Sorry, Everyone In Brooklyn, The MTA Won’t Be Refunding Your MetroCard

If we can learn anything from Taylor Momsen’s character on Gossip Girl (known for atrociously showing up to her Upper East Side high school armed with only “a bagged lunch and a MetroCard”), it’s that only people who live in Brooklyn take the subway – like, ever. Obviously, those NYU students in their cushy and cozy (sometimes very, very cozy) East Village apartments roll out of bed and directly into a car service every morning, and have all of their food and other wordly needs delivered to them. So it is only those brave souls (seniors) amongst the NYU student body who are affected by the MTA’s decision not to refund unlimited MetroCards, rendered unusable for nearly 1/4 of their lifespans (in some areas) during Hurricane Sandy.

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New Uptown 6 Train Transfer Offers Convenience And Potential Acid Trips For Riders

Well, that took long enough. After seven years of delays, changes, and other construction issues, riders on the B, D, F, and M trains are finally able to transfer from the Broadway-Lafayette Station to the uptown 6 train at Bleecker Street.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday was attended by numerous New York politicians, including Transit President Thomas Prendergast and MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, as well as Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, assembly member Deborah Glick and councilmember Margaret Chin. Those who spoke before the opening praised the new transfer as well as the numerous problems the MTA still faces.

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Anti-Islamic Ads To Go Up In NYC Subway System

Starting this week, ten New York City subway stations will show new anti-Islamic ads from a new  campaign by “American blogger, author, political activist, and commentator” Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). In red and blue letters against a stark black background, the ad reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Last September, Geller submitted the ad to the MTA and showcased on her personal blog. The MTA denied her request, citing the word “savage” as “demean[ing] an individual or group of individuals.” However, instead of changing the ad, Geller sued the MTA for violating her free speech. And, in July, the courts ruled in her favor. In his decision, Federal Judge Paul A. Engelmayer wrote that “whatever weight might be assigned to the governmental interest in banning demeaning speech on the exterior of New York City buses on an even-handed basis, there is no good reason for protecting some individuals and groups, but not others, from such abuse.” And now, by court order, the MTA must run the ads. Read more…


The Love Below: A Guide To NYC Subway Crushes

Inasmuch as every New Yorker believes that he/she is living a quirky sitcom, taking the subway is the “bottle episode.” All bets are off: The rules of the surface world do not apply! Children breakdance, usually. If you, like me, love to people-watch but do not like to be touched, subway crushes are perfect relationships. Everybody gets ‘em: A brief, typically wordless session of crazy-eyes tennis, then your crush or yourself gets off the train and re-enters polite society.

Some subway crushes are more memorable than others, and sometimes you might be tempted to reach out and ask if you can see a guy/gal on the other side of the turnstiles. Don’t do it! You will appear creepy and you will humiliate yourself. Your crush will make an excuse and scoot his/her Trader Joes bags down to the other end of the car to avoid you. Don’t worry, though: There are plenty of tasteful, sensitive, non-verbal ways to make that subway crush your street sweetheart. Here are a few methods proven to work – with testimonials!

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MTA Fixes Will Mean Nightly Shutdowns of Entire Subway Lines Next Year

Next year Brooklynites will have more to complain about besides whether or not the L is running. According to the New York Daily News, the MTA will close large portions of subway lines in both Brooklyn and Manhattan from 10 PM to 5 AM for up to four days in a row for repairs to tracks and equipment.

The commute curfew will begin with the 6, the first line to be repaired, between 42nd Street and either Bowling Green in lower Manhattan or Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The majority of the repairs will also be below 42nd Street since most tracks have nearby parallel lines below 42nd, so walking to another line shouldn’t be as difficult for riders.

The MTA expects this all-at-once approach to be more cost effective and safer since workers will not have to finish repairs next to running subways. Work that is currently being done requires massive planning and coordination between conductors and workers to let trains through work zones without causing damage.  Read more…


MTA Considers Banning Food And Drinks On Subways

Enjoy your morning bagel and coffee on the L train while you can — the MTA just might ban both of those soon. As a video of two subway riders brawling after one complained about the other’s spaghetti went viral, MTA board members publicly floated the idea of banning food and drinks on subways altogether.

According to the Daily News, however, the MTA isn’t really concerned that your 4 train falafel starting another subway fight, but rather that the food and drinks you throw away attract rats and cause fires. Or as one board member put it, “We have to do something to make it clear that the public has to wake up” (cue: Arcade Fire).

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WSJ Doubts Your Ability to Use a MetroCard

MetroCards: hard, am I right?!? Always making you swipe again at the same turnstile or having insufficient fare. So bitch. It’s okay though, because the Wall Street Journal has the solution.

To kick off its new “Greater New York” (let’s-destroy-the NYT) section yesterday, WSJ got all servicey and included a MetroCard tutorial by Ralph Gardner Jr. It’s called, slimily enough, “Swipe It, Swipe It Good” and starts with a confusing anecdote about two Chinese mathematicians whose MetroCards didn’t work and somehow this led to them being taken to Central Booking by the NYPD (what?).

Here’s Gardner’s helpful diagram:
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Notes from the Underground

Didn’t get enough of intriguing transit workers from the movie Pelham 123? A&E is coming to the rescue. The network, which seems to have an inclination to follow fascinating transit workers with their past series Airline and the current Parking Wars, is in the process of developing a new project about our very own New York City transit workers. The reliable MTA that gets us to our classes, jobs, and internships on time is now going to have the spotlight put on the very people that run the largest transit system in the country. Back in November, administrators were asked to survey their employees to see who was interested and who had a story worth telling. Since then, producers have interviewed about workers in Grand Central to see what kind of material they could bring to the screen. However, production has been stalled, as many things have, by shortage of funds. Shooting began last month for a 15-minute sample episode that could end up being the beginning of an entire series. In a stark contrast to what many focus on in regards to New York City (coughTHEREALHOUSEWIVESOFNEWYORKCITYcough), this series will reveal the lives of the individuals that help our wonderful city run so smoothly.


Putting Your Feet on a Subway Seat? That’ll be $50, Please.

I definitely did not know this was a law, but apparently it is illegal to occupy more than one seat on a New York City subway. This includes putting your feet up or setting your bags down on another seat. Between January and November of 2009, the police have issued 8,700 tickets to people who have taken up more than one seat, which is a 17% increase since 2008. Taking up an extra seat is a $50 ticket.

Strangely, many of the tickets issued for this offense have been on late night rides when the subway has been mostly empty. On one 5:30 am ride in Queens, a cop ordered all the passengers in one car – a total of seven – to exit because they were all taking up more than their allotted space.

Recently, a Stuyvesant High School senior (bound for NYU!) was punished with a $50 ticket for putting his feet up on a seat when there were four other people in the car at 2:30 am. After getting off the train to transfer to another, a cop stopped him and accused him of wasting space and being “nasty.” Rude.

A cop had to explain to another offender that, “Recently we’ve been told to write tickets instead of giving warnings for this type of thing.” Apparently they have some sort of seat-hogging ticket quota to fill.

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