Since March of 2020, masks have been part of our everyday lives. It’s almost like another limb or body part by now. If I leave my home without it, I get the feeling that I am missing something.
On September 8th, the NYC MTA announced the new policy on masking entitled “You Do You“. Essentially, it is a personal choice as to whether or not to put on the mask when on the bus or the train.
I understand why the decision was made. As time has gone on, many of us have gotten tired of the preventative measures that we took seriously just a short time ago. It has become harder to Let’s be honest, masks can be uncomfortable and a pain in the ass, especially if you wear glasses.
However, we also know that the virus is still with us. Too many are getting sick and dying from the disease. Even though we know that the vaccine is safe and more importantly, saves lives, many Americans still refuse to get the shot.
For the time being, I will continue to wear my mask. Not just for me, but for everyone else around me.
We all know that NYC is an expensive place to live. As much as I love this city, I am fully aware that the cost of everything is higher. But, if you know where the look, there are ways of saving a few dollars.
Take public transportation. Like anyone who lives there, I am fully aware of the downsides of using the MTA to get around. But even with those problems, there is no beating that for one fare, you can go from one end of the city to another, 24/7/365.
The dollar store is your best friend. Not everything is cheaper than the big box stores, but the deals may be surprising.
Not everyone can afford to live alone. Though the roommate experience is sometimes hit or miss (as I painfully remember), it is the most economical way to reside here if you cannot afford an apartment on your own.
If you need furniture, there are multiple options: local stores, Craigslist, various apps, etc. If you must buy new and prefer to go to a name brand store, hit up Target or Ikea. They are a pain in the ass to put together (even if you have to pay someone), but overall, it is worth it. The pieces I bought from Ikea more than a decade ago are still in good condition.
When it comes time to get a haircut, find a local salon. Their work is just as good as the expensive salons and many will throw in a free blowout. In my experience, the ones owned by AAPI owners provide a pretty good service at a price that will not break the bank.
Buy in bulk, large sizes, and store brands. If you do have access to a car, stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are worth the drive and the membership fee.
Take advantage of the opportunities to be outdoors. Most, if not all of the parks and beaches are free to enter.
Use Yelp and Time Out. Yelp is great because the reviews come from customers. Time Out has listings for things to do that will please almost anyone.
If you can, purchase your produce from a street vendor. The quality is just as good as a traditional retailer and the price is just a tad cheaper.
Finally, if you want to see a Broadway show, there are ways to have this experience that will not empty your wallet. If you are willing and/or able to climb stairs, seats on the upper levels of the theaters are always cheaper. For me, it’s about the experience. I don’t mind going up a few flights. Organizations like TKTS sell tickets at discounted prices. However, not every show is listed (especially the popular shows) and the desired seats are not always available. There is also the option of going to one of the booths. The primary one is located in Times Square. Just prepared to be waiting in a very long line.
We never know what will happen when we open our eyes in the morning. The day could be as ordinary as ordinary can be. Or, it can shake you to your core.
At about 8:30 this morning, during the rush hour, a man walked onto a northbound N train at the 36th Street and 4th Ave stop in Brooklyn. He detonated a smoke bomb and started shooting. As of earlier today, 10 people were shot and multiple others were injured. A good portion of the NYC MTA subway system was either shut down or dramatically altered for most of the day.
I know the station where this attack happened. Events like these are always scary. But they are even scarier when they are close to home. Today was one of those days when I was more than grateful that my company still allows us to work from home. The truth is that 99.9% of the time, the biggest inconvenience when getting on the train is a delay or track work that forces a change in travel plans. Those are normal in my world.
What happened today scared the shit out of me. I know that come tomorrow, I will shake the dust off (as will anyone who calls this city home) and go about my business as usual.
But that does not mean that what happened will not leave a scar.
If there is one thing New York City is known for, it is our subway system. It is the lifeblood of not just the city itself, but of the region. Without it, NYC would not be what it is.
Last weekend, Michelle Go was shoved toward a subway car by a homeless man as it barreled into the Times Square station. She did not survive. The accused, who will not be named on this blog, has a history of previous arrests and emotionally disturbing encounters with riders.
