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Posts Tagged ‘Train station’

After spending a couple of hours at the beach, we reluctantly decided we had to head back to the cottage, shower, pack up and meet our friend, Joe for dinner. Making the decision to get up and go from the beach is like an Italian good-bye. First you have to come to a consensus and then it’s gathering up the newspapers, throwing out the trash, shaking the sand from the towels, repacking the lotions, books, visor etc. and folding the towels to fit into my new beach cart. I FINALLY bought a Tommy Bahamas beach cart to use in lieu of my wagon, which takes up too much room in my shed. This contraption holds the beach chairs, the umbrella, a cooler of its own, the towels, the beach bag and anything else you want to toss in. It’s great – getting it up the stairs from the beach to the boardwalk is a bitch!

 Of course once back at the cottage we now have to unpack everything we just loaded into the cart so by now a half hour has passed since we decided to leave the beach. I still have to shower, pack up some fruit Wendy and I ma want to snack on the train and pack up my computer. I call Joe and suggest we meet at Mom’s at 7pm. Here comes the first glitch – all weekend long, Joe and I had been texting over whether I should cook dinner (because last week I did invite him to dinner) or go out. He suggested we make it easy all around and go out. OK but can we pick him up because he doesn’t really like to drive in the dark, Michael usually does that but Michael is in San Francisco living it up (we’ve seen the photo!). Now this IS a problem;

For the last couple of weeks I have been nagging (yes I am a nagger) Peter to get the air conditioners out of storage and install them in the cottage. I haven’t been entirely successful in getting this accomplished because every day that has been hot has been followed by a lovely breezy evening with temperatures dropping just enough to make sleeping a dream! However, I was able to insist on Friday that he pick them up and bring them back to the cottage and guess where they remained? In the back of our SUV! As large as our RAV4 is, once you put the seats down in the back, there was room for the 3 air conditioners, the milk crate (see previous post) AND THE ELEPHANT! One seat had to be returned to upright so Wendy could sit in the back and that left no room for Joe!

 I know I sounded silly trying to explain to him why we couldn’t pick him up; I mean really, we have no room for him because we have an elephant in the car?! So he opted out of joining us and said he was going to make himself some pastina for dinner!! Oh Boy! I’m not sure if this is a dose of Italian guilt or if he really wanted pastina for dinner, after all, he’s Italian, I’m Italian so he IS programmed to give guilt and I’m definitely programmed to receive it especially if it is coming from a man and it’s about cooking/eating!

 The three of us (and the elephant) head to Nagle’s thinking eating locally would be quicker and since it was Sunday night and supposedly everyone would be on the GSP heading north, the restaurant should be empty-NOT! A 20-minute wait – so we head over to Mom’s, the original destination. It’s in the next town and really close so I don’t follow my instinct, which is to take our stuff with us and go from the restaurant directly to the train – we were planning on taking the 8:45. Peter says we’ll have plenty of time to swing back by the house and get our stuff – Uh Huh!!!

 Mom’s is almost packed and it’s a large restaurant and of course there is a party of at least 12 people seated in the middle! We sat down and waited and waited and waited. We all live in NYC but only Wendy and Peter are true New Yorkers which means pretty soon Wendy is waving her arms at a waitress who is clearly not serving in our area. She dispatches that waitress to find out who ours is! Geez….

 Our waiter shows up and we quickly give him our order and inform him we have to catch a train! Like that was actually going to get translated to the kitchen lol lol!!! Salad arrives and is finished and we are anxiously waiting for the meal, which happens to be one of their specials meaning it includes the salad, entrée, dessert and coffee. You can tell how much I’m enjoying my meal by the number of times I check Peter’s watch to see what time it is.

