View From the Train
Winter snow storms, like the one right after this past New Year, can turn the train ride into a snow globe. They were still cleaning the station platform when I pulled up for a late “snow day” train. Rather than take the day off, I wait for the plows to do my road and go in late. We prepare to leave the station when Conductor Eddy yells out his signature, “All aboard!” I get goosebumps of excitement as the doors close and we take off. The 6:55 is perfect on days like this and mainly for the ride alone; the sun won’t come up until around 7:30, so it’s still dawn’s early light. Read more
The Marine was seated across the aisle from me, in one of the end seats with his gear on one side of the seat and his head down, writing holiday cards. Desert fatigues neatly pressed, haircut high and tight, black boots glistening from the polish. Read more
This is the time of year when college students make their way home for the holiday break. The train was crowded when we pulled out of Secaucus Station, and I was comfortably seated by the window of a three-seater, sharing it with a guy from Middletown, NY. (We commuters see each other every day, and we rarely know each other’s names, just where we disembark.) Read more
It was a nice crisp October Saturday morning as the better half and I sat with our morning coffee. I had one section of the paper and she the other. “Today would be a beautiful day for a train ride through the mountains,” is what I heard. I looked over the rim of my glasses and in my best Robert DeNiro said, “Are you talking to me?”, quoting his character Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver.” Then the explanation came: in the town of Jim Thorpe, PA, there is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, which winds through the beautiful mountains, and the scenery is amazing this time of year. Read more
As the final days of summer begin to wane, one of my favorite things to do at work is to take an afternoon coffee break. Standing outside my building on 8th Avenue, cup in hand, on any nice day, we call the break the “2 p.m. freak show.” At this time of day, the working world is back in its cubicles, while the streets are taken over by the traveling minstrel show of misfits. It seems the nice weather brings them all out of their closets. Read more
People find many ways to pass time on the train. One of the most common is reading. I am a printer by trade; naturally I love the look and feel of ink on paper. I can read the New York Post on my iPad, but I still buy the paper from the guy on the street in front of Penn Station every night. I can’t say I deplore the new digital reading devices, but I find them cold and unfriendly, so it always warms my heart to see people reading books. One of the frequent flyers of my morning commute is a strange duck to say the least. Read more
It is said, “A good man is hard to find”—especially if he is a car mechanic. It is with a heavy heart I viewed the sign at Wayne’s Midas in Port Jervis, NY that said they were closing because they lost their lease. Wayne is not only a good mechanic but a good man as well.
Located a short walk from the train station in Port Jervis, it was always a great convenience for this commuter to be able to drop off my truck in the morning and still make the 5:05 a.m. train. I would faithfully get a call around 2:30 p.m. that my truck was ready and the key was locked inside. Read more
School’s out for the summer, and it starts to show on the Port Jervis train around early June, when the college kids return. Early July, the trains are carrying families up for a summer visit with Grandma and Grandpa, some for weekend stays, others for longer “parent mental health” days. Read more
We are all creatures of habit. My morning routine, in order to make the train at the crack of dawn, depends on a number of things happening. One, my clothing must be laid out the night before (if my tie is going to match); two, my lunch must be packed and in the fridge; and three, the pups have to come in after being let out for their morning romp. (Dexter and Toby, please don’t chase the deer today.). Finally, the car must be gassed up and ready to go, and I need to leave 10 minutes early in case there are any problems driving through Hawk’s Nest. Read more
“Go West, Young Man!” Well, that is exactly the advice this Brooklyn boy took 12 years ago when I moved west to Glen Spey in Sullivan County to make it my year-round home.
However, there’s another saying with a promise of its own—“There are great riches in the East!” and for the readers of this column, the East is New York City—the Big Apple. Five days a week I arise at the crack of dawn and head east, commuting to my desk in a midtown Manhattan office, across the street from New York’s Penn Station (aka NYPenn).
It’s a full life. Read more