Tag Archives: grand central

The Case Against Cars (Especially Taxis)

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I hate taxis.

I don’t think cars belong in New York City in general.

I think people who think they need to drive or taxi everywhere when there’s a perfectly awesome subway and train system are dumb.

I think if people didn’t take cabs everywhere after 11 p.m., the MTA would be forced to provide better after-hours service.

I’ll admit that I’ve enjoyed a ride home in my friend Beth’s car from time to time. I’ll admit that after a 5-hour dinner with Kamran, it feels good to be dropped off at his doorstep and rolled inside. And I’ll admit that our trip to the Hamptons last weekend might not have even been possible if my group of friends didn’t have four cars. But for the most part, I’d love to see cars banned in the city, and I’d happily give up my quick trips home from late-night karaoke if it meant there weren’t any taxis on the road.

More than cabs themselves, I hate the people who drive them. I really do. They’re generally smelly, generally unfriendly, and generally the worst drivers you’ve ever seen.

They cut each other off.

They nearly run over pedestrians at every turn.

They drive infinitely faster than the streets allow, leaving their passengers bumped and bruised.

It costs $2.50 to $3 just to sit down in one, which is already more than it costs to go as far as you want in the subway, and then you have getting charged for standing in traffic to look forward to. They expect to be tipped for their awful service and will grunt at you no matter how much extra you give. Hilariously, the default tip on the touchscreen payment system in the back of every cab is 20%, and it only goes up from there.

And my absolute biggest cab peeve is the way some of the drivers will cut across four lanes of traffic to pick you up. I understand that this sort of service should please me, but they inevitably have to drive an extra half-block to make it all the way over, and no, I’m not taking a walk down the street just for the pleasure of watching you almost cause three accidents, thanks.

Yet on my way home from the Hamptons on Sunday, I broke down and took a cab. My friends Ash and Michael had dropped me off near the 7 train in Queens with even more stuff than I’d left with: my purse, a bag of clothes, a bag of leftover food, a bag of my Rollerblading gear, and my Rollerblades themselves. That coupled with the fact that it was approximately 4000 degrees had left me more in the mood to eat the cold tails off a glass of disgusting cocktail shrimp than walk to Kamran’s apartment.

Oh, also? I had fallen down and hit my head on the asphalt on Friday while trying to learn to Rollerblade with the help of my friend Christine, so there was a searing headache to help me along. Oh, and also, I was stupid and got ridiculously sunburnt on my back and shoulders, so carrying anything on them was out of the question.

So I stood on the street outside of Grand Central, and I let a cab driver make a U-turn on 42nd Street to pick me up, and I paid him $5 to drive me a mere 2 avenue blocks and 1 street block, and I felt like it was worth every penny, even when he grunted at me.

Not only because I couldn’t hold on to those skates for another minute, but because while I’d been waiting outside of Grand Central, I’d tried to flag down a previous cab, but he’d been cruising at approximately 90 MPH and had whipped past me before slamming on his brakes. I knew he was waiting for me just a little way down the street, but my bags were on the ground, and there was no way I was going to pick them back up and walk with them. He eventually started honking at me, and you can bet I didn’t so much as look his way until he sped off again.

I win!

Is It Racist?

Filed under fun times on the subway, living in new york sucks so hard
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Yesterday morning, I got to Grand Central fairly late, so the morning rush had mostly passed, and I got a comfortable spot on the train. It was held at the station for a few minutes, though, so my comfortable spot soon became cramped as more and more people came down to the platform and tried to pack themselves into the train. Just before the doors closed, a large black man crammed himself in as far as he could, but it wasn’t enough. The doors kept trying to close and then opening back up again, and the man kept thrusting his belly farther and farther into people’s backs to make room, hoping he would finally fit.

A white lady near me got annoyed finally and said, “Get out! There’s not enough room for you.” The man said, “There would be enough room if people would move in.” I disagreed with this, as I was crushed against the person next to me to the point that I couldn’t retrieve my Kindle from my bag, and I was at the point in my book where a vampire baby was about to be born to a human, so you know I would’ve done anything I could to get to it. The woman also disagreed and said, “Where am I supposed to go?! The huge empty space over there?” She was being sarcastic. The guy said, “All of the hot air coming out of you sure is taking up a lot of room.” The woman said, “Oh, great. Another one of them with an attitude.”