 We gotta go, where is the waiter? We need our check. He comes by and Wendy asks him what dessert comes with the meal. I’m somewhat opposed to this but say nothing…we all pick out cheesecake and tell him to pack it to go! How long does it take to put 3 slices of cheesecake into 3 Styrofoam containers? I’ll tell you – TOO LONG! By the time he returns, I announce that there is no way we are going to make the train because we still have to go home and pick up our stuff!!! In that moment of clarity, we know we cannot make the 8:45 so we will take the 9:45 even though it means arriving in NYC just before midnight – good thing there are two of us traveling together. We tell the waiter we are staying and will eat our cheesecake out the container and by the way, I’ll have some decaf coffee! I swear I saw an ever so slight eye-rolling going on, and he never brought us forks!

 Peter drove us to the train station in Asbury Park in plenty of time and as his custom, he waited in the car while we went up on the platform because we thought the light signaled the arrival of the train. Actually it was the train heading to Bay Head, not NYC.

Asbury Park Train Station

Asbury Park Train Station

 As we walked onto the platform, Wendy remarked, “Wow what a motley crew” and she wasn’t referring to the rock group! We stopped beside a bench and put some stuff down where there was a man sitting on the end. He looked weird and was sort of moving from one side to the other, swaying I guess. So we moved farther down the platform. Meantime I’m looking at my watch and wondering where the train is. Then we hear the announcement, which is only slightly clearer than a MTA subway announcement and what we gather is that the train will be 28 minutes late. What we don’t know is whether that means 28 minutes from now or from the scheduled 9:45 time. I see that our car is still parked because Peter wants to make sure we get on the train safely, so I call him and tell him the train is delayed AND that there are 2 guys fighting each other behind the platform! Oh yeah, this IS the Asbury Park station.

 In the meantime, some woman who is sitting with a six-year old girl strikes up a conversation with Wendy, explaining in vivid detail how she arrived on the 9:04 to pick up her little girl and they are headed back to Newark. The little girl has announced a few times that she had to go to the bathroom (good luck there since the station is closed). The mother says, “I wish you were a boy”. The guys stopped fighting and cursing for a few minutes and then started up again. Peter shows up on the platform – a welcome sight!

 The man on the bench is still lolling around and a young woman who has a cell phone attached to her ear is next to him and asks me if this train goes to Trenton and where can she buy a ticket? Trenton? I inform her that Trenton is south of here and we are headed north! She doesn’t seem to want to go to the kiosk to buy a ticket and I’ve already told her that if she buys it on the train it costs $5 more. At this point, the woman with the kid tells me that the woman with the phone can get off at Rahway and take a train to Trenton from there. Well it’s after 10;00 and the little girl who has to pee, is cold because she’s wearing a sundress and the temperature has dropped considerably. Wendy offers her a sweatshirt (which I had been hoping to wear); the man on the bench has decided to lay down on the bench with his head hanging off the edge. The woman who needs to go to Trenton is standing near him screaming to someone on the phone that she doesn’t know what to do, how to get to Trenton and this is clearly the fault of the person on the other end. Another loudspeaker announcement: The 9:45 train is delayed 28 minutes because there is a car on the track in Long Branch. Since Long Branch is north of us, we wonder why the train can’t get through. Another southbound Bay Head train arrives and now we’re thinking it has to go to Bay Head and turn around and come back but what do we know anyway? And 28 minutes has come and gone

 Thankfully (for me) the little girl decides she’s not so cold anymore so she returns the jacket and I put it on immediately and Wendy (good-hearted soul) gives the girl a shirt to keep in case she gets cold later. At this point the man on the bench rolls right off!!! Dear God, he could have rolled onto the track! The girl ignores him and we all look on with amazement as he goes through some contortions to sit up. Peter decides to go to the Police station, which is adjacent to the train platform, to report this man’s condition, and for God’s sake I hoped he wasn’t planning on traveling with us. As I see Peter and the cop returning, the man attempts to sit up again but can’t and just collapses back on the platform. The song, “Oh What A Night” is playing out in my head. Another loudspeaker announcement: The northbound train is due to arrive in 3 minutes.

