Say Hello To The R160B

August 17, 2006 was the historical debut of the R160B in revenue service. The N was the chosen line to start day 1 of the 30 day revenue run test. The hoopla of this historical event was quite obvious judging by all the posts on various message boards.

I will be the first to admit, I spent my fair share of time reading through all the posts. The biggest question wasn’t how it would do but more so when & where would the debut actually start? The debut time was up in the air but thankfully some solid information was provided.

All signs pointed to the debut starting at 57th St./7th Ave. approximately around 9:30 in the morning. I really wanted to ride & photograph the first trip. However as I stayed up longer & longer the chances became slimmer & slimmer. I eventually got to sleep sometime around 2 or 3 AM on the 17th. I got a few hours of sleep & woke up around 9:30 or so.

When I woke up, the first thing I did was visit some of the forums to check out reports, pics, & any last minute info. Thankfully among the many posts, I found one with information that was useful. Rich posted info oh his luck chasing down the R160. One of his last posts mentioned it was on the Manhattan Bridge heading towards Coney Island. Once I read that, my plan of action went into motion.

The first thing I did was look at the time. The second thing I did was pick a good location I could catch the R160. I decided on the 39th Ave. stop as my choice within minutes. Since the train was heading towards CI, I knew I had quite a bit of time to catch it at 39th Ave. going back to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.

I started to get ready but took my sweet time doing so. Since I can get to the 39th Ave. stop in under 40 minutes, I had no reason to rush. So I start my journey for the day with all my essentials in tow. The plan was to photograph the N & W while waiting for the R160B. Unfortunately even with taking my time arriving, I still had plenty of time to kill.

So I arrive at 39th Ave. & go to the back of the AstoriaDitmars Blvd. bound platform. This is my favorite part of the station to shoot from. Many trains came & went while I shot away. While I was shooting I enjoyed some music & was texting away on my phone. I was starting to wonder when this train would come & prayed it didn’t finish its run for the day. However my worrying about only that detail soon came to an end.

I was approached by 3 idiotic MTA employees who have no idea what their own company rules are. So tell me again why do these idiots have jobs? I am not going to go into too many details but put it this way, my complaints of my treatment were more than valid. Hopefully this situation is resolved to my satisfaction when it is all said & done.

Thankfully I did not let the employees ruin my excitement for the day. I did not get any oncoming shots at 39th Ave. but I figured I could get them another time. I rode the train to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. & took some interior shots there. I then did a “c.o.t.” to Coney Island. I followed that up with a “c.o.t.” back to Astoria. I rode it back down to Coney Island just so I could take the ride in & finally get some pictures.

Overall the ride was really nice & people seemed impressed about the whole experience. I made a few comments on the 60th St. run which can be seen in the 2 “c.o.t.’s”. I think the MTA hit a PR home run with the R160B’s to regular riders. However I’m sure they didn’t do as well with railfans who are not looking forward to standard stock all over the system.

In the end, all the hoopla & unfortunate harassment was well worth it. I hope it was the same for every other railfan out there.

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Talk About Creepy

Thankfully this entry is short as if it wasn’t, I would be in trouble. The story in this entry took place on May 24, 2006. I’m finally blogging about it on September 18th! I promise it will be different this time around! However I have spent enough time blabbing so lets gets to it.

I remember being dead exhausted on the night of May 24th. However I decided to go see my friend Winona play with her new music project “Childress” at the Zebulon Cafe Concert. The Zebulon Cafe Concert is located in the north side of Williamsburg. The best & most direct route would be to the 6 to 14th St/Union Sq. followed by the L to Bedford Ave.

The commute was going quite well as I got to 14th St/Union Sq. in no time. I went downstairs for the L & walked to the back of the Canarsie bound platform. The train arrives a few minutes later & I’m on my way. I got in the last car which was packed to no surprise so I leaned up against the doors.

I noticed a short & skinny white man who looked creepy. When I mean creepy, I am talking about the type who spend most of their time viewing child porn, jerking off in public, etc….. I took one glance & just knew in my heart he was that sort of guy. I know one shouldn’t judge & I’m the first to say as such. However I trust my instincts very much.

While the train was moving, I noticed he spotted a young attractive female. He must have liked what he saw as he was quickly looking to pull out his disposable camera. The creep finally gets it out & without trying to disguise it, snaps a picture of the female.

The riders around the scene seemed shocked he would do that for no reason. I am a photographer so that didn’t strike me as odd. The look in his eyes like he couldn’t wait to worship the picture is what got me thinking.

I felt bad for the female as she clearly was thinking the same thing I was. She looked so stunned & was rendered speechless. However the look of nervousness on her face displayed like an open book. The woman looked like she couldn’t wait to get off the train. I wanted to say something to her but I thought better of it.

I am sure we know what ended up happening with that guy & picture. One can only hope for the woman that the picture mysteriously didn’t come out. If that did happen, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

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Wrestlemania 22 Live From The 6 Train

I had to run to my bank during the afternoon of March 8th. While I live by at least 4 banks within walking distance, my bank only has one branch in the Bronx & that is in Riverdale. I find it easier to go to any of the branches downtown as the commute is shorter & more direct. Let me not digress any further.

I have now finished making my deposits & am on my way back home. I usually will hop on the 6 local as I have a better chance of getting a seat & I’m not that much in a rush to get back. I arrive at the 59th St uptown platform & see the 6 express coming & as expected it was packed. I waited for the 6 local which literally came under a minute later. I make my way into the last car which was #7520.

When I walked in, I took one look at the cast of characters & just knew this ride would be an adventure & that it was! The car was relatively empty with the majority of the small crowd being a bunch of black teenagers who just came from school. These kids had to be the most active bunch of kids I have ever seen on a train.

