The Hampton Subway Benefits From Irene

Week of September 2-8, 2011

Riders this week: 7,412

Rider miles this week: 84,901


Hurricane Irene did Hampton Subway a big favor last Sunday. The subway system closed its doors on Saturday at 5 p.m.—well we couldn’t close the doors really as the steps going down to all the stations don’t have doors—but it shut operations in anticipation of the hurricane and everyone was ordered out of there with a plan to re-open on Monday.

So what happened is that the storm roared through, the waters rose, the rains came, the tide flooded in and flooded out and when we went down there on Monday we found all the walls, floors, ceilings and fixtures along all the subway platforms and tunnels scrubbed clean as new. The subway interior hasn’t been cleaned since the subway was built in 1932 by Ivan Kratz. [expand]

The cleaning of the walls like this revealed some astonishing works of art on those walls. There are huge murals on the walls by William Merritt Chase, by Jackson Pollock, by Fairfield Porter, by Larry Rivers and by dozens of other famous painters who apparently, during one of the years or another since the subway was built, were commissioned to do something down there.

The value of these works, according to experts, is in the hundreds of millions and even billions, and it is believed by some that if these works can be carefully removed from the walls somehow and sold at auction—it might just be done by carefully replacing the tiles—all the economic problems of this country can be solved.

At the present time, Hampton Subway has re-opened and you are welcome to use it, and you will be pleased to see that great museum grade spotlights have been set up in the ceiling all along the system through the tunnels to highlight this and that, to enhance art viewing enjoyment and the trains are traveling at half speed, so what used to be a 10-minute trip from East Hampton to Bridgehampton is now a 20-minute trip. And nobody seems to mind.


President Obama, on the east coast to tour the hurricane damage, is going to be walking the tunnels all day on Friday with Subway Commissioner Aspinall, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton to have a look at all the great works of art, and so the subway will be closed that day. Photo opportunities will be at the tops of the escalators in Westhampton Beach at 10 a.m., Southampton at 1 p.m., East Hampton at 4 p.m. and out at the Montauk Yards at 7 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner at the Montauk Playhouse Community Center with East Hampton Town Supervisor Wilkinson.


The free Wi-Fi on the Hampton Subway that stopped working on Wednesday should be fixed by Monday if technicians who have come by to look at it can find out the cause of why it stopped. At the present time, the techies are working on a theory that the Wi-Fi might have gotten very tired during all the jiggling and effort it has been putting out since the service was founded 11 months ago. There are symptoms of that—dizziness, exhaustion, general lethargy. The plan is to let the Wi-Fi rest over the weekend and then try turning it back on on Monday morning. We will keep you informed. Meanwhile, if you want to keep up with your friends, write them letters or use your cellphones.


We want to thank all our riders and employees for being so patient during the hurricane we endured this weekend. Employees are to be paid as if these were non-counted sick days, and riders will be reimbursed for 10 rides that they did not take, because that is the average number they normally each take, as we have determined. All of this will be paid just as soon as all those artworks are auctioned off and the monies received from the government for the sale are in the bank.

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