Category Archives: transportation

A/C Trains to Stay Running (Instead of Becoming Fish Colonies)

Ugh. I often feel like the A/C line will be the very last to see new train cars.  And now that suspicion is validated.  AM NY recently reported that the MTA’s decided to keep them in service even longer than scheduled, instead of tossing them into the ocean.  I’m sure the G is not even in the plan for new trains.

How nice are those super new trains that show all of the upcoming stops (and thus can be programmed for any line, instead of having to see the “this route not in service” light on the 4,5 when you’re in a 1,2,3 car)?  The only thing I don’t like about them is the fact that they all have their letter / number in red on the front car.  Part of the fun is seeing the colored circle rounding the corner into the station.

Police "Sting" on the B38

This in recently from a disgruntled reader:

This morning I was waiting for the B38 at the corner of Classon and DeKalb. As usual when it came, it was packed – or at least the front half was. Every time I get on the bus, we are all squeezing into the front because nobody moves back. On the rare occasion, the bus driver asks that people move back, but nobody ever does. I missed the first bus this morning as there was no room to get on and waited 15 minutes for the next one to come. Again, the front was packed, so I joined about 15 people who got on at the back of the bus. I am not trying to avoid paying the fare – I buy my monthly ticket every month for over 6 years now – I am simply trying to get to work on time. About 6 undercover cops got on the bus and asked everyone who walked on through the back door to get off. They held us there for about 20 minutes while they checked our identification and wrote us all tickets for $100 for trying to evade the fare. One man was taken away in handcuffs – I heard him say he was a felon and I believe he had an outstanding warrant or something.

I have mixed feelings about this. I mean, why are the cops spending time on this?  Then again, fare evasion costs the MTA millions of dollars every year.  Then again, I’m sure some if not most of these riders were MetroCard holders who just needed to get to work.

In the six years I’ve lived here, the B38 has been consistently effed up when it comes to rush hour.  I’m not sure why they can’t get the timing right.  If it was me who had been stopped by the cops, I’d be pissed.  Maybe Tish James can help make this route function better.

Have You Seen a Giant Penis on the G?

Some days, the CHB inbox cracks me up.  Here’s a recent note:

To Whom it may concern:

Pratt student David Livingston has been performing his absurdist art piece Big Dick in the city for the past sever months. The artist wears a 6′ long flaccid felt penis that he sewed and stuffed with sofa upholstery. All of his video art pieces thus far have taken place in various New York City neighborhoods. This time he rides the Brooklyn G train and the A train into Manhattan.

I have to admit, the video is pretty funny.

The Very Happy G Train Conductor

Every now and then, I get on a train that has a very enthusiastic conductor.  It’s nice to not only hear the announcements, but to also get a little something extra.

My neighbor sent me a link to this very jovial G train conductor making station announcements at 4am, which is pretty amazing.  Have you ever been on his train?

I haven’t ever heard this guy (I can safely say I have never, ever ridden the G at 4am), although I do usually end up on the same morning C train and recognize the conductor’s very specific pronunciation.

Do you have a favorite local train conductor?

Four Downer Weekends Begin Tonight

No G service at all for the next FOUR weekends.  Of course, there’ll be a shuttle bus.  But still.

Looks like the A is running on the C line this wknd, so at least that’s running.  Last wknd we had a shuttle down the Fulton corridor, which sucked (especially since the 2,3 was also screwy).

Not related to Clinton Hill specifically, but if you happen to be a web developer, the MTA just made their meta data available.  Maybe someone in the ‘hood can come up with an app that makes tracking this stuff easier.

B38: Still Crappy

My new job necessitates taking the R train at DeKalb, so I am back to taking the B38 (at least on days when I am wearing heels).  Today, I saw a huge crowd waiting for the bus and groaned.  And then four (yes, FOUR) B38s pulled up, all in a row.  Seriously?  They still haven’t worked this out?

And btw, why does the B38 now turn down Ashland?  Is it because of the new building construction? $!@&!!!

