Transportation

The production of Little Women was more than worth the voyage. Here’s the rest of the story.

My drive to New Haven’s Union Station had a major surprise at the end. The usual 280-degree turn off the Route 34 connector had disappeared. Instead, I drove past multiple buildings with big signs saying “Railroad Station Parking.” I began to wonder if the lot at the station had closed. I dread walking a couple of blocks from the station to my car at night. But no, the station lot was open and only about three-quarters full, a surprise at 10 on Sunday morning. Uneventful train ride. Even the usual loss of power around Stamford has disappeared. A nice walk from Grand Central to the well-hidden PATH station that’s part of the Penn Station transportation hub.

metro

PATH was jammed with a variety of humanity including hip-hop boys, girls in earrings the size of their heads and multi-colored weaves, plus some tourists speaking German? Polish? The women’s purses looked like they cost more than my entire wardrobe. They departed at Newport, which I learned was a big transfer hub.

I should have followed my first instinct and bought lunch from the food court at Grand Central or perused the selections in Penn Station, but I wasn’t sure how long the rest of the trip would take. The selections at Journal Square included a McDonald’s, a Subway, and a very iffy looking pub. The rest of the commercial “district” consisted of emporiums offering threading, check cashing, and rows of boarded up windows. I went back into the station and got an inedible veggie burger from Deli Plus or whatever.

Grabbed a cab and watched the scenery pass – many, many churches, some open, some not. Residential options march up and down long-ish blocks from apartments to brownstones to Philadelphia-style row houses. The basic stock is good, but most buildings are suffering from decades of neglect. Except for a couple of immaculate oases, trash blew everywhere.

New Jersey City University sits on the edge. The buildings are serviceable but basic. Sign of the location: concertina wire atop the fence surrounding the parking lot across the street from the theater.

Gabrielle walked me to the light rail, which would take me to PATH. This time I was the only person over 40 on the train (I think). When I got out, I was misdirected to the station and very grateful for the jacket I had decided to wear. Temps were in the 50s and 60s, but the wind blew at gale-force level.

I was hungry, tired, and dehydrated but uplifted by the show. As I sat on PATH, strains of “Off to Massachusetts” and “Small Umbrella in the Rain” were playing happily in my head when some thug turned on a boom box so loud the windows vibrated. This idiot or another announced,  “Two bruthas gonna do a dance for you. Feel free to pay what you want.” I did not look up but did pull my feet out of the way when one of them whipped past me. I am eternally thankful that they left at the next stop. I had the feeling they were running because a passenger was about to call 911.

Treated myself to a cab ride from PATH to Grand Central where I ordered a food court dinner of Pad Thai with tofu. I declare it superior to most of what I’ve eaten in restaurants in Connecticut – and cheaper.

Drive home uneventful. Thank goodness they hadn’t re-arranged the entrance ramp to the interstate.

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