NYC Subway Rescue

Over five million people take the subway every day to work, school, or for play. I am one of those millions. I have a license and a vehicle but rarely drive. It’s just more convenient for me to take the train.

Unfortunately, subway service in New York has been in the news a lot for all the wrong reasons: derailments, track fires, violence, and overcrowding.

Recently, Govenor Cuomo announced a state of emergency for the subway system and appointed a new MTA chairman, Joseph Lhota, to oversee the system. Yesterday, Lhota revealed his plan publicly.

There’s been quite a stir about some of these fixes. Now I’m just a regular shmegular rider but I don’t mind sharing what I think should happen. So…like to hear it? Here it goes!

  1. Upgrade signals on the busiest lines. I’ve read the current signals are ancient and they’re pretty much using sticky tape and bubblegum to hold all the old parts together. The parts and system are obsolete and should have been replaced decades ago. Work on that first.
  2. More trains running. Preferably every three minutes.
  3. I wish the people holding the doors for their friends and family received an electric shock. Nothing fatal but enough to let them know to stop that. I’m pretty sure that’s not legal or humane. Some way to prevent people from doing this would be great. This is definitely a problem on many of the lines during the morning and evening rush.
  4. Unpopular opinion but the subway should completely shut down from midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends. There’s no way to properly clean or maintenance the entire system with it being open 24 hours daily.
  5. This is on Lhota’s list and also on mine. Clean the stations and trains up. The platforms and tracks are filthy, wet, and all around gross no matter the weather or time of year. Trains can be the same. There needs to be a greater emphasis on cleanliness for the MTA. It’s just shameful.
  6. I said I would stop at five so this one is my bonus. New trains on the lines with old ones. The style and seating on these trains is awkward and space consuming.

Anyway like I said, I’m just a regular train rider and I don’t have all the answers. I could go on and on but I think my suggestions could help.


Sugar Factory 

Shame on me, it’s been a long time! Anyway, I’m back and hope to blog on a consistent basis about life in New York, the things I see, and do. 

Last Sunday was a perfect day weather wise so I decided to visit the Sugar Factory restaurant in the Meatpacking District in the city. The last time I was there the location was literally about the size of a stamp, tight and cramped. If I wanted to I could have stretched in a fake yawn and dipped my hand in the chocolate fondue of the people sitting to my left. I mean I didn’t do it but I thought about it. 

I was surprised to find the restaurant moved right around the corner to a larger two story building. The tables are still way too close together but that’s how they do it here. 

See that big globe of goodness? This is the reason I went there. Pretty to look at, delicious to drink, fun to fish out the candy, and that’s where the fun ended. I contemplated if it was even safe to drink but you only live once! This was $36 and shared with my partner but the downside is the dry ice or whatever is put in there to make it bubble freezes this drink solid. Talk  about a disappointment. For a drink at that price, I want to drink to the last drop.  Save yourself the money and just search Instagram.

Food was good. Not great but good. It’s a step above Applebee’s, Friday’s type of food. I got the banana split waffles.  There were bits of crunchy chocolate candies mixed in there along with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. All this sounds heavy but it wasn’t. 

As for the vibe, lots of children and teens and very few adults who weren’t parents. Maybe this changes at night but it made me feel a little out of place. 

I will likely go back but it will probably be during the week and with friends and family from out of town. 

There are several locations open now in the NYC area. Check it out here.

New Year’s Day in the City

I planned to visit all kinds of places and take pictures during the holidays but clearly that didn’t happen.  This past weekend the sun, temperature (almost fifty), and free time made me venture out. 

First, I went to Bryant Park to check out the shops and food. Ice skating was completely out of the question because one, I can’t. Two, the line was long and three, I can’t. The next step was to find some food. I ended up with truffle fries and chimney cake which seemed like a huge deep fried churro with a filling of your choice. Pretend there’s no such thing as calories. At least that’s what I did. 

After that I went to check out the huge tree at The Rockefeller. Sadly it looked like an overgrown Charlie Brown tree. The branches were sparse and drooping.  That didn’t stop the crowd. There were hundreds of people out there as well as heavily armed NYPD officers.

Walked around a bit more and took these pics. 

Here’s to 2017 being a wonderful year!

