I knew today was going to go wrong when I woke up to my landlord power-washing my building at 6 a.m. And when I left my apartment in Crown Heights three hours later, I should have expected, considering recent history, that the next step in my Monday of Mondays would involve a crappy subway commute, and indeed, that's what I got.
The upside of Gothamist's office move from DUMBO to Midtown is that instead of taking the C—which seemingly arrives every 30 minutes and stops in the subway tunnel between Lafayette Avenue and Hoyt-Schermerhorn to wait for no fewer than three A trains to pass—I get to take the B or the Q. It's a longer ride but it's far more predictable. Plus, I can pick which train I want to take based on how crowded it looks when it pulls into the station at 7th Avenue in Park Slope. This morning I went with the Q train.
The trouble started right away. Though there were no listed delays on the Q on the MTA's occasionally reliable website, when we sat at Atlantic-Barclays Center for a good 10 minutes, you could tell all the straphangers knew this was going to be one of those commutes. And thanks to that handy new cell phone service underground, I was able to check the tweets:
MTA Conductor on the Q Train, 9:13 AM, telling us about delays: "Start calling your bosses, because we're gonna be delayed for a while."
— Jon Muñoz (@jonathenmunoz) May 22, 2017
I am stuck on a crawling Q train that has all sorts of crazy plans for its future. Pray for me.
— Myles Tanzer (@mylestanzer) May 22, 2017
Thanks to a "train with mechanical problems" at 49th Street, the NQR lines were having some difficulties. My Q creaked to Dekalb Ave where it took another nap, much to the obvious dismay of me and my fellow straphangers. It s l o o o o o w l y rolled over the Manhattan Bridge, its loitering seeming all the more sinister with the backdrop of today's drizzle. And then, finally, it made its way into a station—but we were at Grand Street, not Canal.
"Due to a stalled train, this train will be running on the Sixth Avenue line," the conductor screamed through the loudspeaker. The man next to me groaned. A baby whimpered. Someone, somewhere, was eating cooked broccoli. Meanwhile, I Slacked my editor to let him know I'd be in the office at some indeterminate time. "I'm starting to really understand Baudelaire," I said. He informed the rest of the team that I was likely dead.
emma [9:54 AM]
And so, the Q, which was now a D, crawled on...but somewhere along the journey to West 4th Street, a real D train got stuck, and my train had to reinvent itself again. This time, she was reborn as an F, and we made local stops aaaaaaalllllll theeeee waaaaay uuuuuuuuptooooown. I wasn't sure where the train would spit me out, and neither were my fellow commuters. At some point, the conductor cheerfully announced the next stop was 57th Street. "But which 57th Street?" one woman asked. No one knew. (It was 6th Avenue)
WHAT EVEN ARE YOU. (Rebecca Fishbein / Gothamist)
Eventually I made it into work—an hour and a half after leaving my apartment—and it looks like I even managed to miss the worst of the NQRW madness:
My struggle is not a unique one. The subway system has been getting demonstrably worse over the last few years, and nearly every single day, at least one train line goes FUBAR, if not many of them. Governor Cuomo, who controls the MTA whether he likes it or not, has been playing political football with its coffers, and research suggests if more money isn't invested in the subway system soon, we can expect service to deteriorate until at least 2045, and by then NYC will probably be underwater thanks to the death of Antarctica anyway.
This is getting ridiculous. The city's lifeblood is its subway system, and if rents keep pushing people farther out in the boroughs, trucks block bike lanes, and buses crawl through traffic, we're going to need better rapid transit. Plus, my doctor told me the other day that my blood pressure is "dangerously high," and if I have a stroke on the subway because my Q train decided to become an R and then an F and then an A, my mom is going to be REALLY MAD.
Anyway, if you find your commute frustrating, or would prefer to never read another blog post in which I bitch about mine, tell your state representatives and Governor Cuomo to stop robbing the MTA of badly needed funding and figure out a way to come up with more cash for a 21st Century transit system.