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  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:48 am on May 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brooklyn Bridge station, , , Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, , , , Old City Hall Station, ,   

    Old City Hall Station in NYC 

    If you board a number 6 train at Brooklyn Bridge station on the downtown platform, look out the window, shielding your eyes from the fluorescent glare as the train, screeching like a banshee, returns to the uptown platform, you can catch a glimpse of the fabled Old City Hall station.

    old city hall station

    For years conductors used to sweep the train cars ejecting people trying to take a look, but these days you are allowed to ride the City Hall loop, and if you buy a Transit Museum membership and be lucky enough to score a ticket, you can tour the station in person.

    old city hall station

    You can gawk at the vaulted ceilings,

    old city hall station

    see the remnants of tar from WWII blackout on the skylights.

    old city hall station

    Take in the atmosphere. It’s eery.

    old city hall station

    The brass chandeliers no longer have beautiful carbon filament lamps (which can be purchased for about $20 a pop), but are almost as dim.

    old city hall station

    The passing trains produce a deafening noise navigating the roundest piece of track in NYC.

    old city hall station

    There are more skylights and more tar (they used to be completely covered in it because of wartime considerations.

    old city hall station

    The lobby does not have the original ticket booth, but there are no turnstiles ether. Your metrocard is no good here.

    old city hall station

    Things are a little shabby, but the abandoned station is pretty well preserved and restored. It’s truly a pity they don’t use carbon filament bulbs.

    old city hall station

    The combination of modern trains and the ancient station is unsettling.

    old city hall station

    It’s freaking magical.

    old city hall station

    Yep, the protagonist of the novel “From Time To Time” could use for time travel.
    old city hall station

    And then they bring out a special wooden bridge, and it’s back to modern times.

    old city hall station

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:21 am on September 18, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: clerk, , Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, , Puter   

    The Ancient Art of MetrocardTM Puppetry 

    It seems like humans will try to fold and rearrange just about anything. Paper, money, postcards. Some people make a living folding their members in a surprising manner. Others fold dollar bills. What chance did humble MetrocardTM stand from being turned into an art material?

    A couple of days ago I found this MetrocardTM triacontahedron sitting abandoned on a subway staircase. I’ve seen these around in token clerk booths, but never up close before.

    I managed to take it apart and put it together again, and the construction is rather ingenious. I’ll try making a few of these together and post the instructions then.

    Of course, other people have been doing this for a long time. Here’s a guy who created purses, boxes, stars and pencil holders out of them. An entertainer that goes by the moniker Professor Puter has a whole load of tricks, such as metrocard shooter, star, bug etc. Here’s a fine specimen of MetrocardTM art too. If you want to annoy your cubicle-mates even more than you already do – MetrocardTM clicker is the right project for you.

    Ad:


     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:06 pm on October 9, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Colin Ferguson, , Darius, Darius McCollum, , Harper, Harper's Magazine, Jamaica – 179th Street, , , Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, , , , , subway conductor, , , track-department superintendent, Transit Authority, , , ,   

    The Legend Of Darius McCollum 

    I remember reading in papers about a 15 or 16 year old train obsessed kid who faked his way into signing out an MTA train and driving it for a long stretch only to be caught after an automatic switch disabled the train due to speeding. For some reason I thought that the story happened in the early nineties, but it looks like it actually happened much later. I also remember the kid was not punished too strongly and had a chance to work for the MTA.

    I always wondered about what happened to him. And as it turned out instead of getting a job at the MTA Darius McCollum had an amazing career impersonating MTA workers and ended up getting a 5 year prison sentence recently.

    There was a big long article in Harper’s Magazine about all this:

    Before leaving his girlfriend’s apartment in Crown Heights, on the morning of his nineteenth arrest for impersonating and performing the functions of New York City Transit Authority employees, Darius McCollum put on an NYCTA subway conductor’s uniform and reflector vest. Over his feet he pulled transit-issue boots with lace guards and soles designed to withstand third-rail jolts.”

    Ooooh, I want those boots.

    Darius spent hundreds of hours watching trains at 179th Street. He estimated the angle of every track intersection in the yard. By the time he was eight, he could visualize the entire New York City subway system. (Later he memorized the architecture of the stations.)

    That’s heavy duty Asperger’s for you.

    “By this time Darius had cultivated a constellation of admirers at the 179th Street yard. Darius has always been deeply disarming. His charm resides in his peculiar intelligence, his perpetual receptivity to transporting delight, and his strange, self-endangering indifference to the consequences of his enthusiasm. Darius never curses. He has no regionally or culturally recognizable accent. He has a quick-to-appear, caricaturishly resonant laugh, like the laugh ascribed to Santa Claus, and he can appreciate certain comedic aspects of what he does, but he often laughs too long or when things aren’t funny, as when he mentions that he briefly worked on the LIRR route that Colin Ferguson took to slaughter commuters. Darius litters his speech with specialized vocabulary (“BIE incident,” “transverse-cab R-110”) and unusually formal phrases (“what this particular procedure entails,” “the teacher didn’t directly have any set curriculum studies”). He frequently and ingenuously uses the words “gee,” “heck,” “dog-gone,” “gosh,” and “dang.””

    I actually know what “transverse-cab R-110” is. It’s one of those newer prototype trains with a full width cab.

    “It is unlikely that Darius will omit the year he spent wearing an NYCTA superintendent’s shield. While he was doing a stint as a conductor, he discovered that he could have a shield made in a jewelry store. He began wearing it on a vest he pulled over his TA-specified shirt and tie. He had a hard hat and pirated I.D. Darius considered himself a track-department superintendent, so he signed out track-department vehicles and radios and drove around the city, supervising track maintenance and construction projects and responding to emergencies. “

    Amazing. In fact, it looks like he did a pretty good job. But still got some hard time for it.

    “”In any event,” Berkman said, “I don’t understand what the point is. … So far as I can tell there’s no treatment for Asperger’s. That is number one…. Number two, Asperger’s would not disable him from knowing that he’s not supposed to form credentials identifying him as an employee of the Transit Authority and go in and take trains or buses or vans or cars or other modes of transportation, which I gather has been his specialty…. “

    And I completely agree with the judge.

     
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