Weekend Outing: Prospect Park 

Yesterday was the perfect day to walk around Prospect Park. The air was crisp and there was a slight chill but it was bright and sunny. I intended to visit during the peak of the leaf color change but I was too late. Most of the trees are bare, colors are fading, and there are more leaves on the ground than on branches.

I spent a few hours strolling the park and taking pics. I traveled an familiar route but didn’t feel bored.

My favorite part of yesterday’s visit was finally getting a decent pic of the beautiful swans. I spied at least four different ones this time. The geese send ducks weren’t shy either and I snapped a few pics of them as well.

The day at the park was the highlight of my weekend. I’m sure I will be there again before the year ends.

If traveling by car come early. Parking is a beast in this area. By train take the Q train to the Prospect Park stop. Check out my previous post about the park here.

Restaurant Review: Burger & Lobster

Burger. Lobster. Lobster roll. Those are your choices at this British based restaurant located in the Flatiron section of the city. One would think less choices would make people happy but some were not. More on that later.

So listen, I live in a place among millions and I am annoyed by most of them. I do not like people and they probably don’t care for my ass either.  That being the case, I try to arrive as early as I can when stores and restaurants open to avoid the crowd. The crowd eventually comes anyway but I feel joy when I’m the first person in the building. Is that weird?

See empty! I was shocked by the size of this restaurant. It’s spacious with more seating available downstairs. 

I ordered a combo for one which consists of a six ounce burger, a one lb steamed lobster, a small salad, and fries with garlic butter for dipping. If I recall this was $33.00 but don’t quote me. 

Remember I said some people were not happy at the beginning of this post? Apparently the prices were bumped by a few dollars in the last few months and people were big mad about it in the reviews I read online. You used to be able to get a 1.5 pound lobster with fries and salad for $20. Now it’s $28. For $20 it’s only a 1 lb lobster with fries and salad. On top of that there are now three different types of lobster rolls instead of the one. 

As a newcomer the price change looked comparable to other restaurants in the city serving seafood but what do I know? Now back to the food.

For me, the combo for one was just a little too much food for me. I ordered it after seeing complaints that the 1 lb lobster was not filling enough. I guess when I saw 6 oz burger I was expecting a little flimsy McDonald’s like cheeseburger. No bih. This was a real burger, medium well, with bacon, tomato, greens, and a fluffy seeded bun.

Overall I enjoyed my visit and would go back again even though I am not the biggest fans of chains. I am, however, a seafood fan and although I am sure this wasn’t the highest quality it was not bottom of the barrel either.

Burger & Lobster is located at 39 W 19th Street. Take the N or R to 23rd Street. More info about the restaurant is on their website here.

Restaurant Review: Dough

I finally checked out Dough, a doughnut and coffee shop with locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

 Dough has a variety of flavors from the standard glazed to more adventurous flavors like hibiscus, matcha, and blood orange. While this is all well and good I’m not that daring when it comes to my sweets and ordered a mocha almond crunch cake donut.

The place was packed and the line was steady. The staff was pleasant and I liked that. I took my doughnut to go because there was nowhere to sit. 

I ate it when I got home and I was impressed by the size (huge!), the softness, and the flavor of the doughnut. Honestly the serving size to me is enough for two.

More on Dough here.

Code Words

I’ve come to learn the words “unauthorized person on the tracks” and “customer injury” usually means some poor man or woman has decided to end his or her life by being hit by the train. 

I was caught up in both of these incidents since the L train is one of the trains I take to get home. I didn’t know what was going on until I reached the L train platform and saw what seemed to be hundreds of people waiting. 

Eventually I got home but the attitudes of people I overheard and online disgusted me. People criticized why someone would commit suicide during rush hour and why they continued to choose the L line instead of the many other lines here. 

I will admit it is an inconvenience to find other ways to get home when something like this happens. But the thing is I’m well enough to get on a bus, call someone, or get an Uber to get home. I didn’t decide to hurl myself on electrified tracks to get mangled to death by a moving subway train. I’m gon’ be all right and with God’s grace I continue to get home in one piece and unharmed. The people who passed no longer have that luxury and were clearly not in a great mental space. That deserves sympathy, not attacks. 

I wish there was more compassion when it came to this. I wish there was some kind of barrier to prevent people from getting on the tracks so easily, currently there is none. And I wish instead of code words the MTA announced what really happened.