Wow, He Knows The Rules!

It was a nice & sunny day on April 3, 2007. I had spent the night with one of my best friend’s Tricia in our friend Rochelle’s apartment. I could have went home afterwards but decided I should try & see my other best friend Dawn. So I gave her a call & we agreed to meet at her place after I was done in Astoria.

We hung out for a few hours & then it was time for us to head out. She was going to the gym for a workout. I was going to do a little shopping in Manhattan before I headed home. I went with Dawn to the 111 St. station & waited for her Flushing bound 7 to come. While we were waiting, I took out my camera to take some pictures.

The train started to approach the station so we said our goodbyes. I decided to stay a little while longer to get a few more shots. I made my way to the back of the station & shot away as a few trains came in each direction. While I was waiting for a particular shot opportunity, I felt like someone was watching & starting to approach me. I have a knack for always knowing where everyone is around me even if I never looked or am looking in their direction.

When I initially felt like I was being watched, my first instinct was a cop. I was a tad bit surprised by this considering I have never been approached by one while shooting. As I had my back turned, someone said hello while approaching me. My senses were spot on as when I started to peak & see who it was, it turned out to be a cop.

My first thought was just great, I’m not really in the mood for this today. I just want to do a hit & run & go about my business. I’m also thinking why is it I bother shooting in Queens. Every single time I have had a run in with someone, it has been in Queens!

However to my surprise & his credit, this was the friendliest run in I have ever had. The cop asked what I was doing. I told him I was partaking in my hobby of transit photography. He asked if I was doing it for a class project. I know the question seems odd but I know why he asked. I carry my camera in a backpack specifically made for SLR’s. So it looks like a regular backpack & it was during the school year. Anyhow I told him no, I am doing it for my website. I invited him to check it out sometime although I warned it was under reconstruction.

The biggest shock to me was the fact I did not even have to bring up the legality of my activity. He mentioned that he only came up to me because someone approached him. He said he spotted me shooting prior but let me be since he knew that taking photos in the subway system is legal. He assumed I did not pose a threat.

I took the time to thank him for the professionalism he showed & for knowing the rules. I joked with him that I wish more police officers & transit workers were like him in regards to the rules. He nodded in agreement as I’m sure he has heard his share of stories.

I can’t remember his name off the top of my head since this happened 4 months ago. However I will always remember the non encounter I had. I just want to thank him & wish him the best. If I ever see him again, I’ll make sure to hand him an E.O.T. business card.

For those interested in the photos from 111th St. they can be seen here.

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School Bus Idiocy

The song & story are the same. I am months behind on blog entries! I do have a good excuse though, a complete reconstruction of the site! Honestly it was only supposed to be a week tops but I became busy with other things. Anyhow the site is back up, so you can party it up in celebration! Anyhow let me get back to “School Bus Idiocy”.

As you might recall, earlier this year many school bus routes were axed or combined. This led to mass confusion & complaints from parents throughout the city. Around the time of this story being big news, I read a very disturbing article about a 7 year old kid named Joseph Merizalde who was affected by the changes.

The Daily News featured a disturbing story on page 7 of their January 30, 2007 edition. The article was about Joseph & how he went from riding a school bus since kindergarten to having to take three city buses to reach his school!

His new school route consisted of:

  • Board the Bx26 or Bx28 at Baychester Ave. & take it to Bartow Ave.
  • Cross a six lane road for a transfer to the Bx12 which he would take to Pelham Bay Park
  • Transfer at Pelham Bay Park to a Bx14 which would take him to his school on Country Club Rd.
  • According to the article, two of the bus stops had no bus shelter in place. This was magnified even more considering these changes took place in the middle of winter!

    His mother was quoted in the article saying

    There’s no way I would ever put a 7 year old child in that kind of danger.

    The kicker in all of this is the reason he was taken off of his school bus. The reason was because he lives ever so slightly more than a 1/4 mile from the school bus stop.

    So let me get this straight, for a little over 1/4 of a mile, you are forcing a 7 year old to ride 3 school buses on his own to get his deserved education? Let me say this is so asinine, I could rant about it all day!

    I happen to agree with his mother 100% in not putting her son in that kind of danger. No 7 year old or kid for that matter should be riding public transportation on their own! I know the exact intersection of that first transfer & it is very dangerous. I am an adult & I have had trouble crossing that intersection. If I did, you can not like the odds of a 7 year old dealing with it!

    I am curious to find out if a follow up exists to Joseph Merizalde’s story. I’m hoping he was able to go back to his old school bus route.

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    Typical Lawsuit Stupidity

    Yes, I am way behind on blogging. What else is new from yours truly? I said 2007 would be different & will be so give me some time! Anyhow let me start catching up by commenting on the typical lawsuit stupidity that is coming to a courthouse near you.

    The parents of the 13 year old who got killed by a LIRR train while trespassing are planning to sue the MTA, LIRR, & the city of New York for the death of their son. Here is a New York Daily News article about it:

    The grieving family of a 13-year-old Queens boy struck and killed by a commuter train blamed the Long Island Rail Road yesterday for his death, saying it should have done more to block access to the tracks.

    Ari Kraft was spray-painting graffiti on signal equipment with friends at 5:40 p.m. Friday when he dashed across LIRR tracks near his Rego Park home Friday night, sources said.

    He narrowly beat an oncoming train on the third of four tracks he had to cross, but that train blocked his view of another train approaching on the fourth track, sources said.

    “My son was the most wonderful kid in the world,” his father, Roger Kraft, a computer programmer, said yesterday. “I just want to be left alone to mourn my son.”

    Family friend and attorney Daniella Levi said the family plans to sue the MTA, the LIRR and New York City once it finishes sitting shiva for the boy.

