Tuesday, February 28, 2017

President Trump's 2017 State of the Union Address, I turned it off.

After watching the first 15 minutes of Donald Trump's first State of the Union address on the White House Facebook page, I turned him off.

I wanted to see President Trump talking about some more specifics of a middle-class income tax cut - - instead he repeated the same things he touched upon previously - - the US-Mexico wall, Mexican Cartels (and the Mafia is not supposed to be bad?).  He touched upon terrorist attacks by foreigners but fails to see how the Ku Klux Klan is rising again to be a greater threat than radical Islam (and ISIS is bloodthirsty).

But most of all, it's the same old story of bickering between liberals and conservatives - - they act like brats to each other and are unwilling to find a common ground.   I agree with some liberal points (civil rights, anti-assault weapons, protecting our environment, boosting wages, union strength and protections), however some liberal points are no good for my more conservative views (protection of religious liberties, putting able-bodied welfare recipients to work, government deregulation, strict illegal immigration laws while placing priority of the health and safety of individuals) and putting American people first.  Surely we had President Obama for 8 years, is the city of Detroit any better now?  No   Is the economy any better?  No   Are we in a collision course of the American spirit being decimated by racism, intolerance by the LGBT against religion (and intolerance against the LGBT community themselves in general), union destruction by Right-To-Work laws, a weaker and less educated American workforce. a crop of college graduates who know more about Beyonce than the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Theresa May), and the state of climate change?  Definitely yes.

But at the end of the day, I also must realize that Trump's address to Congress was required for any incoming President.  The U.S. Constitution requires a President (especially newly elected) to report to Congress from time to time.

But let's not forget one thing.  Whatever former President Obama responded after a terrorist attack, conservatives attacked him for PR stunts.  Trump is doing the same thing Obama is so what's the difference?   That's what a President does.

It's too bad that Trump's opening message on Black History Month was more of a fake PR stunt than a message of hope.  Want to respect minorities?  Get rid of Steven Bannon for good.  That's a start.

And as for Breitbart News, I will explain why Breitbart (unlike Fox News which tries to be "fair and balanced") is the most racist/sexist news site on the web today.    Good night everyone.

Monday, February 13, 2017

NYCT employees are unaware of the D and F swap.

Friday, I reported on the weekend's D and F route swaps in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I went out for a few hours on Saturday and after what I observed, NYCT managers need to stop ignoring the subways on weekends and see what's wrong.   There is a lot that is wrong, conductors on the L, 4, 6, and 7 lines not saying anything about the D/F station closures, no announcements or station personnel at certain stations and wrong information on display messages as well as the MTA press release.

The message signs and accompanying announcements about the 4 not running between Brooklyn Bridge and Utica/New Lots - - one of the suggested alternate routes is the D - - it should have been the F instead (because you can transfer between the 4 and F trains at Canal Street or 14th Street-Union Square).  Coordination and accuracy, please.

Next is the NYCT Press release, which mentions the D and F reroutes but has the standard Coney Island bound F trains bypass local stations between 18th Ave and Neptune along with instructions to take a Coney Island bound F then double back on a Manhattan bound F.  A footnote should have been used to avoid confusion because the D trains will bypass these stops (and on these weekends, Coney Island bound F train DO stop at Bay Parkway, of course the Bay Parkway on the D line).

Now the observations on Saturday 2/11 - - first on the 4 and 6 lines at Bleecker Street which is a transfer point to the D and F lines downstairs at Broadway-Lafayette.  A simple message advising customers who want F service to stay on the 4 or 6 to Canal Street would help.  For the D, they can take the shuttle bus upstairs to West 4th Street.   As for the Broadway-Lafayette station platforms, there were a lot of people waiting downstairs - - ignoring the signs upstairs.  However I didn't see any NYCT personnel at the stairs from the 4/6 Downtown and Uptown platforms.  Only one conductor actually mentioned no D and F service at Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette complex.