CHB Interviews: Theresa King, Myrtle El Photographer

1. Where in Brooklyn did you grow up? Tell us a little about the Brooklyn childhood experience.

Until I was seven years old, we lived in Bedford Stuyvesant as tenants in a brownstone. My father then took a position in Brighton Beach where we lived for many years and where I graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School. I then left Brighton and spent some years on Clinton Avenue, Franklin Avenue and Atlantic Avenue which was my last apartment in Brooklyn.

As a child and young adult, I recall the warmth of the different neighborhoods, the feeling of extended family, the variety of images, street games, schools, – the local candy stores where we were always made to feel welcome, the unique vistas from each neighborhood and most certainly the diversity of the population. Is there a Brooklynite of my generation who can ever forget the delicious smells from the local bakeries? Brooklyn is an awakening of the senses and a unique, diverse and special universe of its own and I am proud to have been raised there.

2. How was the El different from the subway? Did people prefer one or the other?

The elevated trains brought light, air and street life to those riding them. One was no longer on a subway under the ground where dark walls, fellow passengers and Ms. Subways and other ads were your only companions.  Indeed our subways take us quickly from one station to another while we read, doze, study, and often use the time in many productive ways.  We are still underground individuals waiting for our stop so that we can get out, go upstairs and see the light of day.

I found the El a different experience. Much like a painting or a poem simply looking out of the windows at the passing scenery – the small apartment buildings so close that you could see folks eating at the kitchen table, almost touch the oil cloth on the tables and linoleum on the floors and imagine yourself part of this unknown family.  Sometimes the profusion of television antennas on the roofs became a picture in itself. Then there were the distant views – office buildings large and small, and of course the people walking, the young girls and other family members looking out of a window for hours at a time. They always had a small pillow to lean on and I used to wonder, “what are they thinking, what are their dreams, who are they” – these strangers who live among us, but with the constant rumble of a train going past them. Do they even notice us as we notice them? Do they even hear the El anymore?  There are still some elevated portions of subway lines operating and I enjoy riding them. I still think of the people in those buildings and still think and visualize scenes and life around them.
As for preference, I can only guess. The dreamers and visualizes among us, I imagine still love the elevated trains that remain.
3. What do you remember about Clinton Hill and Fort Greene during the days of the El? Have you been back to Myrtle Avenue recently? If so, has anything remained the same?

I haven’t lived in Brooklyn since the 1970’s. I still recall lovely brownstones on Clinton Avenue, businesses on Myrtle Avenue, and the struggles, successes and kindness of the people who lived there.
In connection with the photo exhibit at the New York Transit Museum, Sunday, October 18, 2009, I will be leading a tour of my photographs in the exhibit. And on Saturday, November 7, 2009, I will lead another tour group of youngsters and their families down Myrtle Avenue. We will all take photographs and it certainly will be a learning experience for me as well as for the young photographers.

4. People were obviously very fond of the El.  Did anyone lobby to preserve it?
My recollection is that a small group did attempt to save it to no avail. I’ve done a bit of searching recently on the internet, but haven’t come up with anything in the archives. It would be wonderful if an interested reader of this article found some information and shared it with us.
5.  How does your Brooklyn background influence your artistic work?
Brooklyn is a feast for the eyes, an ever-changing place, a home to a multitude of ethnicities, and a profoundly unique and incredible borough of New York. I’ve yet to meet someone from Brooklyn without a strong opinion, a willingness to “step up” when asked as well as a sense of belonging to a community. Brooklyn is ENERGY. How could I not be influenced by this place where I was raised and lived in different neighborhoods, met many people of different backgrounds, religions and beliefs? It opened my eyes to settings, people, interactions, styles of architecture, cultural differences and so much more. My photography is a product of these sensory and personal experiences- from riding the El, the subways, the trolleys, to walking to school – from the beach at Brighton to the Botanical Gardens to the cheesecake at Juniors, and the Cyclone at Coney Island – From the music in Prospect Park during the summer to the street corner A cappella groups on so many street corners. I credit my native borough with creating who I am and wherever I am, I always manage to let people know that I AM FROM BROOKLYN.