Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The good brother

So, this is day one of the New York Transit Workers Union strike. The city is in pretty bad shape, no buses, no subway. I talked to Nick, the shish-kabob guy, on Main Street in Flushing and he's suffering. Most of his business is foot traffic from people getting on and of the buses on Main street as well as the bus drivers and route managers. A lot of bad shit in general. I got two sticks and a Coke, plus I gave him a little Christmas tip. He's a good guy and there's usually a few regulars around to shoot the shit with, when I stop by. I didn't see Tommy, but I'm sure I'll see him soon enough.

That was around five O'clock, pm. Earlier, I called my sister, Ellen, who lives in BK and works in Midtown. I called her house, left a message and then called her office. No answer, so I figured she was en route. Boy was she ever- she walked the two miles from her apartment to Brooklyn Heights to get the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) which was running, but she had to wait in line for an hour, just to get inside. There was a line to get on the train so she did that and would pay the extra charge for getting on the train without a ticket. They never charged her. There were so many peopoe, that the LIRR system was overwhelmed. They just decided that it would be easier to just let people on and go. So she got a free ride, but it took her a long time to get into work. I think it was around 11 when she finally got to Rockefeller Ctr, taking the train and then walking from Penn Station.

She called me back and took me up on my offer to come into the city and pick her up. It would also be a good time to see each other, catch up and talk before she went to Mexico to see Karen for Christmas and I would go to Boston to see the parents for Xmas.

I left Queens at around 6pm. Normally at that time of day it takes about forty-five minutes to an hour to get to Midtown. I made pretty good time, until I hit Queens Plaza, the area before you get onto the 59th Street Bridge (Feelin' Groovy, if you're a Simon & Garfunkel fan). Traffic came to a screeching halt, so I got off the main road and took a shortcut to get closer to the bridge. That took a while, but I think I still got ahead of the game. I called Ellen to let her know I'd hit a snag, but I figured I'd keep pushing onward and see how far I got. that was about 6:39, according to my cell phone.

Things picked up. Initially I was going thirty feet every ten minutes, once I got back onto Queens Blvd, and the approach to the bridge, things were slow, but moving steadily. It was about ten after seven when I called her again to let her know I was on the bridge. A car had died in the middle of the bridge and was the reason traffic was so f-ed. I was on the phone with Ellen when I passed it and told her that I was speeding up to 45mph and heading over to the other side.

It all worked out. I waited for her while she got the last of her stuff done. Good thing I brought some work with me, I waited for about forty minutes, but it wasn't a big deal.

Ellen brought me some cheese cake and some hot cocoa from her office. The cheesecake was from a party and was very yummy. I pulled over next to Radio City to eat it and then drove off.

I had to take a hair cut, so I dove over to the side of 5th Ave in front of a McD's and went inside. there was a crowd of people in the men's room, apparently some girl was puking, so I knocked on the door of the ladies and entered, when no one answered. Moments later, I was back in the car and was able to drop Ellen off at her house in good time, maybe a half hour, forty minutes. It was about nine, so traffic was pretty much back to normal.

She would have had a hell of a time trying to take the LIRR. Apparently they closed parts of Penn Station because there were so many people. Even at that late time, I think there were still people waiting to get on trains.

Before dropping her off, Ellen gave me some cash for gas, which I tried to refuse, but she insisted and a blueberry Krispy Kreme donut, which I just ate and it's REALLY good. I'm such a lucky guy. She also gave me my Christmas gift. I can't wait to open it!


Weird thing I saw at Queensboro Plz: an MTA #7 subway train rolled by, on the elevated tracks, no passengers in it, but who was driving it and why? Very strange.

Traffic in town was about normal. I was surprised at how easy it was to get around.

AM radio, 1010 WINS, reported the Brooklyn Bridge being bumper to bumper and not moving, yet when we got there, it was flowing nicely and even the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) was flowing well in both directions.

I headed back to Queens from Brooklyn around 9, or 9:20 and traffic was pretty fast, no snags, seemed more like sunday traffic.

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