There are two theories as to why Ms. Go was targeted. The first is that the accused has severe mental health problems and should not have been on the streets. The problem with this accusation is that it casts a shadow on everyone who lives with a mental illness. The truth is that most of us who live with it are just trying to get by. If such an act happens, we are more likely to be the victim, not the perpetrator.
The second theory is that she was targeted because of her ethnicity. It is sadly not the first time this has happened and will not be the last time. Back in November, Bew Jirajariyawetch was chocked one station south of where Ms. Go was killed. Ms. Jirajariyawetch is a model originally from Thailand.
My feeling is that both played a role in Ms. Go’s death. Which as a rider of the NYC transit system scares the shit out of me. I should not be afraid to get on the bus or train. But until the city does what they need to do to protect straphangers, I am forced to be more vigilant than I have been before.
The 2020 election is little more than a year away. Among the many candidates who are running under the Democratic ticket is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
I beg of you, please do not vote for him. He talks a good game, but his actions do not match his words. During his initial 2013 campaign, he referred to NYC as a “tale of two cities” and promised to fix the problems that separate the wealthiest New Yorkers from the poorest New Yorkers. Six years later, those problems have not been resolved.
It doesn’t take much to see that his promises are nothing but air. The schools are a mess, the MTA and NYCHA are hot messes, homelessness is going up and the imbalance has increased, not decreased.
Like many Americans, I want to see a progressive politician in office. But I also want someone who follows through on their campaign promises.
During his initial election for Mayor, he ran on a platform entitled “A Tale of Two Cities” He promised to fix in the inequalities that have plagued this city for decades. While I completely understand the fixing the inequalities that affect every day citizens requires time and work, he has yet to fulfill his campaign promise.
Your responsibility Mr. Mayor, is to the citizens of New York City, not the to the primary voters of the 2020 Presidential election. You can run in 2024, after your term as Mayor is over. But for now, I suggest you focus on the job the voters hired you to do.
Anyone who has lived and/or visited NYC will tell you that the public transit system is the lifeblood of the city. Without the MTA, New York City would not be New York City.
This week, it was announced that the cost of taking the trains and buses would be going up both next year and in 2021.
I get it, I really do. The MTA, like any organization, has expenses to pay. They have to maintain their payroll while getting their riders to their final destination in a reasonable amount of time. The subway system is more than a century old. The damage that Hurricane Sandy did to the system in 2012 is still not completely repaired.
The MTA is not the first company, nor is it the last company that will raise prices to insure that external and internal expenses are paid on time and in full.
But there is a catch here. The catch is that with the fare hike, the service improves. The MTA has been slowly raising the cost of riding the subways and buses for nearly a decade, but the service, for the most part, remains the same.
In the end, whatever the final total is on the price hike, we will pay it. We know it and the people who run the MTA know it. I just wish the quality of the service warranted the hike.
I get it. The MTA needs to pay their bills and their employees. The trains and buses run 24/7/365. You can get on the train at Coney Island and ride all the way up to the top of the Bronx on one fare. There are very few public transportation systems in the world than run all day, every day and you don’t need to pay based on your destination.
The people who run the MTA know that we need them. New York City would become paralyzed, on multiple levels without the trains and buses. The MTA is the the lifeblood of this city.
I wouldn’t mind a fare hike if the service was improved somehow. Or the buses and trains were cleaner. If they are going to raise rates, I need to see that the money I pay them to get me around town is going toward something useful.
But if they are going to raise their rates because they can’t control their finances, that is not my problem and I should not have to pay more to fix their problem.
I an aware that parenting is a challenge. In this crazy, always on the move, 24/7/365 city that we call home, parenting is even more complicated.
I do have one request of NYC parents, especially if they have young kids and rely on public transportation to get around: teach your kids that the train car is not a playground.
I was on the train yesterday afternoon. A woman with a little boy, around 4 or 5 years old, got on with me. This little boy preceded to use the train car as his own personal playground. The mother did next to nothing to keep her child in a seat. Now this is not the case every day. There are plenty of parents who can keep their child entertained and sitting while traveling on public transportation.
Imagine if this little boy had gotten hurt. The only person at fault would be the mother who did not keep her child in a seat while traveling on a moving subway car. Not the city, not the MTA, but the mother.
In conclusion, I ask that you, the NYC living, MTA riding parent, teach your child to stay seated while on the train. For your sanity and for mine.