Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Track 17 - Lemmings on the edge

I recall a particular game commonly found at almost every amusement park; its the one where the coins are perched precipitously on a continuously moving ledge and the goal is to add another coin in the hope that it will knock several others over the ledge for you to collect. How many of you knew that the game was inspired by Track 17? Well, maybe not, but the wacko that designed that track probably also designed obstacle courses.

Track 17 is my least favorite track, not to imply that I enjoy any other track in particular, but arriving at Penn on that track is really a crappy way to start the day. If you get off toward the middle of the train, the platform has a somewhat normal width, but as you walk forward, there's one tiny stairway that is always overflowing with people, because its as wide as a rope ladder. Passengers naturally pass it up and continue moving to the front of the platform, where, slowly but surely, the track quickly begins to narrow to the size of Indian foot path. What makes things worse is the fact that there are large columns in the middle of the platform that force people to the outer ledge, except for the skinny passengers that can turn sideways and squeeze through. So how do you know if you're fat? Dont ask your spouse because you'll never get a straight answer. Try making it past those two columns -- they'll never lie.

Another odd thing about Track 17 is its entrance next to McDonalds. Its like crawling out of a manhole. The other tracks have grand entrances, brass handrails, wide stairways, etc. Track 17's entrance is truly the "servant's entrance" of all the tracks. Even the conductor hates it when the train arrives there, and then they make us feel badly -- "Arriving on Track 17, I hate my life, and I'm ashamed of my passengers." Really, I heard that, and then I ran right into TRACKS to grab a 8AM.

I remember when I first started taking the railroad and thought how odd it was that everyone on my train rushed into McDonalds when their train was called. Couldn't they wait until they got home for dinner? I thought that I really was on the loser train until I realized the terrible truth, and I descended into that BO steambath. All the passengers were tightly packed on the platform, putting their lives at risk in order to make sure they're one of the first to get on. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those types too. After all, who doesn't think they "win" when they're first on the train.

Track 17 is like the 7 1/2 floor from "Being John Malkovich." Its only a matter of time before we're all spit out of a ditch on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. But be warned, that's a step-up fare.

1 comment:

Nassau Commuter said...

It really is incredible how poorly planned and how antiquated the whole LIRR is. But why should us NYS taxpayers expect anything better. We should all be happy and amazed that things aren't even worse!

I can't wait to get out of NY.