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Interesting choice in route, the 4th and 9th R/M to Union Square over the F to 14th Street. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you had a few valuable words of wisdom there, Friend. However, I do know better, so now I must annihilate you and your arguments.

First off, I must state that the R and M trains are, how you say, pieces of shit. And don’t you dare deny this, Friend. Don’t you (fucking) dare. You and I both know that even at their fastest, I could run alongside both trains and beat either one to the next station. And this is coming from someone with a weak respiratory system, strained left shoulder, and bad knees. Maybe you enjoy riding those graffiti’d subway tracks at such a slow pace you’re able to read every crude comment written on those black, tarred walls. But I, personally, enjoy feeling as though I am in an actual moving vehicle, not a carriage being pulled by a Gypsy Horse in the mid to late 1600’s. But perhaps you have an old soul, which would explain your penchant for slow moving cars, similar to how an 88 year old likes to drive 13 mph on a 65 mph highway. In which case, then yeah, the R or M trains might be a wiser choice.

I, however, am young at heart. I, like most humans, prefer my trains to be fast. I like to feel a steady flow of vibrations below my feet, and getting to work on time.

I’d also like to address the fact that the 4th and 9th Street F stop is above ground. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you once state, and I think pretty recently, that, “Without the Canal, the F train would not make its two glorious above-ground stops at Smith & 9th and 4th Avenue. Think of all those people who wouldn’t be able to send text messages, check their voice mail and make annoying phone calls while commuting with 6000 other people in a single train car.” Oh, hey look what I found. Your exact quote. So, interesting. You choose the shitty, stank, underground R/M, over the oh-so glorious above-ground F stop. Two timer.

Now, I know you’re probably going to come back at me with, “but one rides the R/M for no more than three stops.” Well, I have news for you, the N train moves just as slowly as the R. It skips stops, yes. However, it is so incredibly jam-packed in the morning that the actual weight of the train permits it to drive only at a negative pace. -12 mph, if you’re looking for a rough figure. It is literally, torture.

Convenience is also key here. The F train is a straight shot to 14th Street. No transfers necessary. This means, if you, or I, or anyone else is lucky enough to find an open seat right off the bat, well all I can say is, Zzzzzzz. That means you get to take a nap. And sleep my friend, is a precious, precious thing.

Lastly, if you’re going by old adages, how about this one. N stands for Never; R stands for Rarely.

Love,
RK

PS I bet you didn’t expect any of your previous arguments to nip you in the butt.

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I think there’s one more thing that must be noted about our favorite river of filth oozing through the heart of Brooklyn: subliminal messages.

gowANUS cANAL

It’s as though the under-appreciated body of water is saying, “look everyone, there is one other thing in the world that’s nastier than me.”

Earlier:

Gowanus Canal Debate Series: Yay
Gowanus Canal Debate Series: Nay
Gowanus Canal Debate Series: Yay II

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My father once told me to keep as many doors (opportunities) open for as long as possible. As soon as you commit to one door, any number of others close behind you. This is sage advice which I have chosen to apply to my selection of subway routes, if nothing else in my life.

It is with this adage in mind that I humbly submit my version of the best route from 9th Street and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn to 15th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan (ew) during the morning weekday rush hour.

First, you’re going to want to go below ground to the R/M platform as opposed to the above ground F platform. Even at this early stage, you can see how the guiding principle applies: you can take whatever train that shows up first. Upstairs at the F, there is only one possible train.

Next, take the R/M two stops to Atlantic. Look across the platform. Do you see the N train there? Take it. Is there no train across the platform? That’s okay – just get out and wait. There’s a 90% chance it will be there within four minutes. Do you see the N train leaving the platform as you arrive? No problem! The train driver’s a total bitch and nobody loves him which is why he’s acting out at the poor suckers on the local train. In this case, stay on the R/M for one more stop – to DeKalb.

Now you really ought to get off the train. Across the platform, you should see a Q train (or else it will arrive shortly). Get on that and take it two stops to Union Square. Exit towards the rear of the train, which will deposit you on the west side of the park, next to 15th street. Walk one short block (Union Square West to 5th Avenue), and you’re there.

You can see already that statistics are on your side with this route. If any train is fucked up, too crowded, missing, on fire, or anything else, you just go onto the next one, always keeping as many routes open as possible.

Additional points to consider:

  • My route has a maximum of 5 stops (though it’s usually 4), as compared to the F train’s 85 million stops.
  • The walk from 6th Ave to 5th Ave is incomparably longer than the one from Union Square West to 5th Ave.
  • The F train is one crowded M.F., no matter what.
  • The F tracks flood if there is any amount of rain or if it is too humid.
  • Once you’ve committed to the F, all other doors are closed. You are at its complete mercy. And daddy always said, “don’t let the train make you its bitch.”
  • So, R.K., you got a better way?

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    Their borders as permeable as their cheese, the Swiss army “accidentally” invaded their tiny neighbor, Liechtenstein. Apologies ensued, and Liechtenstein was all like “no problem, man. I thought you were just trying to get that Frisbee you threw over here last week.”

    The full – if horribly unexciting – story here.

