Thursday, December 22, 2005

Transit Strike Day Three and Last Day

It's over! I was feeling particularly cranky and irritated like every other New Yorker. Tired, sore and sick of bundling up self for another alternative trek to work. I promised myself that if the strike continued into Friday, then fk work, let my aching body relax, do some cleaning before taking the Amtrak upstate for the weekend. BUT - I wondered what today would bring.

I overslept this morning, I hit the snooze button for over an hour. My blackberry has this annoying blasting vibrate so I m always quick to grab it, tap in the PW and click on snooze. I could barely feel the pager blasting away under my pillow. I slept a little more then finally noticed the time. Ooh. My aching body protested as I pushed myself out of my cocoon. I needed to frame few pictures, one a Christmas/Chanukah gift so I thought, why not walk by the frame store in the neighborhood, drop them off and pick them up later today or tomorrow. I also had a UPS package to pick up (another xmas gift).

The store wasn't slated to open til 11 am and I couldn't wait long enough as I had to meet a colleague in the Lower East Side at noon. You know you see those frame stores every few blocks or so. So I decided to take my chances. I walked down Broadway and nothing. It was a lovely morning though, less cold and I had a lighter coat on. I took in the scene on Broadway, the Times Square, and then Herald Square carrying two small prints and one LARGE print already dry mounted. I took the PATH to 9th street and 5th avenue. Still quite a hike to the LES. I paged my co worker asking to go on line to find any frame stores nearby.. she sent me a few.. some were out of the way and others, after losing 30 minutes, were either shut down or no longer existed. Deciding that I'd had enough exercise I walked to the other of my offices.

It was around then that I was informed that the state mediator announced the transit workers would be allowed to return to work while the final negotiations went on. But the timetables for service to resume weren't set. I hoped at least a bus or train line would be running on the west side before I finished work. Then it was announced that it'd be 10-18 hours before even limited service would be run. Thousands and thousands of buses and train cars were left in lots unused so the MTA had to check engines, ensure that the oil didn't congeal in the cold weather, update the fare boxes and check the subway rails for dust. Turned out that the managers (nonunion, naturally) had empty cars running along the tracks the last three days to prevent the rails from rusting. I'm no student of maintenance so I'm not sure how the rails would rust in few days. But it makes sense for equipment that's been used practically daily for the last 25 years since the previous strike. From what I understand the train tunnels and safety conditions have seen little improvement since 1904. So the transit union is a remnant of the long gone days of industrial revolution.

A co worker offered me a ride to midtown to pick up her husband and I took it. The traffic from downtown to midtown was an absolute bitch, bumper to bumper. I was ruefully thinking that with the train, I'd be home long ago. Eventually we reached our destination point 46 blocks and half hour later. I thanked the co worker and set off to the west side from the east. Bit of bumping into pedestrians because of my cumbersome dry mounted poster and the winds were starting to pick up. The poster was like a rudder out of control. Perfect timing because I hadn't seen much wind (winds in winter time are something fierce. maybe mother nature took pity on us) since the transit strike began. I arrived at the frame store made some arrangements, then walked to the UPS store which was a ways off my route home. But - trains and buses would be back in service tomorrow and might as well grease my pumped up leg muscles with a final long walk. I then discovered that my package was somewhere on a conveyor (I called the previous night arranging to pick up the package) and they couldn't locate it. Huh? He gave me the office phone number to call a guy who 'deals' with package like mine (as in missing??)I ranted a sentence or two, saying this has never happened before and I am leaving town the next day. There's a Christmas gift in there. The UPS guy gave me a look and shrug that plainly said "it's-your-fault-that-you-ordered-a-xmas-gift-late". I knew he was right and scowled at him as a New Yorker would at this inconvenience. Oh well - least my sister can enjoy an extended Christmas.

So -it's been a real good experience and I've appreciated this city even more. I walked through some neighborhoods for the first time ever or first time in quite a long time. I am so looking forward to Rural to get away from this steel and concrete city with tiny apartments and delicate transportation.

Will post a note soon about thoughts on union. I know my dad will relish in calling me a pinko again - been a while since my grad school days since he's called me that.


Blogger Ben said...

merry christmas :)

12/25/2005 12:08 AM  

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