didn’t get a phone call. She let him blow off his steam but no matter how much he did, he wouldn’t stop.

A few trains had passed on each side but I did not get on any of them. The reason why I didn’t was not because I was dying for a story but because I was afraid for her safety. I started to get a strong vibe that he was going to hit her. The man kept getting louder & louder. When trains pulled in, everyone would just stare who stayed inside & others walking by would keep looking until they faded into the background.

I noticed another gentlemen stopped & didn’t get on any of the trains either as I think he got the same vibe I did. I don’t believe in getting involved in situations like this but I would have if he hit her. She started to speak up & tell him that she got his point & he could stop. She kept asking him to calm down but he wouldn’t.

He started to raise his hand & I gave him the deadliest stare as I put my bag down. He noticed it immediately & put it down immediately. I believe he knew I was prepared to walk over & get involved so he thought better of it.

The man started to get in her face more & more. I kept staring at him daring him to try something. The only contact he made was he put his hand on her face as to pay attention to him. I started walking over to him & he took his hands off.

The N train came in & he started to get on. She just sat in the bench & didn’t move. He kept telling her to lets go, stop playing games, & get on. She wouldn’t budge so he said forget it & walked in the train. I cracked a smile that she stood her ground & wasn’t going to leave with him. I had planned on going up to her & congratulating her on making the right choice.

As soon as the thought finished crossing my mind, she got up & went on the train as the doors were about to close. She just slumped into a corner seat & the doors closed. Once she sat down, he was all in her face yelling again.

I stood there in disbelief wondering why she took the verbal abuse she did as well as why would you even bother. I know looks aren’t everything by any means but in all seriousness many would say he was lucky to have her!

Why????

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Oh Yes It Is, I’ll Bet You $50

Don’t you just hate when you have a know it all who swears he or she is right? I know I do & for all of us who do, this event will annoy you like it did me. The weather on Tuesday December 27th was beautiful. The skies were clear & the temps were quite nice as far as I was concerned. I decided I would continue my shooting rampage/field practice with my now one month old camera.

The shooting area of choice for the day was Brooklyn along the N & eventually the D & M. I had just finished shooting at Ft. Hamilton Pkwy & got off at New Utrecht Ave to continue my shooting. I departed the car & put my camera bag down on the bench. One young guy asked if this was the right side to get off at 18th Ave & I said yes.

Two minutes later, another 2 guys are walking past me when one sits down on the bench. The other guy told him they had to keep going down the platform to be close to the 18th Ave exit. The first guy wasn’t getting up from the bench until he saw the train coming.

I had finished analyzing what shots I was going to attempt so I started to pull out my camera & put it around my neck. The guy who was sitting down started saying yo or something of the sorts to get my attention. I looked at him & he goes you know that is illegal right.

I correctly told him no it isn’t. He followed that up with yes it is, & I sternly tell him no it isn’t. I know the rules & have been doing it for quite awhile now. I figured he would back off & let it go. I however was dead wrong.

The guy continues on about how it is illegal & how he got a ticket for it which he changed to almost got a ticket for. I told him even more sternly that it isn’t illegal, I know the rules. He kept swearing it was.

I was about to quote him the section of the MTA rules where it isn’t illegal & how their rules apply on their property when he offered to bet me $50. He pulled out his cell phone & said I’ll call 311 & bet you $50 it is illegal.

He asked if I had $50 which I just ignored. Thankfully the train was approaching & he got up & walked down the platform with his friend. I started taking my shots & went about my business. One thing I swear is that us transit photographers should get paid for the stupidity we put up with!

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Please Don’t Forget About Me Mr. Bus Driver

Monday December 19th was just one of those days. The type of day where you have different ideas of what you have to get done, but also have a lingering dose of laziness. I wrestled back & forth most of the day & decided not to go far.

I took a 7-8 minute walk to a store on Westchester Ave to see if they had any blinds that I could use for my bedroom window. My luck wasn’t good as the store had nothing that would fit my window.

I ended up getting some Christmas things & decided to try a store in Bruckner Plaza. Unfortunately one store didn’t sell those items & the other had nothing in stock for my size. I decided to go home.

I stroll through the Bruckner Plaza parking lot to the street so I could catch the Bx36 or Bx 39 up White Plains Rd for a short ride. Before I got to the street, I had some idiot almost run me over while backing out of his parking spot.

The bus comes within 2 minutes of me getting to the bus stop. I was the only person on the bus when I boarded & we were on our way. I decide to take the bus past the Parkchester stop & go up a few blocks to use the shortcut to my building.

As I see my stop approaching about a block away, I ring the bell. We get to the light & it finally changes. I am starting to prepare to get off when I notice the bus isn’t slowing down. The bus driver passed the stop by about 10 feet. I was about to say something but before I could, he realized his mistake & stopped the bus.

I got off, picked up a quick dinner, & went home. Thankfully I made it back just in time to catch the beginning of the WWE Raw Visit To The Troops special.

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Excuse Me Mr.

Friday December 16 was a very good day for me. I finally had the chance to meet someone I’ve been very cool with for over a year. I was on my way to The Sidewalk Cafe to meet my friend. I was running late as usual. I was tempted to hop on the express bus sitting outside my building but decided to take my chances on the subway.

I get out of my building & start the sub 10 minute walk to the Parkchester station. I get there & wait for about 5-6 minutes until a downtown 6 shows up. I’m looking at the time & knew I was sticking with the plan of attack I made before I left. I would take the 6 to 125th St & hope an express is there or is about to pull in. I would then take the express to 14th St/Union Sq & hop a cab to my destination.

The train ride to 125th St was quick & painless. My luck was good as once the train pulled in & I walked across the platform, an express was pulling into the station. I get on the first car of the 5 (6906) & take a seat in the middle of the train. I’m listening to some music & everything seems fine until we get to Grand Central/42nd St.

When the train pulls into the station, a man with very kinky hair gets on through the first door with a beverage in hand. I only glanced at him & went back to my own world I was in. I’m getting into my music & all of a sudden I heard a loud burp. The burp was very loud as my headphones tend to tone out all noises around me yet I heard this loud & clear. I thought I might have been hearing things at first but I was not. The faces of a few people across from me told the story.

I thought to myself no big deal as the shock of the moment wore off. However the man continued to produce one burp after another. I took a glance at him again & could tell this guy wasn’t all there. When I took a long look at him, his face told me how disturbed he really was. I think he was enjoying burping & freaking out some of the people around him. I guess the smell or the thought of burping must have turned off two kids who were with their family. The kids walked away from his direction & down to the other side of the train car.

My opinion is when you see someone who looks crazy or is acting crazy, stay as calm as possible & ignore them. I will never understand why some feel the need to make comments loud & sometimes directly to the person. I always notice the people who do this are so much smaller too! I guess they have a death wish.

The ride between 42nd St/Grand Central & 14th St/Union Sq couldn’t go by fast enough. I wanted to get off the train to get away from this nut & I just wanted to get to the Sidewalk. As luck would have it, the man got off at my stop. I fixed my bag & went up the stairs. I don’t know where he ended up going but thankfully I didn’t have to see or hear him again!

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