The black woman next to me whipped her head around to look at the white lady so fast that I could hear the wind she created whooshing by me, but . . . surely that’s not what she meant, right?

Just Your Average Day on the Bus

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I saw a woman on the bus today who had my hair! It was a pixie cut that had grown out into loose S-shaped waves woven together like a basket. Obviously she was black, and obviously it was a wig, because this sort of freak hair doesn’t occur in nature.

When she got off, I noticed that this jerk who always steals seats from little old ladies was sitting in one of the single-person seats. I stared at the ugly cluster of moles on his neck and felt a sudden urge to ask him, “Are you developmentally disabled?” Because I really think it would help me understand him. But after Charles’s warning yesterday that I’m going to get punched one of these days, I decided not to tempt it.

And then, as I was going down the stairs into Grand Central, first an old woman was blocking the entrance while she talked on her cell phone, and then the guy in front of me on the stairs was walking waaaaaay too slowly, so I looked around him and saw that he was reading his paper as he descended.

Kill! Kill! Kill!


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(I’m not going to make you click on the link to Examiner.com to finish the story like usual, but if you want to earn me a little cash, anyway, here’s the link. Thanks!)

The platform was crowded at Grand Central this morning, and it would’ve certainly been reasonable for me to hang back for the next train, but I could see through the windows that people weren’t moving to the center of the car to make room, and I wasn’t going to let them think that was okay.

So I pushed my way on with everyone else, and I fit just fine. The guy behind me kept rearranging himself, though, so I was getting pushed into the woman in front of me. Who, by the way, was one of those stop-immediately-inside-the-door-and-block-it-for-everyone-else types. I figured that being punched in the ribs a little is one of the most charming aspects of the morning commute, but I guess I got shoved into her one too many times, because she turned and said with the grossest pinched-nose accent, “EXCUSE ME!” Except it sound like, “exCUUUUUZE MAAAAAAY!” I was a good three inches taller than her, and I was still pressed up against her, so I looked down at her in all of her blue-eyeshadowed glory with my most intimidating face and said, “It’s not my fault, lady; I’m being pushed. Calm. The fuck. Down.“

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah. “Calm the fuck down.” You think being told to calm down in an argument cuts? Insert the word fuck at 8:30 a.m.

I had to stand there next to her until we got down to Union Square, and it was uncomfortable, sure, but I felt justified, and she had luckily turned her head away from me. When the train doors opened, people left, we repositioned ourselves in different parts of the car, and I got my Kindle out to continue reading book 4 of the Twilight series. (What?) I didn’t think about her again.

And then, safely inside my office building, guess who walked into my elevator. Future work BFFs!

My Lunch is of Less Value Than My Pride

Filed under fun times on the subway, good times at everyone else's expense, living in new york sucks so hard, my uber-confrontational personality
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Yesterday morning, I decided to bring a bag of frozen broccoli with me to work in an attempt to be a sliver more healthy. Needing a carrying vessel, I asked my boyfriend if I could use a stray Saks bag floating around his apartment and was delighted to find that it was the perfect height and depth for broccoli-toting.

As you may have noticed, I often take the bus across 42nd Street to Grand Central, because I get a thrill from having people drive me around since I barely know anyone with a car here. And also because I’m lazy. But this morning, I was feeling anxious about the end of summer and decided to walk it instead. Swinging my brand new lunch bag, I took in the sights of two businessmen stretching the backs of their suits as they embraced and the new look of the Pfizer building now that the giant photomosaics have been removed from every window. It was a great way to start the day.

But then I got to the east stairwell on the outside of Grand Central, which is very narrow for the amount of people who use it. A stream of passengers was attempting to take up the entire staircase, which just seems impossible to me. Having been raised correctly and not by savages, I just don’t have it in me to use the wrong sides of stairs, so I assume that everyone else realizes when they’re in the wrong, too.

But no, with every step, I found myself having to thwart collisions with businesspeople and babies alike.

Read the rest here.