The beaten path is safest, but the traffic's terrible.
A good March Monday to you.
Now everyone knows that New Yorkers are a rude, unpleasant and dangerous group of thugs. Don't mess with New Yorkers because they'll knock you down as soon as look at you and probably pick your pocket in the process. So let me set the scene for you.
1. The Staten Island Ferry
2. The number 1 train
3. South Ferry Station
4. The stairway
The SI Ferry is a large and sturdy vehicle that sails between Staten Island and the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It has only those 2 stops. The trip takes about 5 minutes. There is only one entrance to the ferry and only one exit. The ferry has several decks, usually about 4. At capacity it can carry 3,500 people.
The IRT number 1 train is a local train that runs from up in the Bronx down the west side of Manhattan to the South Ferry Station where it loops around and heads back uptown. It has 10 cars each one carrying about 50 people at capacity. It's estimated the train could carry at least 500 people.
The South Ferry Station is called that because it's the only connection to the SI Ferry. In recent years the South Ferry Station has been redesigned and renovated to improve it and it is now an easy place to access, but my story takes place before that happened.
In the 80's, before the renovation, there was one small staircase that led from the train to the street level. At the top of the stairs was an enclosed area where the ticket booth was and doors on each side which opened out. Half way down the stairs, to the subway level, it narrowed and split into two directions.
The station platform was small and, as the train looped around and prepared to go back uptown, only the first 5 cars would be on the platform level. Anyone traveling in the last 5 cars had to walk forward to get off the train.
Southern Manhattan is filled to overflowing with huge office buildings, skyscrapers. Thousands of people work in those buildings.
To reiterate, you have a ferry with 3,500 people on it. You have a subway train with another 500 people at least, half of whom have to walk forward from 1 to 5 cars just to get off the train, You have a narrow stairway from the platform to an enclosed area with two doors out to the street.
Now, picture this. Every business day, at 8:30 in the morning, the height of rush hour, the number 1 train and the Staten Island Ferry both arrived at the same moment. About 500 people from the train are going up that staircase as at least another 500 people from the ferry are going down and all of them from both directions are in a hurry.
I would stand by the ticket widow every morning and watch in amazement. There was never any shoving, pulling, pushing, yelling, cursing, screaming or violence of any kind. It was a complete aggravation for everyone involved but they all got through it, past each other and on their ways with an absolute minimum of fuss. Every morning.
Considering all of the stealing of parking spaces, road rage and not-in-my-backyard mentality in this county, watching that I was proud to be a New Yorker.
When all was clear,I went downstairs, walked to the very front so I wouldn't interfere with the next mob of passengers getting off and waited for the 8:45. The ferry was off in Staten Island collecting its next load and almost no one got on the train when it was empty, so I had a nice leisurely ride back uptown.
(This is not a contest.)
Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.
You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
20 responses so far.
DB - The Vagabond