The Sopranos & Model Trains

I was browsing local news sites & found an interesting piece on the model trains used in The Sopranos. I have to admit I never got into the show so I had no idea trains played a roll in the show. The only thing I watched was the series finale’s ending as for some reason it caught my eye. The model train that fictional mobster Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri bled to death on after being shot in the next-to-last episode will be on display in New Jersey. Here is an article about it courtesy of 1010 Wins:

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — The model trains that fictional mobster Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri bled to death on after being shot in the next-to-last episode of HBO’s “The Sopranos” have found a temporary home here in a former silk mill.

Model train fanatics who saw the episode had speculated on Web blogs about where the train set had ended up: Some thought France, where “Sopranos” creator David Chase went before the season finale aired; others joked it was in the Meadowlands, a legendary mafia dumping ground.

The trains, it turns out, went to Paterson’s North West Jersey Hi-Railers club because Mathew Horning, the son of one of the club’s trustees, was an intern at Lionel Model Trains when HBO called there looking for a temporary home for the Bacala display. When someone from Lionel mentioned the HBO call to Horning, he said he knew of just the place.

Bacala, played by actor Steven R. Schirripa, was a huge model train fan in the show, using it as a distraction from his daily criminal routines. In the final moments of his life on the show, Bacala is shopping for his hobby right before he takes his final spill on a model train set.

The set still has trails of stage blood on it from Bacala’s death at the hands of two gunmen. It will be on display Sept. 30 at the Paterson club, where about 1,000 people are expected to come.

The club is housed in a 12,500-square-foot room in a former silk mill in Paterson, where the club’s co-sponsors, Bernie Callen and Marty Horning, run a picture frame and matte company.

“When you see the (Bacala) detail work, it doesn’t compare to what’s upstairs, it doesn’t compare at all,” Bernie Callen told the Herald News of West Paterson for Tuesday newspapers.

The club has about two miles of train tracks that are situated around an estimated $1 million worth of scenery.

This is pretty cool if you ask me…

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The oops could be me forgetting to blog about the latest news on the shootout in the Bronx. However the oops is not my forgetfulness but for the typical shooting performance of New York’s finest. It seems that at least one shot that hit Officer Annmarie Marchiondo was from friendly fire. Here is an article with the latest news about this story courtesy of 1010 Wins:

NEW YORK (AP) — A police officer wounded in a fatal shootout last week with an armed parolee with a long rap sheet was hit by a bullet fired by another officer, police officials said Monday.

Ballistics evidence from the Bronx subway platform where the shooting occurred showed that Officer Annmarie Marchiondo was accidentally shot in the left foot by one of two officers who fired 14 times at the parolee, who was being detained for riding between cars of a moving subway train, police said. Riding between cars is against subway regulations.

Marchiondo also suffered wounds to her side and ankle, but it was unclear whether those were caused by friendly fire or by the parolee, Juan Calves, who fired six times and died in the shootout, the New York Police Department said.

Marchiondo remained hospitalized on Monday.

The shooting took place Friday afternoon when Marchiondo and two other plainclothes officers stopped Calves on a 4 train going from the Bronx to Manhattan.

After the officers took Calves off the train at the 176th Street station and began searching him, he grabbed Marchiondo in a head lock and pulled out a stolen 9mm gun, police said. When she broke free, he opened fire on the other officers; they returned fire and killed him.

Calves, 51, was freed on parole from prison two years ago after serving time for manslaughter of a fellow inmate, robbery and attempting to promote prison contraband.

The Cuban immigrant was arrested for the first time in the United States in 1981 on car theft charges, police said. The arrest occurred not far from where he was killed 26 years later.

I think new mental tricks need to be deployed to help cops with their shooting. My idea is they should mentally trick them to thinking any target is the last donut in the world. If they nail the target, they will get the world’s last donut!

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September 11th would like to offer well wishes to those who lost a loved one on September 11th, 2001. May the victims of such a horrible event live a better life in their new homes. Also may the loved ones of these victims have nothing but good fortune for the rest of their lives.

