Week of April 13–19, 2016
Riders this past week: 8,415
Rider miles this past week: 98,741
DOWN IN THE TUBE
Carl Bernstein was seen taking the subway from Westhampton Beach to Quiogue last Wednesday morning carrying a book. Tom Wolfe, carrying his beautiful wolf’s head walking stick, was seen traveling from Water Mill to Southampton on Monday afternoon. Robert Wilson was seen on the Sag Harbor platform waiting for an express train to Noyac.
For years, straphangers have been careful to avoid the thick floor-to-ceiling column that sits in this awkward spot just around the first corner from the turnstiles at the Southampton station. Now, however, riders turn the corner, get their bell rung by the column and sue. Thus it was two weeks ago, after three such lawsuits from injured subway riders, that Subway Commissioner Aspinall decided the column should be removed.
It’s a big, heavy column, covered with subway tiles, 10 feet high and three feet by three feet wide, but nevertheless, on Friday, the workmen arrived with their sledgehammers and working all afternoon managed to take it down.
We greatly regret what has happened since then. Within hours of its removal, we were sued by another straphanger who swerved on the platform to get around where the column used to be, and when it wasn’t there, it sent him sprawling. Then the next day, the whole world knows what happened. Up above, cracks appeared in some of the buildings along Main Street in Southampton and those above saw the sidewalk dipping down to where the column had been below. We took immediate action and brought in 12 steel poles, put them in place where the column had been, and then we jacked up the ceiling and everything else above the five inches it had sagged. Police tape, orange traffic cones and blinking lights are now surrounding the 12 steel lally columns. But you must still watch your step.
SAVE THE EARTH DEMONSTRATION
At midnight Thursday, 20 members of the Eastern Long Island Environmental Group appeared at the Montauk Yards wearing scuba masks and flip-flops and said they had permission to take one of the trains without using the engine. The yardmaster honored the request, released the brake on the train closest to the exit so the group could get behind it and push it, slowly, at 5 miles an hour, to their stated destination of Amagansett. Around 3 a.m., in Napeague, they abandoned the effort saying that this was as far as they could go and they had made their point. After that a motorman was sent out to fetch the train and bring it back the old-fashioned way. Before he could do that, however, there in the tunnel in Napeague, the environmentalists held a press conference, the essence of which was to show the environmentally approved methods of bringing things from here to there. As for the flip-flops and scuba masks, they said that if this wasn’t done (a reduction in the use of fossil fuel), climate change would flood the tunnels, so they were simulating pushing a train along underwater.
COMMISSIONER ASPINALL’S MESSAGE
It’s very important to honor the work of the Eastern Long Island Environmental Group. Without them and other groups such as theirs, this problem would never be brought to the attention of the general public.