Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘F Train’ Category

 

If you haven’t been by Coney Island yet, you better get on down. Astroland is set to close in September.

Despite the recent alterations in the plans, it’s pretty much accepted that all the grimy ole amusement feel will be cleaned off and polished. Rockabilly kids probably will be replaced by people with time shares, the old facades torn down, hot dog stands replaced by restaurants, freak shows replaced by concerts…

So I say take the F train down, enjoy the atmosphere, play in the glassy sand, take the bumper cars for a drive, build sand castles, see some freaks, go to a burlesque show, and play some skee ball, ride your favorite ride till you’re dizzy…because who knows what the next Coney Island will bring.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I went to this bar on three separate occasions this weekend. And I bet I’m not the only one. Brooklyn is a great place when it comes to patios. Walking down Court Street for example, there are a number of bars to choose from that offer a nice, relaxing outdoor space. Even the Dunkin’ Donuts has a pretty terrace where the three customers I’ve ever seen eating there can enjoy their pastries. I’ve walked by that Dunkin’ Donuts with Manhattanites, and their heads almost explode. There is such a lack of nice patios in Manhattan, that the idea of giving some up to a Dunkin’ Donuts is mind-boggling. But in Brooklyn, that’s just the way it is.

Gowanus Yacht Club is a bar that is open from the late spring until around Halloween. Located on Smith and President right next to the Carroll stop on the subway, GYC is a small outdoor patio that can probably seat about 40 or 50 people, and is incredibly laid- back. It’s not really a club, and there are no yachts to be seen. Instead, it’s a group of wobbly, colorful tables, parasols, and cheap drinks. The beer selection is quite impressive (ask a waiter – he’ll go on for minutes), and they also offer hot dogs, burgers and the occasional pulled pork entrees.

Pros: Cheap-ish drinks, a drunk but oddly behaved clientele, a friendly and attentive wait-staff, nicotine-friendly environment, bar plays full albums of both new and classic rock, cheap hot dogs.

Cons: Only one bathroom, tight quarters, sometimes tough to get a table, neighborhood kids throwing rocks inside from the street, the grill has been taken away after complaints from neighbors (don’t bring up P.J. Hanley’s ribs around these guys), beer prices are slightly up from last year.

All in all this bar is pretty magnificent. I have the feeling that they’re going to challenge the suspension of their grill, hopefully improving the food situation. In terms of kids throwing rocks inside the bar, one bartender told us his intention of using a bottle of Ballantine as a weapon if they ever come back. That makes me feel safe.

Read Full Post »

I’ve recently adopted a Tuesday evening tradition. Well, it’s only been two times now, so maybe it’s more of a Tuesday evening coincidence. It’s something in the spirit of Mardi Gras – revolting hedonism on a Tuesday. This event, which I like to call “Shotdogs,” has everything but the girls gone wild.

The evening starts out at Welcome to the Johnsons, a perfectly divey bar in the Lower East Side in Manhattan (yuck, I know). I’ve been going to this bar for several years now and was something of a regular when I lived in that hood. I was there for the summer when fruit flies had infested the limes and so there was always a fine film of bugs and bug-parts on every drink you ordered. That was when I developed an irrational fear of bar fruit. I’ve witnessed the replacement of the toilet that was once so covered in band stickers, you could hardly tell what you were supposed to do with it. The new one is collecting its own piss stained collection. I’ve been there for brawls between guys who look like they fell out of a Ramones show thirty years ago – replete with blood trickling from their self-pierced safety pin earring holes. Anyway, as pleasant as all that sounds, there is one reason above all that I have been a Welcome to the Johnsons fan for so long: $2 drinks during happy hour (from when you wake up till 9 PM). You must not tell anyone about this. It’s a secret.

At Welcome to the Johnsons, the drinking begins. First, $2 whiskey and gingers. Then the shots. Last night we did a Red Headed Slut, followed by the bartender’s own concoction, Dr. Nut. Then we continue on with the regular drinks. All the while, the conversation gracefully flits from one topic to the other, weaving in nearby patrons and their opinions of The Flaming Lips, March Madness, olive juice, etc.

cupcackeeIn order for the Shotdog participants to remain reasonable, we all have to eat dinner. Dinner is hotdogs from Dash. In my case, vegetarian chili dogs. In other cases, processed meat monstrosities, choked with bacon, Fritos and other wonderful things. But that’s not all. Then come the chips and salsa from Festival Mexican Restaurant (outside of which, some guy drunkenly peed behind a Pathfinder while everyone in the bar watched with horror and glee) and then cupcakes (including one for the bartender) from Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Please keep in mind, I skipped the gym to partake in this madness.

By 9:00, we are all sufficiently bloated and return home to watch American Idol while we mainline salad and try to rehydrate.

Now, I don’t know if this particular evening’s activities can be approximated in our borough. I have a feeling that it is possible, but only in Williamsburg, where girls in leggings and guys in hoodies are a dime a dozen. The real issue here is that while the people at Johnsons and the people in Williamsburg are all disgusting hipsters, the ones at Johnsons are much skeezier. In my mind, this goes a long way. So, until an absurdly underpriced dive bar and an absurdly overpriced hot dog vendor move into my current hood, I think I’ll just keep hitting up the L.E.S for my shotdog fix.

Read Full Post »

Might I suggest something for the sappy and/or jaded among us?

The New York Times online has a video series called “Vows” in which a pair of young, affluent New Yorkers explain how they fell in love and got engaged. Oh sure, they had their trials – she went off to Paris for a semester and fell for a man who warmed her WASPy heart with his thick accent while he stayed behind at Dartmouth, wearing Chinos and developing an addiction to single malt scotch. After graduation, he got into the hedge fund game and she found herself in PR for major publisher. Some time later, they ran into each other again at Balthazar and remembered the truth about their relationship. They must fulfill their destinies and create tiny, near-translucent children for whom they will hire a team of au pairs who will feed them caviar from a sippy cup.

Read Full Post »

Dear RK,

I don’t know how to tell you this, but you are mired in a prejudice so thick and vile, you may never find your way out. The yellow trains are not slow. I mean, no more slow than any of the other trains – all of which travel at the speed and with the agility of a toddler. The F train is no prize, my friend.

However, you did make a good point regarding the above-ground stops. I love those. But you know what’s better than chugging along past the Kentile sign at Smith & 9th? Crossing the East River on the N and Q trains (also on the B & D trains that I use to get to work). You can look north and see the charming waterfront-industrial scene or you can look south (my choice) and see the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the big shiny Financial District buildings, boats, dead bodies…it’s like a little bit of heaven! All the while, your F train is creeping along underground like so many giant, seething rats.

Seething rats.

f-train.jpg = rat.jpg

A simile.

Earlier:
Subway (Debate) Series
Subway (Debate) Series: Rebuttal

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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?

    Read Full Post »