 Peter leads the cop to the man, the woman is still on the phone, the woman with the child is still trying to converse with Wendy and I’m whispering in her ear to make sure we don’t get in the same car with her! I quickly give Peter a kiss goodbye as the blessed train pulls into the station. It is now 10:30pm. We are so happy to finally be on our way. The only reason we are heading back to the City even at this late hour, is because Wendy has an early morning dental appointment and I have a 10:00am meeting! The conductor tells us that there was no car on track in Long Branch but rather an automobile on the tracks in Point Pleasant (which is south of us and explains why no northbound trains came through).

 The Bay Head/Long Branch local train only goes as far north as Long Branch and that’s about 10 minutes from Asbury Park. We settle into our seats and duck down as the chatty woman with the child comes into our car and thankfully passes us by. First stop is Allenhurst and at that point the conductor makes a loudspeaker announcement: Due to the extended delay of this train arriving in Asbury Park, the connecting train to New York left! The next train to New York City is at 11:30!!! OMG! I turn to Wendy and say, “Do you realize that from Long Branch to NYC is about an hour and half? We won’t get home till 1am!!!”

 There is no station at Long Branch, just a platform with two small rooms with benches. When we arrived the doors to the rooms were locked and why am I not surprised? My final word on this long day’s journey into night is that sitting there for an hour outside till 12:30 only confirmed that I was right; This all happened when Wendy bought the elephant.

Wendy's Elephant

Wendy’s Elephant

 I think I walked through the door to my apartment around 1:30am!

 

 

 

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Wi-Fi Signal logo

Wi-Fi Signal logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SUNDAY

Well, I’m off on another adventure to Florida!  Usually the “fun” begins when I’m there and I amuse my readers to no end with accounts of the daily craziness.  NOT SO this time!  Let the games begin! 

Today is Sunday and after racing around to finish up packing, getting a pedicure, trying on 3 different things that did NOT fit and not being able to locate one of the cats (we finally did) we finally left our apartment.   Since we were leaving late (apparently my fault) (NOT), tempers were already running high.  Add the 71 degree weather in the no-longer-air-conditioned apartment AND picture this – I have my rolling suitcase with a heavy tote bag on top of it, carrying my computer over my shoulder and one large canvas bag of Christmas presents; I’m wearing flip-flops because I don’t want to squish my new pedicure and all black because that’s what fit that would be ok to sleep in.  Peter is carrying a suitcase that must weigh 25lb on his shoulder that pulls his sport jacket down and he’s carrying another canvas bag with Christmas presents and a bag that has some last minute snack food I scavenged from the refrigerator and cupboards.  Actually the snacks are leftovers from Wednesday night’s gathering!

Hailing a cab turned out to be fairly easy but of course we got a driver who was indecisive about the fastest way to Penn Station.  First he started west on 86th St and then thought the FDR drive would be better so he U-turned.  The Drive was ok but when he exited at 34th St and headed west on 35th St, we virtually crawled across town.  I was already overheated, cranky and watching the meter climb was making me crazy.  $22 later we arrive at Penn Station a.k.a. Penn’s People Zoo.  It was MOBBED and it was hot.  

We were supposed to leave by 1:30pm but by the time we walked out the door it was almost 2pm.  Our intention was to get to the station an hour early so we could check to see if there were any cancellations for a roomette.  There were none, the train is sold out!  Oh, didn’t I mention that by the time we booked the trip they were no more roomettes left? And why did we book so late?  Look to my right…. therefore we are in for a 26 hour train ride in Coach seats, no beds.  I knew right away it was Christmas since there “was no room at the inn”. 

Getting onto the train was like being part of a herd of cattle.  There’s a cop at the top of the stairs next to the ticket agent and he’s shouting “Keep the families together, keep the families together” which means there are straggling kids with wheeling suitcases trying to push through the 5 lines of passengers trying to reach the top of the escalator!  