5:10 PM - - Southbound 4, car #7171 - failed
5:13 PM - - Northbound 6, car #1947 - passed (the only one)
5:23 PM - - Southbound 6, car #1747 - announcement was inaudible
5:28 PM - - Northbound 4, car #7164 - no announcement
5:54 PM - - Southbound 4, car #7106 - failed
6:10 PM - - Northbound 6, car #1767 - no announcement
6:16 PM - - Southbound 4, car #1103 - failed
6:25 PM - - Northbound 6, car #1976 - failed
6:33 PM - - Southbound 4, car #1131 - failed
6:41 PM - - northbound 6,  car #7591 - failed

I took a look at Canal Street on the lower (N/Q Bridge) platform, it was a huge mess.  No directions to N trains stopping on the R platform, or suggestions to take the F to Atlantic Ave for the N - - no platform conductors anywhere to give assistance and directions.  Next stop was the L line where it is a transfer point to F trains at 6th Ave/14th Street station.  Only one conductor on the L line passed.  And you cannot have the FIND display showing routes which are not running at a certain station, such as the 5 at Union Square and the F at 6th Ave.   NOTE for L train observations, northbound is towards 8th Ave, southbound is towards Canarsie.  In case the car numbers were the same between north and south runs, I stayed on the train at 8th Ave terminal as it usually was the next train to leave with a different crew operating the train.

7:02 PM - Northbound, car 8328 - failed
7:07 PM - Southbound, car 8328 - no announcement
7:16 PM - Northbound, car 8160 - failed
7:20 PM - Southbound, car 8160 - failed
7:25 PM - Northbound, car 8372 - failed
7:30 PM - Southbound, car 8372 - no announcement
7:41 PM - Northbound, car 8181 - failed
7:51 PM - Southbound, car 8244 - passed

And then over to the 7 line, where it is a transfer point to the D and F trains at 5th Ave, a good place to briefly strand customers when 7 line conductors don't say anything about the closure, and only when these customers walk down the passageway will they find out the D and F are not running there.  Northbound is towards Flushing-Main Street, southbound is towards 34th Street-Hudson Yards.  All of these conductors failed in not announcing the D/F closure

8:10 PM - Northbound, car #7284
8:21 PM - Southbound, car #7905
8:26 PM - Northbound, car #7535
8:30 PM - Southbound, car #7340
8:40 PM - Northbound, car #7940
8:46 PM - Southbound, car #7504
8:54 PM - Northbound, car #7869
9:08 PM - Southbound, car #7397
9:12 PM - Northbound, car #7467

Going back a little bit, on the weekend of January 21-22 there was no service on the 2 and 3 lines between Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Of course, if you took the downtown A to Chambers St, you would never know that these conductors would say nothing about no 2 and 3 service at Chambers/Park Place, nor at Fulton.   Additionally, northbound F trains were rerouted on the A and C lines, and with manual announcements made, they still told customers that they can transfer to the 2 and 3 as well.   In fact, the incorrect announcements are so bad, I saw a conductor on a northbound F train say "Transfer to the 2 and 3" at both stations - - with a Train Service Supervisor right behind him, listening to his announcements - - and saying nothing about this inaccuracy. 

 There were no C trains running to these stations, C trains from 168th Street were rerouted to 2nd Ave on the F line. Only one conductor on A and Northbound-only F trains actually said that there was no 2/3 service at these stations - - out of a total of 15 observations.  The following observations all took place on the evening of January 22, most of which took place while standing at Chambers Street, an island platform where it was possible to make both northbound and southbound observations at once.

7:07 PM - - Northbound F,  car 9522 - - failed
7:10 PM - - Northbound A, car 5959 - - failed (announced 2 train only
7:16 PM - - Southbound A, car 6018 - - failed
7:18 PM - - Northbound F,  car 9573 - - failed
7:24 PM - - Southbound A, car 5982 - - failed
7:28 PM - - Northbound F,  car 9447 - - failed
7:30 PM - - Northbound A, car 5866 - - failed
7:35 PM - - Southbound A, car 6210 - - failed
7:40 PM - - Northbound F, car  9422 - - failed
7:46 PM - - Southbound A, car 6004 - - failed
7:48 PM - - Northbound F, car  9783 - - failed (TSS was on board this train)
7:55 PM - - Southbound A, car 6154 - - No transfer announcement
8:03 PM - - Northbound A, car 6032 - - failed
8:05 PM - - Southbound A, car 6010 - - passed
8:15 PM - - Northbound F, car  9863 - - failed

One word of advice, don't ask conductors for directions because they will almost always give you the wrong answer.    Many times I would ask them where is the D/F or 2/3 and they would tell me where to go, not saying "they are not running".  How dismal is this when TSS and managers are not doing the jobs they are supposed to do?