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    GowanusYou need to sit back and rethink your whole relationship with Brooklyn. I mean, don’t you learn to love all the mutated mice and slime of the one you hold dear, just like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally?

    The best thing about Brooklyn is the toxic creatures, the muck, and the buildings that look like they’re leftover from “The Blitz” in WW2. After a while it makes you feel at home.

    Really the canal adds to the overall atmosphere of Brooklyn. The quiet stagnant water reflecting the off-colored lights, the indefinable smells, the colorful graffiti…I don’t know why you love Brooklyn, but the irony of expensive boutiques and trendy cafe’s next to scenes of The Warriors…really tugs at my heartstrings.

    Gowanus “yay”s pull in the lead.

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    Friend: I am so nay. Though you bring up some interesting facts about our dear Gowanus Canal, it’s not enough to change my mind on the matter. Fact is, the Gowanus Canal is a potentially harmful stream of chemicals that spawns mutant mosquitoes during the summer. And being just one block away from the man made toxic water hole, I must bear the brunt of this ‘squito situation. People often think screening one’s windows will be enough to deter some flimsy little mosquito from entering into an apartment. However, when mosquitoes are brought to life by an ungodly pool of poison, they inherit the strength of an angry soccer mom and are able to physically bend screen wires open with their arms. I’ve seen this occur. It’s some crazy shit. That being said, I will go on to rebut some of your “high” points. Even though, I think I just won this argument by sharing my *true story, which is based on *actual events.

    So you say, “The Canal has proven itself an exceptional receptacle for rats caught in a certain apartment that were not executed in an electric box.” First of all, nothing is better than a rat killing electric box. I think you and I both know that’s true. There isn’t anything more satisfying than waking up to a dead rat in your kitchen, fried, and in an electric casket. But more importantly, I recently watched a documentary on rats and if you think throwing them into a poisonous canal will kill them, you are wrong. Dead (but not a dead rat) wrong. Rats maintain the ability to collapse their skeletons into the size of a nickel and can live in a toilet for weeks at a time. Do you really believe a pool of toxic fluid can kill them? If anything at all, toxins will just make them bigger, stronger, and yup, you guessed it, deadlier. Have you never seen “The Hulk”? Because I have, and the last thing this world needs is a monster (!!!) size rat wearing cut-off jean shorts. (That’s what the Hulk wore when he got really big. Jean shorts are known for their great elasticity.)

    You also mention, “The Canal is an excellent place to unburden yourself of illegal firearms – or legal firearms that were used in an illegal act.” Wrong. If anything, the forces of the Canal’s toxic energy molecules would enable loaded firearms to go off on their own, bringing attention to the (hopefully) illegally discarded items. And even if not loaded, that toxic liquid has most likely developed a mind of its own, and therefore would find ways to load the gun itself.

    Lastly you bring up, “Without the canal, there would be no need for the little bridges on Union, Carroll, 3rd and 9th Streets.” Hey, have you ever been late to an event or missed the train because there was a divided (cement) bridge in the middle of 9th avenue? Because I have. And you know what bridge that was? Oh, you don’t? Well it was the Gowanus Canal bridge, if you couldn’t already guess by my tone. Although it doesn’t happen often, every once in a while the bridge disbands and you’re forced to wait and watch as a little steam boat passes under. And while that sounds charming, it is. However, being late for restaurant reservations is not.

    There you have it, my incredibly accurate, and strong rebuttal. What say, you?

    *True story has been taken from an actual dream I had, making it a very solid argument.

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    A distorted reflection of a sliver of moon shimmers on the water, between long streams of industrial filth. Wharf rats frolic along concrete banks, leaping from one tire to the next. A tiny paw slips on the slick trigger of a discarded gun and the drone of the BQE is cracked for a moment. It’s nighttime on the Gowanus Canal.

    The Gowanus Canal, a heavily polluted, slow moving, body of water, once served Brooklyn’s shipping industry. Even though the industry is basically gone at this point, the Canal offers certain benefits that make it a little stinky jewel in our fine borough.

    Benefits:

    1. When dug originally, the Canal had the added bonus of draining western Brooklyn’s marshlands so they could put the Safeway in Red Hook and rich people in Park Slope.

    2. The Canal has proven itself an exceptional receptacle for rats caught in a certain apartment that were not executed in an electric box.

    3. Without the Canal, the F train would not make its two glorious above-ground stops at Smith & 9th and 4th Avenue. Think of all those people who wouldn’t be able to send text messages, check their voice mail and make annoying phone calls while commuting with 6000 other people in a single train car.

    4. The Canal is an excellent place to unburden yourself of illegal firearms – or legal firearms that were used in an illegal act. Actually, it’s great for destroying evidence of all kinds.

    5. The actual creation of the Canal was one of the first acts of Brooklyn gentrification. Once the land was drained, property values went up and the birds and fishes were kicked out so robber-barons and merchant marines could move in. So, I’m not sure if this is a benefit because it’s a politically sensitive matter – which I am clearly on the wrong side of – but, it’s certainly historically interesting.

    6. Without the canal, there would be no need for the little bridges on Union, Carroll, 3rd and 9th Streets.

    7. The Canal provides the central point of enjoyment for both the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy.

    Thus, I declare “yay” for the Gowanus Canal.

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