There are various transportation-related decisions that a New Yorker needs to make on a regular basis; take the local or hang back for the express, wait for the bus or walk, or screw it all and hail a taxi. Today I faced one of these vital judgement calls. It was M60 bus VS. N train, with an awful transfer through the tunnel, to the A train. Goal: Get from Astoria to the Upper West Side.
It was a BEAUTIFUL day, so I thought, "It might be nice to walk outside to the bus, and then enjoy the magnificent view of the East River and the sights of Harlem from the window." So I arrive at the bus stop, after a fair bit of a walk (but it will be worth the 'no transfering' that this bus will provide), though quickly, I begin to question my decision. I don't know what it is about buses and bus stops, but there is clearly a higher concentration of crazies on both accounts. Rules: Do NOT say hello to anyone. Do NOT make eye contact. And NEVER react to anyone's eccentric behavior. Just walk away. Just walk away.
The M60 finally pulls up, and it is completely full. Sardines full. Seats and aisles. I had a bit of false hope that everyone would get off, but no. And this is New York, so we are GETTING ON THAT BUS. The driver begins to yell for everyone to move back, "If you can't fit behind this line, then get off the bus!"
People in the back: "There's no more room back here, we can't move!"
Driver: "WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE UNTIL PEOPLE MOVE BACK OR PEOPLE GET OUT!" (And no one was going to get off...are you kidding.) People start flipping out...understandably. Curse word! Curse word! At this point in the trip, I still think all this is pretty amusing and laugh quietly, to myself, so I won't get beaten. And let me tell you, it did not take long for that smile to be wiped off my smart mouth.
We eventually make enough leeway to allow for us to depart, and at least make it to Manhattan. And no...I did not see the sparkling East River in all her glory. The only thing I could think about was, "Ah, I hope my eggs don't get crushed!" (Because I was carrying some eggs. I was on my way to go bake with my friend.) May I also mention that there is no air conditioning on a bus in February...even if its 65 degrees outside and 100 degrees inside.
Amidst the yells and stank air, there was an outspoken etiquette police who confidently called people out for their poor manners; A punk kid trash talking a woman (who apparently bumped into him?!?!??? really?), and a girl sitting in a 'Priority Seating' seat (Funny story with this girl actually. She was with a friend of hers who later asked her, "Is this what you thought it'd be like to visit New York?" I think the poor thing had JUST come from the airport. If she knew any better she'd just stay on the bus till it looped around back to the airport.). After several bus stops of commuters shoving off and on and shouting irritably at one another, I just HAD to get off the bus. I didn't care if it wasn't my stop or not. I would gladly walk. Past the Apollo, past the 'I heart Harlem' t-shirts, past the Popeye's, sticking out like a sore thumb all the way. White girl carrying her carton of eggs. (They were unharmed, by the way. I'm sure you were concerned.)
Eventually, after a few blocks and a hike uphill, I made it to my friend's place, in a foul foul mood.
The lesson: Guys, don't take the bus. Its not worth it. In challenge, M60 bus VS. N train+tunnel+A train, the latter was the champ. Even if Shelob was in that tunnel, I can't imagine it being worse than that bus ride.