Sunday, April 5, 2009

In a Bag Concealed

Blog Post Number 1

Welcome to War of Yesterday. That's the title of a story I'll tell sometime, but it's not ready yet and it's not the right one to start with anyway. This first one will be relatively short and simple. Better stuff is coming. My goal is to post something new for each Monday. Let's see what happens.

Penn Station

My journey to work takes me through the New Jersey Transit portions of Penn Station. The station house— everything above track level— is a horribly designed replacement of the original Pennsylvania Railroad Station that was torn down in the 1960s. Good design makes the organization of space clear. Walk into Grand Central Terminal and notice how the design of the building itself draws you toward the main room, and once there how clear it is where to get tickets and where the tracks are. Not Penn Station. Without signs you're lost, and you can be lost even with the signs. I find my way by instinct and insider knowledge built up over years of hard commuting. It's a game. Maybe I'll describe how to play sometime. I almost don't look at the signs, but I have to say, three of them really stand out. Let's take them in inverse order of insanity.

Third place:

This way to New Jersey!

Maybe you think all the platforms at Penn Station have a sign like this at the west end, and that it is normal for station staff or train engineers to get turned around occasionally and not know whether they're facing New Jersey or Long Island. The first thing you need to know is that this sign is unique. The other platforms don't have one.

The thing that is totally crazy is that the train you see there next to the sign is on Track 2. Tracks 1 to 4 are stub tracks. At the other end of this platform, Track 2 ends at a bumper in front of a concrete wall. There is no chance of the engineer going out the wrong way.

I have really no idea about the small matching sign above it that has just a white dot.

Second place:

What must have happened here is that people got so excited about coming up with a phrase like "be it in a bag concealed" that their brains got addled and they lost track of where the sentence was going.

I don't know where they got the wording from. I am happy to say no language this silly is found in the New York City Administrative Code,Title 10, Public Safety, Section 125, which is about the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but says nothing at all about bags concealed.

The claim that all person(s) will be prosecuted is nonsense. A good defense would point out
station management's longstanding practice of renting space to countless establishments selling cold beer to take out (duly licensed) and raise questions of entrapment. The law will of course really be enforced selectively against person(s) whose presence is not wanted for some other reason. It's almost like prohibiting photography.

The winner:

Right. Press the STOP button only when the escalator is not moving. Then nobody gets hurt.

It could have been worse. One of these words could have been in quotation marks.

Next time: Either Runner Girl or Amiable Child.

No comments:

Post a Comment