Bright Lights Bigger City: Tales of public transportation

In the past, whenever I had heard someone say they thought the New York City subway system was confusing, I had secretly (or openly) mocked them. Based on my tiny bit of experience going to Yankee games and visiting my mom’s office in Rockefeller Center, I thought I knew my way around pretty well, and always said, “New York is a grid, the trains go either uptown and downtown or east and west, how hard can it be?” Having lived here for about a month, I’m ready to admit it: the New York subway system can be incredibly confusing.

There goes my train...

There goes my train...
Photo by Jillian Timko/Gavel Media

First of all, there’s the express versus local debate. Not all the trains stop at every stop all the time, but this schedule can change by the hour, and you can never really be sure where your train will stop until you actually get on the train. At that point, you’ve either missed your stop completely, or you have to get off at the next station and wait for another train. So far, I’ve been a lucky guesser, but I’m sure my day will come where I have to do the subway walk-of-shame of exiting on one side of the station only to go back down on the other side because I missed my stop.

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This normal level of chaos has only been compounded by construction, partially brought on by Hurricane Sandy and partially brought on by the summer season. Especially downtown in the financial district where I work, trains don’t run on their normal routes, and many parts of the southern-most Manhattan subway stations are still closed. Sometimes, the construction confusion can work in your favor. I was able to take the express 4 train straight downtown from Yankee Stadium to my apartment without switching to the local because the trains were running on different schedules for one Saturday. Other times, it does not, like when my boyfriend’s normal subway to work skipped his stop without warning because of construction, and he had to get off at the next one and backtrack by half an hour to get to his office.

Hurricane Sandy construction

Hurricane Sandy construction.
Courtesy of the MTA of the State of New York/Wikimedia Commons

The third layer to this problem is the amount of people trying to take the subway. I knew New York was crowded, of course. But the New York City subway at rush hour can push even my unconditional love for this city. I’m either getting hit by someone pushing through the crowd to get on or off the train, or I’m the one doing the hitting—my apologies to everyone who I smacked with my computer as I ran to get off the 2 train at 14th St. last night.

At least I'm not this guy

At least I'm not this guy.
Photo by Jillian Timko/Gavel Media

Despite all of this, I can’t help but think that there’s something very New York-ish about the chaos of the underground, and I’m ready and willing to forgive.  Hey, I could be taking the T every day.

Grand Central, the most beautiful subway station of them all

Grand Central, the most beautiful subway station of them all.
Photo Courtesy of Harald Hoyer/Wikimedia Commons

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Name: Jillian Timko
School, major and year: Arts and Sciences, International Studies, 2014
Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ
What makes the Gavel so BANGin’? I love the Gavel because it’s so new. We are still figuring out who we are as an organization and how far we can go. While this presents us with a clear set of challenges, it’s really fun to try different things and build our own identity.
You have 24 hours to give prospective students a tour of BC and convince them to enroll. How do you spend the day?
First, I would take them on an actual tour of the campus—it’s beautiful and deserves to be shown off. Then I would take them to a football tailgate, a hockey game, and to Marathon Monday. And we would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Hillside – after an egg sandwich, a Panini, and a cheeseburger, who wouldn’t want to go to BC?
If you could go back in time and give yourself a pep talk the night before you moved into BC as a freshman, what is the most important piece of advice that you would give to your former self?
I would tell myself to keep pushing to meet new people and try new things. It’s easy to get stuck in a groove you’re comfortable with, but you should never limit yourself like that—the people at BC and the school itself have so much to offer.
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
A classroom in Gasson, or the booths on the first floor of O’Neill.
What is your go-to meal at Late Night?
Usually mozzarella sticks, sometimes pizza…
What is the #1 most played song on your iTunes?
Love and Memories by OAR
What is the best Halloween costume that you have ever worn?
I was a gumball machine, along with our lovely editor-in-chief, and we rocked it.
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
There’s this Italian restaurant called Bolu in my hometown. It’s always absolutely delicious, and it has enough variety on its menu to get me through the rest of my life.
If you could befriend the main characters from any TV show or movie, who would you choose and why?
The characters on How I Met Your Mother. Mainly so I could experience the joy of high-fiving Barney Stinson all the time.

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