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December 09, 2016
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View From the Train

Wi-Fi available here

Did you play the Powerball during the recent billion dollar frenzy? I know I sure did; heck, we all did, and we lived for a few short days dreaming of what we would do with the winnings. One of the things I know I would do with my winnings is to buy New Jersey Transit Wi-Fi for all its train cars. All the local bodegas and convenience stores in Manhattan advertise “Wi-Fi available here!” as if while we were buying milk, or the morning paper, or a Powerball ticket, we would dare risk not being connected for those few short moments.  Read more

The Holiday Express

As luck would have it, I got out early on Friday two weeks before Christmas and could catch the first get-away train to Port Jervis, the 4:05 out of Hoboken. This unseasonable weather we have been having made this a great night to get some shopping in, but my heart was just not in it. Something about Christmas in the Upper Delaware Valley to me means cold noses, rosy cheeks, running from store to store with just my red wool scarf around my neck. For most of this season I have found myself still in short-sleeve shirts at work.  Read more

A love story

There are quite a few couples who commute regularly on the train. They have their routines like anyone else, and when they act as a team it is noticeable. Artie and Pat are one such couple. On any given day I usually meet them on the way home, in the last car headed to Port Jervis. They have their regular seats on the 4:47 out of Hoboken and I join them after we leave Middletown.  Read more

Fan-Natics!

This time of year brings all the sports fans to a hyper-state over which team to discuss first, because this is the “game on” season of sports. The evening quiet car on the 4:07 out of Hoboken is anything but that. Alas, the conductors wind up apologizing to those passengers who are hoping for some quiet, asking the noisemakers to please move forward. Unfortunately there will be no peace in any car during these trips home. This week starts the basketball season, hockey got started a few weeks ago, and football season is in full swing.  Read more

The knish man

As memories of this past summer begin to fade and leaves begin to fall, we all get that feeling of nostalgia for summers past. My fellow Metro North commuter Barry Scheer and I recently discussed a movie we had seen that brings back a flood of memories from summers in the Catskills, “A Walk on the Moon.” Set in the backdrop of the Woodstock festival of 1969 at a bungalow camp in the Sullivan County, the movie depicts family life in the camp during the summer including the weekly visit of vendors. The visits would be announced over the camp’s PA system.  Read more

The Ironmen of Bosco

You rarely see their faces when they board. First thing up is their huge equipment bag, usually a helmet, tied to the side or the bottom, followed by their huge backpacks. The bigger boys board first, and then they come in order of size till they are all aboard. They board in stations like Middletown, Campbell Hall or Salisbury Mills for their trip to Ramsey 17. There, they climb the steps, two flights up, then two flights down, and board a yellow school bus that will take them to their practice field.  Read more

Bang for your buck!

“We will be coming through with our snack service shortly; the list of items available for this trip is in the seatback in front of you. Today’s Wi-Fi entertainment can be found on the free app, today’s password is ‘JOY.’ The engineer requests that you stay seated and buckled till it is safe to move about. Just a reminder we are one of the few carriers that still does not charge for luggage as long as it fits in the overhead compartments. We are running slightly ahead of schedule today and will be arriving in New York eight minutes early.  Read more

For the love of trains

The conductor wakes us with some of the usual news. “We need to travel at reduced speed due to signal problems. We are going to be late folks. Sorry!” Next we hear the collective moans of the passengers, some of whom are quick to text the office that they will be late, again. “Remember NJ Transit only guarantees same day service,” says the conductor, hoping to lighten the moment. It’s a beautiful spring morning, flowers and trees are in full bloom, no rain, no snow, none of the usual suspects for delays. Yet here we are late again. The consolation is another 20 minutes of shut-eye.  Read more

Rosa’s tails

Rosa let go of her mamma’s hand and ran for the rail of the ship. It was a beautiful crisp day; big fluffy white clouds floated over the harbor. The pigtails of her long brown hair swung back and forth as she ran holding on to her straw hat so it didn’t blow off in the breeze, as it has done many times on this voyage. The painted flowers on her dress moved as if they were in an open field in early spring, just dancing in the wind. Rosa reached the rail, grabbed it with both hands, pulled herself up on her toes for a better look and let out a shriek joy.  Read more

The ‘hump and jump’

As a young fisherman I can remember the great fishing trips to the Ramapo River just outside the town of Tuxedo. The crystal-clear waters were so clean back then we would swim there in the summer and collect fresh water crawfish from the river bottom. We kids from Brooklyn considered ourselves a brave bunch, and would scale through the cliffs of the upper falls to one of our favorite fishing spots. At the end of the day we would scale the cliff back to the trail and cross the NJ Transit tracks to get back to our car. Great leaps between the rocks were just part of the adventure.  Read more

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