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NYC Subway Rant Number Two: A/C and The D

Welcome to my rant. 

 

RANT: There IS Such A Thing As Too Much Air Conditioning

As an innocent victim of menopause, I am not one to take air conditioning for granted. Especially not as someone who rode the New York City subways back when A/C was hit and miss and generally miss. But this summer it’s something altogether different and more horrifying. I get on the D in the morning, sweating, Chinese iced coffee in my hand, and it’s wonderful. I’m cool in only a few minutes. So refreshing. But then I realize I’m getting cold. Within ten minutes I’m so cold the skin of my arms is starting to hurt, and I’ve got goose bumps the size of nipples. It doesn’t get any warmer on the trip over the East River. It’s so cold that the lower level of the West 4th Street Station is a BLESSING to transfer through. Sure, summer heat sucks, but it brings with it a half-conscious, borderline psychedelic state that I don’t really have a problem with in comparison to feeling my skin freeze. You know like when you stick your arm into a bucket of ice water and there’s the moment you want to take it out, then you need to take it out, but if you’re on the subway, the feeling continues for another half an hour? Just more proof that the MTA will do anything within its power to torture us.

Reality: get a sweater, bitch!   

 

Rant: The Deconstruction Of The 9th Avenue D Station

I’m not going to tell you how cool it is where I live because I don’t want you to move here. It’s a magical area. I’ve lived here five years and the hipsters have finally started catching on. Not good. It was the kind of neighborhood that was so far out there were almost no mail boxes or garbage cans when I moved here, and there was this fantastic retro train station. It’s still there, and still cool, but what they’ve done to it is senseless.

Fireworks from my train station, 4th of July, 2012

The 9th Avenue D station is unique—the functioning  platforms  are half a flight down and open to the elements but for the bird-infested roofs. The station is  surrounded by trees and the rotting trunks they cut down three years ago. Tiny house sparrows vie for pieces of breakfast on the platform in front of you. There’s an MTA building behind barbed wire, and a huge lot with crisscrossing tracks, and at the south end of the platform you can see up into the endless sky where the trains rise to the elevated tracks beyond. It’s magical and terrifying at the same time. For full historic  details on and photos of my station click

http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Station:_9th_Avenue_(West_End)

For the last two to three years, “they” have been “improving” the train station. This has meant it has been loudly under construction when open, and closed half the time. They removed the benches and garbage cans a couple years ago, replacing them with almost exact replicas just last month. Almost every single improvement has been senseless, sometimes bordering on cruel. Big new windows that open in at the tops of the stairs, waiting to burrow into someone’s skull if cranked too far. They moved the token booth, put in modern lighting, and revealed the original bathroom signs only to use these rooms for staff and storage—how’s that for a slap in the face, late-night beer-drinkers!

But the thing that galls me most of all is the new doors. The station had been so old that the doors to the street were wood and swung easily, and there were no doors between the entry area and the stairs down to the open platforms. This was great because the neighborhood is like 75% seniors. But now, there are heavy metal doors at both the street entrance and the entrances to the stairs down to the platforms, doors so tight on their hinges that almost no one wants to open them. There are four doors at each spot, and sometimes the transit workers tie one door in each area open, or people just pass each other the door, one after the other. This results in a extensive clogs every time a rush hour train pulls in, and I can’t imagine how people who are weight-pulling challenged cope if they’re alone and the doors are closed. Not that you could get a wheel chair in or out of that station—they did not choose to include something as useful as that.

They’ve done nothing done at all in regards to the birds and their shit, including not moving the benches away from their favorite shit spot, and the piles of dead trees still lie between the flowering weeds. But there’s a beautiful skylight now, and a fantastically elegant copper roof. It looks like they’re building small brick-floored parks behind the fences on either side of the building. So I’m not saying it isn’t pretty. I’m just saying perhaps they could have done a little less pretty and a little more user-friendly.

Of course my real issue is why “they” are renovating this particular station—it’s because we first stage gentrifiers have settled in and it’s time to make more money off us while luring in the Yuppies. Back off you greedy bastards, I say, back off!

Reality: what a lovely new roof my train station has!
The station in transition

Thanks for listening to my Subway Rants!