NYC v. Austin #2: Transportation

This entry of NYC v. Austin will cover transportation, in general and pertaining to our daily commute.

Subway - An institution. The New York City Subway. A monster. A stinky, dirty ghetto snake winding through the bowls of the city. I loved it and hated it at the same time.

Good things about the subway:

- Easy to use, could get you almost anywhere
- 24 hour service
- You never had to worry about having a few too many, built in DD
- It gave you a sense of solidarity with millions of people
- Odd celebrity sightings
- You could do other things whilst riding – eating, reading, work, etc.
- Never worried about parking, gas, insurance, etc associated with owning a car
- Fairly cheap, $76 per month taken out before taxes for Metrocard
- L, A, 4, 5, F trains

Bad, nasty horrible things about the subway:

- Waiting for trains, especially when it is freezing or sweltering
- Sure it's 24 hour service but you have to wait an hour for a train at 2 a.m.
- Erratic conditions in the cars, sometimes freezing, sometimes humid, sometimes sparkling, sometimes urine soaked.
- Packed trains, I refused to ride them most of the time, which pissed Sofia right off. Sorry I have standards.
- G,F,any yellow line, train
- Average commute: Having a bad day, get on a train with annoying people no matter where you look, train stopping, starting, stopping, moving at a snails pace, fast, stop, snail, stop, arriving in Chinatown, a thousand people get on with orange plastic bags with all sorts of foodage adding to the stench, stop, snail, two people get off, five get on, finally between Manhattan and Brooklyn, sitting underneath the east river, wishing the tunnel would collapse and wondering if you could somehow make it out and swim to the surface, snail, five minutes later high st, ipod keeps laying songs you don't want to hear, skip, skip, at Broadway Lafayette switch to f train, before taking off announcement comes on that there has been an emergency and f trains will not be running for at least 10 minutes, curse, curse everything and everyone, what to do (a train/bus combo) (wait) (go upstairs and catch a bus), haul ass upstairs to see your bus pulling away and a million other buses going to Queens, fed up, just start walking home, catch a bus that runs down 5th ave., phone Sofia tell her to meet me at the Gate, arrive at Gate and order a double IPA, not a bad end to a sucky commute
As you can see I have placed the F train in both categories. Again, it is a love hate thing. The F train will always hold a special place in my heart. We spent countless hours riding and waiting for the F train. And it's not just me. I can think of these three song lyrics about the F train, and I am sure there are more:

So I wait for the F-Train
(White city on the yellow line)
And connect
through a friend of mine
(White city to a friend of mine)
- Bled White, Elliott Smith

Just like the F Train, you're not waiting
Just like the F Train, there'll always be an F Train
I'm like the F Train, but I
don't know just why
there must be a reason why
-Cone of Silence, Yo La Tengo

Bikes ride to the park and city pools.
It's summer now; empty the school.
Fly home to my cat on the F train.
I'm protected from pain
- Apartment, Ben Kweller


Buses - Very handy and was included in our 76 dollar metrocard. We used these whenever possible, especially during the steamy and chilly months.

Cabs - Never really took them. Too expensive.

Bike - Not a great city for bicycling, obviously. During the subway strike of 2005 we had to bike to work. While it was fun, it was cold as shit and was probably not the safest thing we've done.

I did miss having a car in the city sometimes, but it would have been to annoying (parking) and expensive (parking and insurance). It would have been nice to have one to get out of the city once in a while though.

Getting to the airport in NYC: Either hella expensive or hella long commute on subway


Car - The ultimate luxury item. A must have for most US cities. I really do enjoy having a car now. It's paid for so that is nice, so we only have to worry about paying for insurance, gas, and maintenance. Insurance is ok. Gas sucks, but the more it rises the more we save, sort of considering we drive a hybrid (not really, but if you compare it to a normal car the less it stings). It's climate controlled, can't beat that. No fuzzys making me fat, just me and my select passengers. Parking sucks, especially downtown. You have to worry about your car being shit on by these crazy birds that practically run Austin. You have to worry about hail apparently (We've had three hail storms since arriving in Austin, WTF). Every little nick and scratch on a new car is heartbreaking. More love than hate though concerning cars I think.

Traffic - Yes it can be bad here. Luckily we can avoid it most of the time. Sofia works two minutes from the house. My first job is about two more minutes further than that. And my second job is just north of us and I never seem to hit too much traffic.

Buses - Really our only public transportation right now. Pretty cheap. I can ride from our house to my work in about 15 minutes, but I do not b/c I work two jobs and would not have enought time between jobs. I am forced to drive.

Getting to the airport in Austin: Hella simple

The Winner:
A tie. Obviously there are good and bad to both situations. I love driving, but it is quite a responsibility and I would be fine with not having it, but here in Austin we do need a car. Having so much public transportation in NYC was awesome. Not only was it extremely handy, it was cheap and easy, worry-free man. I really can’t decide.

(I know Sofia would say Austin is the winner, but she ain’t writing this)


un kyle in exile said...

for a man that loves good beer as much as you do, i dont see how this is even close to a tie. the DD advantage of the NYC mass transit system should put it way over the edge.

Machuca said...

Well, I failed to mention. Here in Austin I also have a built in DD...Sofia.

un kyle in exile said...