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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An Unsettling Feeling

I don’t recall what the exact time was. All I knew is that is was the very early morning (late night to some) hours of January 27, 2006. I had just left Caffe Vivaldi after seeing my friend Jason Darling do 2 amazing sets.

I said my goodbyes & was on my way home. I decided I’d take the normal route I take when I am going home from this particular venue. Normally I’ll take the D or F down one stop to Broadway-Lafayette & take the 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall & take it back up to Parkchester.

My mind must have not been fully there as I’m walking towards the W3rd St exit & I stopped halfway. I told myself I was heading the wrong way & turned around. It turns out I was heading the right way originally & now was heading the wrong way when I saw the Christopher St station up ahead which is where I came from when I came down earlier that night.

Since I was already there, & in no mood to carry my gear back to West 3rd St, I decided I’ll just catch the 1 or 2 to TS for the 7 to the 6. While I was waiting for any train to arrive, I noticed this young white male around my age pacing back & forth. He looked like he was either a hipster or yuppie.

He caught my attention because he must have paced from his original spot to the back of the platform & back again to his spot at least 75 times! He would do it repeatedly without stopping. I wasn’t scared by him but I was concerned I would be seeing a 12-9 in front of my own eyes.

I thought he was by himself but it turns out he was with the few other young people I saw around his initial spot. The train finally came after what seemed forever & thankfully no 12-9 occurred.

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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?, 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!


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