    “It’s a terrible loss and tragedy, a loss that should have been prevented had the railroad safeguarded the track,” Levi said. “He had a lot of dreams and hopes, like any other teenager. We want to make sure that no other family goes through something like this.”

    LIRR spokeswoman Susan McGowan said the railroad was still investigating how Ari got onto the tracks. She said the railroad tries to block access to its 700 miles of tracks.

    Ari was an eighth-grader at Solomon Schechter School of Queens, where his Israeli-born mother, Yaffa Simantov, works as a secretary.

    “It’s the biggest tragedy there could be,” Ari’s neighbor Zima Fridman, 42, said of the boy’s death. “I couldn’t sleep at all last night.”

    Ari hoped to attend The Bronx High School of Science or Stuyvesant High School this fall. He used the graffiti tag “Kos” and may have taken pictures of his work just before he died, sources said. MTA police recovered a cell phone at the scene and were checking if it had pictures by Ari or his friends.

    Friends said Ari was heading home for Sabbath dinner when he was killed. MTA Police Chief Kevin McConville said trains typically run slightly slower than the 40 mph speed limit on that stretch of track.

    “Our heart goes out to the family, and to the engineer, who’s very upset by this,” he said. “The engineer did everything in his power to try to avoid it.”

    Well where do I begin? Oh yes, fuck you assholes. The prior comment goes to the money hungry Jews who are looking to cash in on their son’s illegal actions. The justice system is great when idiots like these two can go & waste the court’s time with a ridiculous lawsuit.

    I know their argument will be that the LIRR failed to protect their property. My issue is about basic common sense. No one in their right mind goes near train tracks to walk along/on, horse around, or destroy them. Their son decides to show no common sense & does all 3 & it is the LIRR’s fault he died?

    The LIRR shouldn’t have to put a fence on every square inch of track to cover up common sense. I’m hoping any judge or jury will see through this nonsense & reward a lack of common sense with exactly 0 dollars!

    The world is quite sad when it is routine for people to try & achieve financial gain from the death of loved ones.

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    Tragic Death Of A 13 Year Old Boy

    Tragedy struck during tonight’s rush hour as a 13 year old boy was killed after being run over by a LIRR train. Here is the story courtesy of NY1:

    Authorities say a 13-year-old boy was struck and killed by a Long Island Rail Road train Friday evening in Queens.
    The accident happened just west of the Forest Hills station. The eastbound train had left Penn Station shortly after 5 p.m.

    Sources say the boy may have been spray painting graffiti when he was struck. He was pronounced dead at Long Island Jewish Hospital.

    As a result of the accident, Friday’s evening commute was delayed along the Long Island Rail Road. LIRR service into Penn Station was suspended, and there were outbound delays of up to two hours.

    Normal service was restored by Friday night.

    Here is a longer article about it courtesy of 1010 Wins

    A boy was struck and killed by a Long Island Rail Road train headed to Huntington during the evening rush hour Friday, officials said.

    Friends of the boy’s family told 1010 WINS the 13-year-old was with a group of friends graffiti-ing the area, which is in the vicinity of Rego Park, Queens.

    The victim was a student at Russell Sage Junior High School and at a Hebrew school in Forest Hills, and lived with his single mother who moved to Queens from Israel before her son was born.

    The incident occurred around 5:40 p.m. near 67th Road and Austin Street. The boy was in the company of a friend, who notified the police, said Detective Kevin Czartoryski, a police spokesman. Police declined to notify the boy pending discussion wtih relatives.

    A friend of the family told 1010 WINS the boy’s mother is still in shock, partly because no one knew or can understand what he was doing at the train tracks at sundown. 1010 WINS’ Steve Kastenbaum reported the tracks themselves are extremely inaccessible to pedestrians.

    The boy’s body has been removed from the tracks.

    The train, which carries about 1,000 people at that hour, was between the Woodside and Forest Hills stations in Queens, according to Susan McGowan, an LIRR spokeswoman.

    Service was suspended for hours in both directions between Jamaica, Queens, and Pennsylvania Station in New York City. Limited eastbound service was restored on the eastbound trains two hours after the accident, and full service was restored with heavy delays by about 9 p.m., LIRR officials said.

    The 5:17 p.m. train was scheduled to arrive Huntington at 6:21 p.m. but was delayed at the scene several hours as investigators worked.

    The incident caused backups at Penn Station. McGowan said New York City Transit honored LIRR tickets to help ease the flow.

    I hope to not offend my readers but I am an honest man. I do not believe in sugarcoating things whether good or bad. My question is what in the hell was this kid thinking? What would posses you to be anywhere near or on train tracks?

    My heart goes out to his family. I find it a shame that they lost a loved one because of blatant stupidity. I know it might seem harsh but the truth must be told! People stop getting near or on train tracks. The tracks are so dangerous & all the deaths that occur haven’t woken people up! Kids, adults, animals, hell even monsters if they exist, stay away from the tracks!

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    It Was Good To Be Back!

    Today was the first day I went on the subway in 2007. I ended the last few days of 2006 staying within my neighborhood. I felt like I haven’t been on the subway in ages! The walk to the station was a quick one & the wait for the train was even quicker.

    I had to run a few errands today including going to the bank & post office. I boarded the 6 train to 59th St & took in the feeling of being back where I love to be! I have to admit though I was taken back by the amount of people I saw getting once we hit Manhattan. I don’t know why I was surprised though considering it was after 3PM!

    I guess being away from the subway made me forget how crazy the Lexington Avenue lines are. I also think the last few rides of 2006 being lighter than usual made me forget. Either way the ride to & from Manhattan was comfortable & painless. Lets hope many of my commutes this year are the same!

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