Friday, February 10, 2017

NYPD gets busted on Inside Edition for illegal license plate covers

Last month I reported the NYPD's abusive practice of illegal parking, misuse of NYPD issued placards for their personal vehicles and filing false 311 reports on illegally parked vehicles.  I also reported a Twitter user @Placardabuse who (in addition to the aforementioned issues)  has been after the NYPD for illegal license plate covers (to evade tolls and violation cameras) as well as emission cheats (cops allowing their personal vehicles to lapse in their NY State Emissions stickers).

Well the NYPD was caught on camera by the syndicated news program, Inside Edition yesterday, and license plate covers could not be blurred for the TV cameras this time.  Lisa Guerrero who swoops down for the kill like a hawk against the bad guys posted a brilliant and outstanding investigative story for Inside Edition on the NYPD's rampant use of illegal license plate covers on the officer's and supervisor's personal cars.   Ms. Guerrero counted at least 100 personal vehicles owned/leased by NYPD law enforcement personnel having the plate covers, most of them park in and around 1 Police Plaza (and there are many more like these in the NYPD's Precincts, Transit and Housing Precincts).  This apparently was triggered by a story by the Gothamist website (kudos to them too).  The NYPD "claims" they are aware of the situation and issued approx 12 summonses to NYPD law enforcement vehicle owners - - must be a joke because that's 12 percent of the estimated 100 vehicles which Ms. Guerrero saw.  Oh the NYPD claims they are "addressing" the issue - - more lies since they were addressing this license plate cover issue with cops in 2011 and  2014

Now for the placard of the day (see  photos below) - - an NYPD vehicle with an expired from 2011 placard (5 years ago) - - so the NYPD's crackdown on bogus, stolen and abused parking placards going as far back as 2008 to 2011 with at one point over half of placards are fake or abused is definitely not working.   Wait a minute, this abuse was happening in 1999.  And the NYPD's promise last year to clean up parking placard abuse is all fake promises by the NYPD as Placard Abuse, and others like me are still seeing the rampant parking abuse by NYPD officers.

Another follow up report coming soon.

The craziest weekend coming up in the NYC subways

Brace yourself!

Not since the early 1980s has a weekend in the NYC subway system turned upside down from a myriad  of construction projects and reroutes - -   it all begins Friday night (2/10) at 10:30 PM, running until 5 AM Monday 2/13.   Two more weekends will follow with the same reroutes, including Presidents Day 2/20

There will be no service on the Orange 6th Ave stations from 57th Street/6th Ave all the way to Brooklyn.  The D will not be running normally between 59th Street/Columbus Circle and Coney Island via. West End (New Utrecht Ave and 86th Street) line.  The F will not be running normally between 63rd Street/Lexington Ave and Coney Island via. the Culver (Park Slope and McDonald Ave) line.     Here is the skinny

The following D/F stations will be fully closed all weekend:

57th Street
47th-50th Street, Rockefeller Center
42nd Street-Bryant Park
34th Street-Herald Square
23rd Street
14th Street
West 4th Street* (lower level only)  The upper level A/C/E platform will continue to be open.
Grand Street* (D line)
Second Ave* (F line)
Delancey Street* (F line)
East Broadway* (F line)
York Street*

(An asterisk * denotes that a shuttle bus route is available at this station)

7th Ave-53rd Street in Manhattan will remain open as E trains will continue to stop there.

The following shuttle bus routes are being utilized.

West 4th Street <=====> Broadway-Lafayette, 2nd Ave, Delancey and East Broadway
West 4th Street <=====> Broadway-Lafayette, and Grand Street
York Street <========> Jay Street--Metrotech

Now the reroutes.  In Brooklyn, the D and F routes swap places, see below.

