Thursday, March 26, 2015

The L Train; or, Why Some People Choose Not to Live in NYC

Today I'm going to write about what's currently on my mind: public transportation. Sexy, eh?

Here's what's up: I live two blocks from the L train. The line runs straight from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and I'm off the first stop out. So it would make sense for me to take the L into Manhattan, transfer at Union Square to the 4/5 and make my way down to the brand-spankin-new-but-also-sort-of-falling-apart One World Trade Center. SUUUPER convenient morning commute right? Right. Except also very wrong. Let me explain how this route goes down IRL (and why I no longer take it).

6:30am: Alarm goes off. I lace up my sneaks and head to the gym for an early morning sweat sesh.

7:30: Realize that was only wishful dreaming and I have just been repeatedly hitting snooze every five minutes for the past hour.

8:40: After bathing, clothing, and feeding myself, I head out the door.

8:45: Descend into the pits of hell that is the Bedford L stop on a Monday morning. Platform is packed with rows upon rows of impatient New Yorkers (redundant?).

8:55: MTA voice from above kindly informs us that there is a delay, and that the next train arriving will not stop. We all miserably watch as a packed L passes us by along with our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

9:05: The first train comes to a stop. It is so full that an exact average of 1.5 people make it onto each car.

9:10-9:25: This continues as the population of the platform grows and people save twitter drafts of crowd-selfies (why)(because there is no cell service).

9:30: I use my creative problem-solving skills and deductive reasoning to realize that if I take the L train going further into Brooklyn a few stops, my chances of actually making it onto a train increase. I take it three stops towards Rockaway Pkwy, cross over ABOVE ground and re-enter on the other side to squeeze onto a Manhattan-bound train. ha HA! My plan works and I am feeling smug even though I am making direct skin contact with no less than four strangers.

9:40: Half-sympathetically/half-maniacally watch as no one at the Bedford stop can get on. Sayonara, suckers (also sorry!)

10:20: Arrive to work late, commiserate with co-workers about living in bRoOkLyn ugh, and vow never to take the L again.

SO. That is the story of how I left my abusive relationship of one and a half years with the goddamn L train and started taking the J.

The J is a dream. The cars are wider, rarely packed, and—best of all—it crosses the Williamsburg bridge so you start your day off with a stunning view of Manhattan looking out over the water and you remember why you love this city ha ha ha. Above ground time is time well spent. The only catch is it's about a 30 minute walk from my apartment. So it now takes me an hour to commute. Which is fine because I view my morning walks as "me" time where I listen to podcasts, observe the slow but steady gentrification of South Williamsburg, and think about how I didn't go to the gym that morning. It's also the perfect distance to hit just the right amount of cardio so that when I leave my apartment I'm freezing but by the time I get to the platform I'm sweating!

Next time on Daily Commuting with Chantal: "The Ferry: New York's Best Kept Secret, Sort Of".