I get on the R train yesterday morning toward Court Street, and there’re no seats, which is bullshit, because there are always seats on the R train after 9am. Except, not lately, though, because the MTA has been running those newer trains you see the N and Q lines, among others, the ones with the long gray benches, which—am I crazy?—cut more than several seats from every car. They’re good for rush-hour express trains but bad for post-peak locals, when we don’t need to make space for crowds of standing passengers (the once-literal straphanger, now more of a pole-prehensilite). These gray benches hold six people, three on each side of a pole, except most of the time they don’t, because people on the subway are assholes; you’ve got two people on the ends, and then two people in the middle of the remaining space—dudes, naturally, legs spread wide apart—so that you can’t sit down next to them without sitting on top of them.
I used to hate these kinds of people so much I would practically shove them as I squeezed myself in whatever space remained between them and a person or a pole. But, man, I’m getting older, you know? And some sorry bastard’s going to get out at an express connection, so why bother starting my morning with dirty looks and bad feelings? I can read Rosemary’s Baby while standing for a few stops.
The reason the R line has new subway cars is because the MTA closed the Montague Tube for post_Sandy repair, that which once connected Brooklyn R service with Manhattan and Queens; the line’s old cars are serviced at a place in Queens that they can’t get to anymore, Brooklyn Daily reports. So we’re stuck with these facilitators of discourtesy for at least the next 14 months (that’s if—a big if—the MTA finishes on schedule). Brooklyn Daily praises the cars for being “brighter, cleaner and more modern,” but they feel antiseptically hospital-like to me, with their offensively bright lights illuminating a dull trainscape of dead colors.
The upside is that the trains are running smoother, because they no longer have “to deal with slowdowns related to problems in the Manhattan and Queens section of the line,” Brooklyn Daily reports. The last three times I came home from trains other than the R, it was after 10pm, and as the D train pulled into 36th Street there was an R waiting. This is monumental—but you know what? Probably still not worth those dreadful new cars.
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