Ten Years of Transit

August 26, 2019

I have always had an obsession with public transportation, and that's why I want to become an urban planner in the future. This hobby came from my love of maps, which started uhh i dont know how many years ago.

The date was Saturday, November 8, 2008. Barack Obama had just won the presidential election, and my dad had just returned from a business trip in New York City. At that time, I had only been to the city once in my live, and that was the previous year. Since I had liked maps so much, my dad had brought me a copy of the subway map (which got lost or tossed shortly after) and I was happy. (This is back when life was good and I wasn't ranting about anyone.)

Going forward to Wednesday, August 26, 2009. Me and my family went to New York City for the long weekend. This is the day I had fallen in love with the New York transportation system (maybe because it was complex, or the colors because young children are attracted to color).

Since 2009, I have visited New York City a few more times, with a large gap in these visits around 2011 since my mom hated my love of transportation (she has since got over this).

Anyway, I'll move on with the story. We jump again to Wednesday, December 30, 2015 (but ben isn't the date on this story in 2019? we'll get there). We're going down to see the annual New Year's celebration. This is my first time and my parents' second time (they went for the new millennium in 1999). I find myself at the train station in New London, Connecticut. We're about to take the train down there for the first time, going to New York's Penn Station. Two days later on our return trip we get delayed two hours, beginning my hate of Amtrak.

We jump yet again to Friday, March 10, 2017. I forgot why we went down that weekend but we did. This was the most spontaneous trip to date, with about five days notice. I found myself in Norwalk, Connecticut that day, about to take Metro-North (NYC's commuter rail) for the first time. It was about one hour to Grand Central, NYC's nicest train station (also a tourist attraction).

We jump for the final time to Monday, August 26, 2019 (after all that backstory). It's the last Monday of summer vacation for me, as Aiden is already back in school. My dad woke me up around 9:30 am and suggested the idea of going to NYC for the day. We're on the road by 10 am. We had originally planned to head all the way to Norwalk, but that got scrapped by the time we reached Hartford, when we changed our plans.

So I found myself in New Haven, Connecticut just before noon, just in time for our 12:21 pm train to Grand Central. We get on the train (just waiting at the station since New Haven is the terminus) and we get a good seat. My dad then walks off the train to make sure that we got on the right train. He spends a solid 15 minutes outside checking the train.

Two hours later (and 72 miles later) we arrive at Grand Central. To get our bearings, we walk to 47 St & 6 Av to get the subway to 59 St & 8 Av (aka Columbus Circle). We sit in Central Park to book a hotel. Yes, we waited that long. We find our hotel near the intersection of 58 St & 9 Av.

Over the next 23 hours, we see the following (in no particular order):

  • New York University
  • Columbia University
  • Prospect Park
  • some shady part of Brooklyn
  • Bryant Park
  • Washington Square
  • scammers in Central Park
  • sorta-shady bike rental place
  • me lose my phone charger
  • knock-off Columbia University
  • a good pizza place on 8 Av
  • wat-ah
  • We take the train back to New Haven the day after we arrive.