Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Ride on the D train

I know of only two things that humble me to the point of tears: Ordering food for delivery from someone with an accent, and trying to plan an outing using only public transportation. In regards to the former, I usually memorize the order number and repeat it several times to whomever is on the other line and hope to God that something makes it to my house. I may order spaghetti, but if you bring me General Tso's chicken, I will only bashfully accept, assuming I didn't speak clearly enough, and hope that my delivery-person does not peg me for a racist or xenophobe. The latter problem of public transportation reared its ugly head yesterday as I planned a trip to Connecticut to go and see my best friend.

Let's see, going to Connecticut, do I have everything I need? College degree, check, map of subways, check, knowledge of train schedules and routes, check....wait, my parents forgot to teach me how to read and memorize my address! Get back in the house, quickly, before someone steals my wallet! I left the house yesterday with a route planned. I walked to the subway stop, and I realized that I use a different subway than the one I had planned to take. A little something called "literacy" would have helped this situation. I quickly figured out where I needed to go, and got on board. I arrived in Manhattan's Grand Central Station, and went to purchase a ticket at a kiosk. I got confused as to which destination I was buying a ticket and had to call Adrian. The path on the map for the New Haven railroad forks, and I wanted to make sure I arrived in the right spot. I did what Adrian said, but in doing so, I missed the noon train. I caught the 1 o'clock and arrived safely in New Haven, although I was freaking out because I wasn't sure if the train was headed the right way. Well, I'm sure someone would have picked me up, but still.

I got to New Haven and hung out with my best friend, and it was great. I was totally happy to be there. I was even more happy to start drinking right away, which was awesome. We went to this great tavern, and I got a little tipsy. Then we went out for Ethiopian food that evening. He has such a great group of friends and it is so nice having him nearby. It's cool. Adrian dropped me off at the train station for my commute home, and I caught the ten o'clock train back to Manhattan.

I slept for most of the ride back, so when I got into Grand Central, I was a little disoriented. I caught the 4 local train that runs late at night. I made the transfer over to the D train that goes to my house, feeling pretty in control of my environment. Then it happened: A woman came over the loudspeaker announcing that there would be route changes. She announced them through a thick island accent that I tried my hardest to muddle through, and hoped to God that I understood her correctly. What she said was that the D train was going to make N stops to avoid D train construction. The N train, according to my trusty map, makes parallel stops northeast of the D train. She said that to go to the stops that the D train normally makes, to stay on this train and take it all the way to Stillwell Avenue, and then transfer to the D train going the other direction. Okay.

So here I am, facing my old nemeses: public transportation and foreign accents. I looked at my map of the train stops, and I realize that the advice that the woman has given me is to get off at a stop that the D train stops at, but the N train doesn't. Now we are on a D train that is making all N stops, so where exactly are we supposed to go at the end of the line if the N train doesn't stop at Stillwell? I would find out.

Past the N's 20th Avenue stop, we pull up to the graveyard of subways. The comptroller is there, directing incoming traffic. It is where the trains go to sleep at night. She pulls the train in, and I am wondering if this is anywhere near Stillwell Avenue, and if it isn't, will I even be able to get out? Does she know people are still on the train? Will I be stuck in subway graveyards all night? Sparks are flying from the tracks and this is quickly becoming a frightening movie. Also, it's 1:30 am in NYC on a Saturday. I would really prefer to be in my house right about now.

Turns out, past the subway graveyard was Stillwell Avenue. The N train route can connect with the D train, it's just not marked on that map. I hurried out and sat down in the D train headed the other direction. It was just sitting there, with its doors open. There were a bunch of people sitting there, and I began to question if this was a train that was actually leaving. I thought a couple of times about getting out at various stops along the subway detour, but it was 1 in the morning, and I figured it would be safer in the subway. It's not like I could have called a cab on my side of town anyway--they're not running around all the time like they are in Manhattan.

My train FINALLY leaves, and I get off at my stop at 1:50. Fortunately, I live close to the subway stop. Then I had to contend with the panic of walking alone in the dark of NYC, which is not a very fun experience if you were wondering. Doing all this made me feel like I had earned some kind of badge of honor. These are situations where I typically lose my mind. I feel a little bit more seasoned now, and ready to take on the subway. However, hand me a public bus schedule, and I will fucking kill you.


  • At 6:33 PM , Blogger Erin said...

    I am so glad you had fun with Adrian and made it there and back safe. The whole thing reminds me of the time I got stranded at the Ikea outside Edinburgh and had to walk along the highway. I just kept thinking that if I walked towards the big concentration of lights, I'd be ok. But, I did have knives, pots, and a plant with me in case I had to set up house on the moors.


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