A Long Strange Trip

“And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny.” Aldous Huxley – A Brave New World p. 16

Like most New Yorkers, I’ve had what could best be described as The Commute From Hell. Thanks to a tornado assisted torrential rain it took me about 5 hours to get from 184th and Bennett to 4 New York Plaza. Normally this is a simple matter of taking the A-Train to Broadway Nassau/Fulton and then the 4/5 to Bowling Green and it takes about 45-50 minutes.
Today’s commute reads more like like one of Billy’s adventures in
Family Circus:

  1. A-Train from 181st stop gets stuck underground for 30-45 minutes, finally reaching 145.
  2. I head topside at 145 to see how the buses are running. After some waiting there I head back down into the subway where the train from which I had disembarked is still parked.
  3. A-Train goes local until 110 or so. I get fed up and walk a few avenues to the 1 line
  4. The 1 not faring much better, I walk to 96th street to hedge bets with the 2/3.
  5. Turns out that line is messed up too, so I take a crosstown bus to try the east side.
  6. Pick up the 6 at 96th and Lex.
  7. Due to the flooding at 59th street, the 6 stops at 68th street prompting a transfer to the N line.
  8. From the N I transfer one more time to pick up the R.
  9. R goes to Whitehall Station which is a block or so from the office

Keeping in mind that all this included numerous delays, slow running trains, packed corners, and hot muggy weather. Total time: just under 5 hours.
Still a few good things came out of it. For one, between both commutes I started and finished Aldous Huxley’s dystopian tale A Brave New World. And keeping a positive attitude during this trek, I did get to meet a whole slew of interesting people whom I’d otherwise have ignored from bankers, lawyers, to a Hofstra PhD student. As a whole people seemed exasperated, but some in better spirits than others. But while I was imagining a transit strike under Bloomber’s theoretical congestion pricing scheme, I was also privy to some of my fellow commuters erudite discourses of civil engineering and political theory, featuring such profundities as “these guys are all morons” and “this is f—ing bulls—t” (an apparent consensus).
O brave new world that has such people in it, indeed.


  1. yair
  2. Shana
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