I boarded the train and turned right like the conductor said only to come to an immediate HALT.  There was a family of four trying to get out of the car against the tide of us trying to get in the car.  This necessitated a strange dance backwards of several people and their luggage with no place for them to back up.  Finally they got off and I lunged forward hoping to find two vacant seats together, lol lol.  Of course there were no seats.  I was ahead of Peter so I dropped one bag down on one seat and across the aisle and one row forward, I dropped another bag.  Then I tried to negotiate with the woman in the second pair of seats.  “ Excuse me ma’am would you mind switching your window seat here for the one over there so I could sit with my husband”?  She looks at me as if I asked her to move to rest room.  I try again and she leans over to look at the seat I’m pointing at and says, “No, I think I’d d rather be here”.   At this point Peter comes up the aisle and sees that I’m not standing in a pair of seats and I’m already putting the bags of Christmas presents up on the rack.  He loudly says, “What, aren’t there 2 seats together?” And then adds, “Well can’t you ask someone if they will move?”  I tell him I did but no one wants to.  I guess that did it because the lady announced she would move.  I said, “Bless you, thank you, you are so kind and you have no idea how he’s been, I’m never traveling with him on a train again! 

Once underway, the train cooled down a bit and we settled in.  As soon as one of the conductors came by, I inquired about Wi-Fi and was informed there was no Wi-Fi on the train and here I thought I would be writing my blog, playing scrabble online, cruising through ebay and checking in on Facebook, Not Happening! 

Shortly thereafter, a man came through asking is anyone wanted to make reservations for the Dining Car.  We looked at each other and thought a change of scenery would do us good later on so I told Peter to make it for 8:00pm. Well that wasn’t happening either because the only reservation he had was for 5:00pm and it was already 4:30pm!  And I wanted to buy a large sub for us to split on the train since everyone told us how expensive the food was and Peter said not to AND I listened to him, so really who’s the schmuck? 

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It’s not just New York City folklore, there really is a secret train station located underneath the Waldorf-Astoria.  I’ve never seen it and you probably won’t either but here’s a chance to see some great photos of the station and the famous FDR train.  My friend Gail, sent me this article in The Gothamist:  Take a look!  http://gothamist.com/2011/11/07/photos.php#photo-1

secret train staion, Waldorf Astoria, Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The FDR Train

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Yay late last night the plow came up our side of Broadway, a sign that perhaps life outside of these four walls could start again.  I heard the truck and plow make a least two more passes.  I was hoping that the plow had not pushed a new wall of snow up against the car.  I mean let’s not forget that this cleared parking space cost me $ 40.

We had ventured out yesterday in hopes of putting Peter on the train back to NYC and his version of civilization.  Since the majority of my readers don’t have a sense of the roads and towns around us, I can’t relate the horror story of that adventure.  Let me just say that we left at 1:15pm and got home again at 4:15pm AND Peter never got near the train station!!! State highways remained un-plowed and abandoned cars littered whatever pathway we tried to take.  AND to add to the stress of this total misadventure, we were in an accident.   Yup, an ambulance side-swiped our car and we were STOPPED on the side of the road.  Well that all happened in Day 3 and this is supposed to be about Day 4.

Today Peter decided to dig a path to the shed.  Why? Well it wasn’t to retrieve the 50 lbs of salt he had stashed in there, and it wasn’t to get the folding shovel that is supposed to be in the car at this time of the year but for some irresponsible reason was still in the shed!!  NO, he wanted to get at the bird seed so he could at least toss some seed on the snow so that our little feathered friends and our furry little squirrels would have some sustenance!  Digging his way to the bird feeder would be another day – the drifts are just too high.

Ocean GRove, La Vie en Rose, shed, blizzard, snow removal

Going to the Birds!

Ocean Grove, bird seed, La Vie en Rose, bird feeder, blizzard

A Banquet for the Birds

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