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Question Of The Week 09-10-07 – 09/16/07

I have completely updated the “Question Of The Week” section at Eye On Transit. The update includes the results of the 2 questions from last week along with this week’s question. This week’s question focuses on the installation of platform doors as part of the 7 line extension.

So head on over to Eye On Transit to cast your vote today! The poll closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday September 16th.

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A Train Turns 75!

Yesterday, September 10th marked the 75th anniversary of the A train. The A train was the first line NYC owned & operated. The MTA decided to bring out a piece of history in regards to the big birthday. Transit officials put together a full train of pre-World War II cars to run in service. Here is an article talking about the big celebration courtesy of the NY Times:

It was, without a doubt, the quirkiest way to get to Harlem yesterday.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the A train, transit officials had a train of pre-World War II subway cars strung together.

In celebration of the 75th birthday of the A train, the first subway line both owned and operated by the city and the only one with an instantly recognizable jazz standard named after it, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority strung together a train of pre-World War II subway cars and ran it from one end of Manhattan to the other and back.

The fun was watching ordinary straphangers who knew nothing about the vintage train as they boarded along the way.

The cars were boxy and painted a drab dark green. Inside, there were vintage ads for Chesterfield cigarettes and Uneeda Biscuits, bare incandescent bulbs, bouncy rattan seats and spinning ceiling fans.

“I was really confused,” said Emily DiAngelo, 22, who boarded in Washington Heights, her face twisted in bewilderment.

“I thought I was on the wrong platform,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Ms. DiAngelo, an oboist who studies at the Manhattan School of Music, said the sense of stepping into a time warp was heightened because, just as the train pulled into the station, she had been listening to an Ella Fitzgerald recording of “Take the A Train” on her iPod.

“It was kind of pretty perfect, actually,” she said.

The first A trains carried passengers on Sept. 10, 1932, just after midnight. Yesterday’s commemorative train was made up of six cars, including Car 100, the first in a line of cars known as the R1, which were built for the new subway line.

The run started shortly after 11 a.m. and traveled from 207th Street to Canal Street. It continued for one more stop, to the World Trade Center station on the E line, before heading back uptown. Along the way were many juxtapositions of the old and new.

William Mulligan, 40, boarded the train at 207th Street with a two-wheeled Segway Personal Transporter, which, he said, he used above ground.

Mr. Mulligan, director of performing arts at Manhattan College in the Bronx, said he was not aware of any songs written about the Segway. As he spoke, he maneuvered the machine out of the way of other passengers.

“It’s a little goofy,” he admitted. “I try not to draw too much attention to myself.”

Further downtown, Sabur Khalinah, 27, the manager of a fast food restaurant, laughed as he took pictures of the old train on his cellphone. Asked what he was going to do with the pictures, he said: “Show them to people, because nobody’s ever going to believe this. Hey, I was on a train with ceiling fans. I didn’t even know the subway system was around 75 years ago.”

“I think it’s cute,” said Sandy Alexis, 28, a business consultant, after settling into one of Car 100’s cushioned seats.

It was a muggy day and she noticed the lack of air conditioning.

“If it was crowded like the regular train it would be really hot in here right now,” said Ms. Alexis, who wore a sleeveless dress and big round sunglasses. “I don’t know how they used to do it, with the suits and hats.”

In another car, a musician played “Take the A Train” on a saxophone. The song, written by Billy Strayhorn and popularized by Duke Ellington, calls the A train the quickest way to get to Harlem.

Charles Adams Jr., the general superintendent of the maintenance shops for the A and C lines, said it was running at its top speed of about 50 miles an hour, the same maximum speed achieved by today’s more streamlined stainless steel trains.

The difference he said, is that the new trains accelerate at a faster rate, about 2.5 miles per hour per second, compared with 1.9 miles per hour per second for the older trains.

I wanted to checkout this celebration yesterday. Unfortunately I was so exhausted, I did not have the energy to attend. While I couldn’t guarantee I would have rode the train (95% sure I would have), I definitely would have photographed it. I’m sure many of the great transit photographers in the tri-state area will have shots to share in the coming days.

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