The group consisted of males & females. All of them were literally wrestling with each other between 59th St & 68th St with them all landing all over the car floor. I am sitting in the very last corner seat on the right side & get to see the action up close & personal. Most of the kids were on the floor but one who isn’t decides to run the length of the car & do a big splash on top of everyone.

This craziness continued as they all started picking each other up & throwing each other from side to side. I think what shocked me most was not the guys doing this but the girls being very active & one of them in particular. She was not your town boy looking girl but she was getting down & dirty.

She got up & suplexed one of the guys on top of the rest of them who ended up on the floor yet again. This mayhem continued until around 103rd St with all kinds of flips, body slams & suplexes being done on each other including an attempted superplex from the top of the bars.

Wrestlemania concluded around 103rd St where one of the guys decides he wants to imitate the Matrix & try walking along the doors without holding anything as the train is moving! He failed at each attempt & was met with laughter. I had to admit I had to put my head down as to not be seen laughing at all the Wrestlemania & Matrix action.

The train is now approaching 110th St & one of the girls decides to try & fit her body in between the handle bars in the middle of the car & the ceiling. I said no way she does it even as nice of a fit body she as. I just didn’t see any adult fitting there with what little space is between the two things.

However I was wrong as she contorted her body to fit & one of the guys decides to “spot” her just in case by putting his hands firm on her ass. I admit for a black girl she had a great body & nice ass & that is saying something. (I don’t find black women attractive at all & would never date one even if I’m mostly black myself)

Thankfully Wrestlemania came to an end at 125th St as they got off & I was able to have a normal ride the rest of the way.

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Maybe It Wasn’t So Bad After All

I’ll be honest & say I was for the most part against the holiday fare discounts. I thought the gestures were P.R. friendly & the money could have been used more wisely. However in the end besides the bonus time on my unlimited monthly, I did get something else out of them.

A few weeks ago I read a post from “checkthedoorlight” on TS. He mentioned how he got one of the bonus 10 pack off peak Metro North tickets from someone on E-Bay for $10. When I read this, I thought I should see if I could do the same. My gallery is lacking in both railroad departments so a bonus ticket would be a good way to beef up the stock.

The search started on E-Bay & I watched 2 specific auctions, 1 for each railroad respectively. The LIRR auction went too high for my tastes so I ended up winning the Metro North auction for $10 with shipping. The ticket was used but had 6 trips remaining & I thought it was still a great deal.

I waited to the last two days to use the ticket but I got what I wanted out of the deal. Thanks to the assistance & knowledge of Richard (ctdl), I ventured r/t to Poughkeepsie on 2/27. I enjoyed the super express back to Grand Central!

I was happy with my photo work up there. Rich was right, the ride to & from Poughkeepsie is beautiful! I personally had not been to Poughkeepsie in ages. However I never went up there via train so never knew what it looked like. The ride was well worth it.

The last day for the ticket had now arrived. I decided to use this day to visit Bridgeport, New Canaan, & New Haven. I once again had a great time & was satisfied with my photo work for the day. I would like to spend more time exploring Metro North as some stations look quite fun to shoot from.

In the end something else good came out of the holiday fare discounts & even more so I owe some thanks to Richard for not only the tips he provided but the actual idea from his post. Thanks!

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Farewell To A Wrestling God

January 29, 2006 marked the end of an error for JBL, no not the wrestling god himself but Jamaica Bus Lines. This day marked the last it would operate service as a private bus company in NYC. The MTA was taking over the company starting the very next day.

Like Command, & Green Bus Lines before it, I never rode JBL until its final day of operations. I originally wanted to do a farewell ride/shoot on the 28th but I got too late of a start to my day. I knew the weather would be bad but I hoped I & my camera would be able to make it through the day.

I’m happy to report the shooting went very well as I’m pleased with the results. I made sure to be extra careful with my camera as this was my first ever attempt in shooting in the rain. I would like to say the farewell ride went without a problem but I would be lying if I did.

I originally was going to take the Q111 or Q113 from Jamaica Center to their depot. However I decided to take it from 88th Ave & Parsons Blvd instead. I arrived at 51 St so I could catch the E to Union Tpke followed by the F to Parsons Blvd. However the E had a G.O. sending all trains to 179th St with an E shuttle train running between Union Tpke & Jamaica Center.

I eventually made it out to 88th Ave & Parsons Blvd. I made my way to the first stop & the bus arrived shortly thereafter. I boarded the Q113 (3861) & sat down to soak in the ride. However the glory would be short lived.

I noticed the right windshield wiper overlapped into the left side of the windshield. I assume this is why the driver had it off. The left wiper which worked kept banging against the right one. My first ride on JBL would be short lived because two blocks after it started, the left wiper fell down to the street.

The driver stopped the bus & got out attempting to fix it. However her attempts were unsuccessful. She called the depot & they told her to go out of service & that they would send a replacement bus.

Some of the riders got off after she flagged down her follower to stop & take them. I remained on as I was in no specific rush as I had enough time to make it back for the #1 vs #2 showdown in women’s college hoops & the Royal Rumble later that evening.

The few riders who stayed on our bus were growing impatient. She flagged down the next bus as she was on the phone with the depot wondering where the bus was. They said it would only be 10-15 minutes & of course that turned out to be bullshit.

Since everyone was getting off to board the 2nd bus, I decided I’d go too as I didn’t want to be the only one left. So I boarded the 2nd bus which was another Q 113 (#551) & I was finally on my way to the depot.

I got to the depot, took a ton of pictures from all over the property. After shooting for probably over an hour, I boarded the Q113 (#551) & made my way home. Maybe when I do a farewell ride/shoot on Triboro, it will go without incident!

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