Hamptons Subway Newsletter: November 26–December 2, 2015

Unused WWII munitions found in the Hamptons Subway tunnels
Unused WWII munitions found in the Hamptons Subway tunnels, Photo: Robert Kacpura/iStock/Thinkstock

Week of November 26–December 2, 2015
Riders this past week: 9,478
Rider miles this past week: 100,022

Jason Kidd, the basketball star who now coaches the Milwaukee Bucks may have sold his house in Water Mill, but that does not mean he does not come out to the Hamptons. He was seen traveling on the subway on Tuesday morning at Shinnecock heading westbound and carrying a lamp.

Seventeen surfers from Babylon got themselves trapped inside a subway car at the Montauk station on Saturday morning when their surfboards got tangled up with the closing doors as they tried enthusiastically to exit to join a protest on the beach that was in progress. Subway police helped get them extricated but by the time they did the protest had ended and it was time to go back to Babylon. The delay shut down the system for a half hour.

One thing that keeps things interesting on the subway, rather than the same thing day after day, is the fact that when the system was built in 1931 it included many storage rooms located behind heavy locked doors along the interior walls of the tunnels. The staff continually breaks into these rooms. One Saturday night in 2005 they found a discotheque operating in one. They shut it down, of course. This past week, they found dozens of World War II artillery shells on storage racks. It’s believed they are still live but no one wants to hit one with a hammer to find out. This is between East Hampton and Amagansett, and you will notice that the train slows down about midway through the tunnel for safety reasons. That is so as not to disturb them.

Bill Balenger, who was hired four months ago as our new marketing director, was summarily fired yesterday when it was found his first promotional effort had gone terribly wrong. Balenger had noticed that though one side of our subway swipe cards gets you through the turnstiles, the other side is blank. Without getting approval from the Commissioner, Balenger went out and sold the space on the other side of the cards to the Big Box Palmer Department Store Chain. Unfortunately, the advertising copy placed by them on the reverse side resulted in the turnstile computers awarding a $100 gift certificate to the store for each swipe. Because it took five days for the Palmer people to figure out what was happening, more than half a million dollars in goods had to be given out to happy straphangers. Balenger was given just 15 minutes to clean out his desk. He has reportedly returned to Duluth, Minnesota, where he grew up.

Late last year, members of bicycle clubs from upisland began using the narrow concrete paths that notch out from the walls of our subway tunnels (so employees can get to where maintenance work needs to be done). Someone in some bicycle club apparently spread the word that this would be a good place to ride. The full system ride is more than 60 miles.

We have a law against this for obvious reasons. It interferes with maintenance workers. And if anything were to go wrong, which thank God, it hasn’t yet, we would be liable. We informed all bicycle clubs to stop doing this. Since none have complied, we are now upping the ante. First offense is a ticket, second the confiscation of the bicycle seat, third the whole bicycle, fourth the rider gets handcuffed to the path railing. This has to stop.


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