Kimberly’s Burn Book: The 6 Train

Welcome to Kimberly’s Burn Book, a feature in which I complain about things that annoy, irritate, or frustrate me. In other words, pretty much everything.

The 6 Train
By all means, move at a glacial pace (Photo credit: ChrisM70)

Jennifer Lopez’ debut album, “On the 6,”  is described on iTunes as “spicy and upbeat” and contains a song titled “Feeling So Good.” As a resident of the Upper East Side who takes the train to and from my job in Greenwich Village every day, I have one word for you, J.Lo:


The only time I’ve ever felt good on the 6 train is when I’ve finally gotten to my stop so I can get the hell out of dodge.

If I were to create my own “On the 6” album, it would be chock full of angry rap. You know, the kind that gets you amped up for a fistfight. I’ve never been in one, but there’s nothing like a trip on the 6 to get a person in the mood for a smackdown.

Nevermind the panhandling that is, contrary to Mayor Bloomberg’s public comments, incessant. Nevermind the occasionally ear-splitting music (I’m looking at you, electric clarinet guy) or the boombox-toting pre-teens who get on the train at Grand Central at 10:30 on a weeknight, declaring that “it’s showtime.” The 6 train’s biggest problem is that it is too crowded and too slow, an issue made worse by a variety of signal issues. One sick passenger on the 6 can make the entire east side late for work.

Common courtesies and any sense of personal space are astoundingly absent on the 6. The 77th street passengers are the biggest offenders, but I can’t say I blame them. 77th street is a local stop, and on a day with train delays, most commuters have already let 3 or more trains go by before trying to elbow their way onto one. It’s their only shot at getting to work on time. Some passengers stuff themselves just a few inches into the car, allowing the closing doors to squeeze them all the way in or, satisfyingly, chew them up and spit them out. Others stick their heads in the car and yell at no one in particular to “move to the middle,” which is a reasonable expectation if the car weren’t already stuffed beyond capacity. What are we supposed to do, hang from the bars like apes? Most days, I am wedged between strangers, not sure if my leg is being touched by an errant handbag or a sexual predator.

Nobody will verbalize what we all know deep down: most people could get to work faster on a camel, and there is nothing we can do about it.
Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg hopes his anti-obesity proposals will help free up space on the crowded Lexington Avenue line. Then again, so would a ban on down-filled coats.

Until then, east siders are damned to wait for the estimated completion of the first section of the second avenue subway line and will pay increased fares starting in March to help offset whatever fuckery is happening within the MTA’s budget.

Last June, Joseph Lhota wrote an op-ed in the New York Post asking MTA employees to forego cost of living raises for the next three years. That’s hilarious, considering the MTA fare hikes will increase the cost of living for all New York City residents. It’s also nothing short of a disgrace. Now, Mr. Lhota has announced he will run for Mayor. The MTA did restore its service to pre-Hurricane Sandy conditions — but that service was mediocre at best. That’s just not good enough. The only concept more preposterous than Joseph Lhota’s mayoral candidacy is the current projection that the first section of the second avenue line will be completed by 2016.

Jennifer Lopez’s “On the 6” also contains a track called “Too Late,” and that feels a lot more accurate. Whether you are waiting for the 6 or waiting for the MTA to get it together, there is literally no light at the end of the tunnel.


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