Tag: 7 train

On the move

Saturday, January 12th, 2008 | All Things, Friends

This Saturday launched the first of five weekends of 7 construction, during which the line will not be running east past Woodside, Queens. In addition, weekend Manhattan-bound service will be skipping 52nd, 46th, 40th, and 33rd Streets through February 11, and all weekday trains will run local until February 29, 2008. The service announcements explaining all these changes were almost comically lengthy.

Despite the inevitable confusion, getting out to Main Street this morning wasn’t terrible: the free LIRR service from Penn Station ended up actually shaving time off my commute to Queens. My short and sweet stop in Sunnyside, however, entailed a bit more effort; the three-quarter mile walk west from the railroad station at 61st Street, though, did bring me past a few sights I never see when I’m riding the 7 rails overhead.

Like this brightly-colored mural beneath the otherwise rather forbidding subway tracks, commissioned by Woodside on the Move, a non-profit community development organization, founded in 1978.

Woodside on the Move

Later that evening, we gathered at The Oak Cellar on the Upper West Side for TB’s birthday soirée. The cozy bricked wine cellar, with its masonry arches and cobblestone floors, is tucked away randomly beneath the gloriously fratty Jake’s Dilemma on Amsterdam. (Beer pong!) Also random: in a room teeming with lawyers, meeting a bartender-cum-writer-cum-lawyer, working the party door.

Then it was on to iBop Karaoke for the third birthday party of the past 24 hours. Judging by the number of empty bottles littering the party room table, we had hit MC’s bash at its peak — or perhaps just past — but there was still plenty of fun to be had. Already in the song queue: The Beatles, George Michael and Chamillionaire, and as required of all karaoke gatherings, some old school Michael Jackson. HYB was disappointed that his favorite Prince tune “Cream” was not among the selections, so we settled instead for the falsetto-heavy “Kiss” — classic, though in retrospect, not the easiest in the catalog to belt out.

MC who, past experience has shown, knows how to rock out with the best of them, led us all in a screaming a capella encore of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin‘,” accompanied by music leaking through from the room next door. And as a follow-up: Stone Temple Pilots’ “Plush,” about which she aptly noted: if you don’t know this song, you’d better ask yourself what you were doing in the 1990s. 15(!) years later, the lyrics are still as perplexing as ever.

Where ya going to tomorrow?
Where ya going with that mask I found?
And I feel, and I feel
When the dogs begin to smell her
Will she smell alone?

There’s nothing more than this.

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Isn’t that special?

Saturday, November 17th, 2007 | All Things, Friends

The 7 train has undergone its share of construction detours this year, but this weekend’s commute was probably the most convoluted of all. No service to Manhattan, trains running express in one direction… the service change/alternate route announcements were comically long, and as usual — though much improved from back in the day — nearly indecipherable. The signage inside the cars didn’t even attempt an explanation:

7 Special

Nonetheless, I managed to deliver my stuffed pork loin safely out to Sunnyside (brining works!), where just the most hardcore of dinner devotees had gathered this night.

Post-dinner, as we were catching up on DVR-ed episodes of How I Met Your Mother, I felt a guilty twinge of recognition during the “Spoiler Alert” episode… further enhanced by the meaningful looks cast pointedly in my direction during the “Mr. Corrector” bits. Oy!

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Where there’s smoke…

Sunday, October 28th, 2007 | All Things, Friends

On the way out to Sunnyside Gardens this evening, I noticed these new LED displays on the 7 train. The purple circle and diamond symbols were never very effective in distinguishing between train routes; certainly these new signs are a vast (and long overdue) improvement over the old system of popping your head into a subway car ­– careful to avoid the guillotine action of the closing doors — and yelling “Express or Local?” only to be met with stony stares or indecipherable grumbles. “Lxprzl”?

7 signage

Out on RM’s patio, SYB and I were tasked with starting a fire for the barbecue. Even armed with a box full of matches, the autumn winds posed quite a challenge. It’s situations like these when I think that Girl Scouts training would have been far more useful than piano and violin lessons. We finally managed to get things going after several false starts; the orange flames (and copious wine) provided wonderful warmth against the chilly falling darkness.

Our gracious host brought out a tray of chicken burgers from The Butcher Block, a popular local Irish delicatessen which in 2004 reopened in a new location after its original long-held spot across the street was virtually destroyed the year before in a major fire along Queens Boulevard. I’ll admit that I’m generally not a huge fan of chicken burgers — beef being my usual patty preference — but these were quite good: more like chicken sausage patties. We rounded out the eats with grilled steak and (not grilled) couscous, and over our new friend TD‘s Astoria cherry pie, the talk turned to matters like the rivalries among NYC specialized high schools. Riveting for the non-NYC natives, I’m sure, but when it came out that there were two Science alums in the house, what could we do? As we watched the Sunnyside kindling-fed fires slowly die down to embers in the cold moonlight, I wished I had thought to bring supplies for s’mores — pretty much the only situation in which I prefer Hershey’s milk chocolate bars. Next time.

I had no idea how insidiously the soot had permeated my pores and clothing until on the way home when I was caught in one of those dreaded “sick passenger” delays at Times Square. As more commuters piled into the already crowded subway car, the woman behind me, whose nose was probably no more than three inches from my hair, asked her friend in an alarmed tone, “Do you smell smoke?” I cringed inwardly as I heard the two of them sniffing the air behind my head frantically for the next few seconds, until one muttered a revelatory “Oh.” I sensed, rather than saw, her gesture toward smokey me in disgust.

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