D trains from the Bronx will run normal to 59th Street/Columbus Circle then start the crazy reroute on the A line all the way down to Jay Street-Metrotech.  At Jay Street, the D will arrive on the F track side and continue on the F to Coney Island.  As a reminder for Brooklyn F riders, due to long term station reconstruction, Coney Island bound D trains run express from 18th Ave to Neptune Ave, bypassing local stops.  D trains will arrive/depart on the F platform at Coney Island.  Going from Brooklyn to Manhattan, the D runs on the F line from Coney Island to Jay Street, switches over to the A line track and runs to 59th Street (express A stops in Manhattan) where it continues as a normal D to 205th Street

F trains from Queens will run normal to 63rd Street, then the reroute gets very interesting.   F trains switch over to the Q line where it will run express on the Broadway Q line to Canal Street, (Bridge Platform) run over the Manhattan Bridge where it will run on the D line (bypassing Dekalb Ave days and evenings, express Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center to 36th Street) and along the D West End line to Coney Island, arriving/departing on the D platform.   Returning is same way, D from Coney Island to Manhattan Bridge, Q from Manhattan Bridge to 63rd Street then normal F route to Queens.

Now some tips, first for the D line:

Remember in Brooklyn, an D is running on the F line while an F train is running on the D.  Either way, you will not be able to access any 6th Ave line station in Manhattan (except West 4th Street for the D stopping on the A platform) unless you use the shuttle bus, or get off at a nearby subway station.  Each closed station from Broadway-Lafayette to 7th Ave or 57th Street is no more than 1 block away from an active station.  For 57th Street and 6th Ave on the F line, take the F (or N/R/Q) to 57th Street and 7th Ave and walk one block.  For 7th Ave  and 53rd Street on the D line,coming from the Bronx, transfer to the E at 42nd Street-Port Authority (stay at the rear of the D train if you can as the Uptown platform is mostly north of the Downtown platform).  If you were asking me why I didn't suggest the 1 at 59th Street, sorry - - Downtown 1 (and late night 2) trains are not stopping there and run express due to trackwork.  You can also use the F/N/Q/R to 57th Street/7th Ave and use the south end (rear car of Uptown/Queens bound train, first car of Downtown/Brooklyn bound train) as there is an exit to 55th Street and 7th Ave, two blocks away.

The two crosstown subway routes (L line along 14th Street, 7 line along 42nd Street) allow you to utilize the stations closest to the 6th Ave line because they are transfer points when the D and F are running normally.  And West 4th Street continues to be open because A/C/E/D trains stop there

The N line will be remain on the R line from Canal Street all the way to 59th Street (both directions), making local stops.  The reasoning by NYCT is to prevent three subway lines (N, Q, and rerouted F) from clogging up train traffic over the Manhattan Bridge.  Additionally, you can use the N or R trains to transfer between the F and D trains - both ways - from an F train in Manhattan, you can switch to the N or R trains at any stop between 57th Street/7th Ave and 14th Street-Union Square, take them to Jay Street-Metrotech or 9th Street and transfer to the D (or you can stay on the F to Atlantic Ave for the N or R to 9th Street too).  From an D train in Manhattan, going to the West End line in Brooklyn, switch to the N or R at Jay Street, then transfer across the platform to a F train at Atlantic Ave.

On the F line stations in Brooklyn, if you just need a simple way to get between Brooklyn and Queens, use the G train to Court Square then switch over the the 7 or E

For York Street, if you can, walk over to the High Street station - - if not, use the shuttle bus to Jay Street

For Delancey Street, and if you need the F - - use the J or M (rerouted to Chambers Street, during these three weekends) then transfer at the following:  For Queens F stations, transfer at Canal Street and wait at the lower Bridge platform.  For Brooklyn F, transfer at Fulton Street for the D running downstairs at the A/C platform.

I remember the early 1980s on weekends, when D trains ran on the Brighton Line in Brooklyn (that's the B and Q lines today), the D from West 4th Street in Manhattan switched over to the M line and ran to Essex Street.  From there it would pick up a motorman (back in the days they were not train operators), run up to the entrance of the Williamsburg Bridge then reverse back all the way down the J and old M route to the R then Dekalb Ave - - all nonstop between West 4th Street or Broadway-Lafayette and Dekalb Ave.

So it goes, the reroute of the 1980s is now topped by these D and F line swaps.  Have fun because I will be out there this weekend.