I had a heck of a time getting home from my temp job today. I catch the L Train at Third Avenue and take it into Brooklyn, where I then transfer to the M Train for a couple of stops. Ordinarily riding the L Train is not too pleasant to begin with. Due to so many hipsters, yuppies and trust fund kids moving into the Williamsburg area, there are a ton of people who use the L Train to get back and forth to Manhattan. So it’s normally crowded under the best of circumstances. Throw in even a little delay, and it can become ridiculously packed. Make it a larger delay and, well, you have quite a mess.
I don’t know what the MTA was thinking. Maybe there was some sort of emergency, a broken track that had to be fixed right away. That’s the only possible explanation I can think of for them deciding to do track work in the middle of rush hour. As a result, both the Brooklyn and Manhattan-bound trains were running on one track. Which meant delays. A lot of delays. And with delays came lots and lots of angry people.
I wish I’d bought an unlimited Metro Card. If I had, I could have just left the Third Avenue station, walked to Union Square, and taken a different route home. But I didn’t have an unlimited card, which would have meant spending another $2.25 just so I could walk a couple of blocks to get into the station there. So I waited. And I waited.
After about thirty minutes, a Brooklyn-bound train finally came. And, yep, it was packed. Somehow I was one of the few people who managed to squeeze onto it. And as I was waiting for this sardine can on wheels to pull out of the station, a woman in the subway car suddenly starts yelling at someone. “No, I can’t get out of the way! There’s no room! Do you see any room! What are you, some sort of idiot!?!” Oh, no, this was the icing on the cake.
As the L Train trundled towards Brooklyn, packed in amongst my fellow grumpy New Yorkers, the above vintage Charlton Comics image inevitably leaped to mind. I mean, I’ve joked in the past that the L Train is actually the Hell Train. But this is the first time it really felt that way.
Actually, I don’t know if that Midnight Tales cover by Wayne Howard is entirely accurate. Instead of a satanic train conductor and the flames of perdition, what we got was wall-to-wall crowding, with barely any room to even breathe. I cannot help think that a journey through the infernal realm might almost have been preferable. As you can see, at least there would be plenty of seating.