June 27, 2010

Last B37 Third Avenue Bus

Saturday, June 27, 1150pm.

The last northbound B37 bus pulls out of the Bay Ridge Avenue stop, pauses at the light, and then heads to downtown Brooklyn, never to be seen again.

June 25, 2010

The M Train's Last Run

Today, I joined about ten train fans and a few normal commuters on the last M train passing south through lower Manhattan into Brooklyn's Sunset Park, Borough Park, and Bensonhurst.

Here, the last M train pulls out of 36th Street, on the slow chug to Bay Parkway and into history.

Last Days for Third Avenue Bus

This morning, I commuted to work using the B-37 ( Third Avenue ) bus.

There were a lot of regulars on the bus, for whom this was their normal means of commuting. They greeted their fellow passengers with hellos, hugs and kisses. One woman hugged the bus driver upon leaving.

They'll all have to find a new way to get to work come Monday.

A woman in dark glasses drove the bus. " I used to take the bus all the time when I was a girl ", she said. " I grew up in the neighborhood ".

I wished her well, and transferred to the A train at Hoyt Schermerhorn for the ride to lower Manhattan.

Tonight, I plan to take the last-ever M train out of lower Manhattan. It will leave Fulton St at just after 7pm. I'll get off at Lawrence St and catch the Third Avenue bus at Willoughby St, for my last ride on the B37.

The B37 fades into history at 1201am Sunday. If you want to ride it for the last time, you'd better get going

The B37 stops at Third Avenue and 37th St, Friday, June 25, 740pm

June 15, 2010

Bloody Sunday

In 2007, I was in Ireland. Much to the amazement of some of my friends in New York and Dublin, I decided to go north of the border. To Belfast. Then out west, to Derry, without an agenda.

I checked into Joan Pyne's Bed & Breakfast on Great James Street Saturday morning. Roamed the Walls of Derry, had a pint or two, spoke to a few locals.

And learned that the next morning was the 25th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday killings.

And that there would be a commemorative march along the route of the original march in 1972.

I walked with them that beautiful Sunday morning, up the hill to the Creggan Estate, back into the town I saw no angry people - this was a day to remember, not to vent. One comment I remember was about how completely unnecessary the violence was.

One of the people I spoke with gave me a small pin. I thanked him, and promised that I would keep it, and that I would show it to people. Here it is.

June 14, 2010

Bay Ridge Bus Cuts - What's Not in It For You

Third Avenue Bus - No More B37. Get Ready for the B70

Take a look at this B37 bus, parked in front of the Fu Lai Kitchen by 69th Street. It won't be around for long.

The Third Avenue bus began service in 1942 if I read wiki correctly, and there was streetcar service on Third Avenue before that. I believe that it always pretty much on its current route - from Fort Hamilton, all the way down Third, past the Fulton Street shopping area, up to Borough Hall.

There's one problem with a full length Third Avenue bus today - not enough people ride it between Bay Ridge or Sunset Park to downtown Brooklyn. Maybe back in the old days the service was needed, perhaps to to shop " downtown" in Fulton St - but Fulton St has been shabby for decades now, and you'll have an easier time buying most things in Century 21 anyway.

There will still be a Third Avenue bus for Bay Ridge and Sunset Park though. An existing bus, the B70 , which currently runs on Seventh and Eighth Avenues, will be rerouted so that there is a segment on Bay Ridge Avenue ( between Third and Eighth Avenues ) , and along Third Avenue ( from Bay Ridge Avenue to 95th St or wherever ) then turning up to terminate at the VA Hospital. ( edit from initial post )

This is a creative solution that allows continued bus service for our neighborhood and for the largely senior citizen ridership that like taking the bus and who don't want to take the subway.

The B1 and B64 Switcheroo

The B1 currently runs up Bay Ridge Avenue ( 69th St ), hangs a right on 13th Avenue, takes the left on 86th St, then terminates in Manhattan Beach. The B64 runs up 86th Street, swings over to Bath Avenue, then winds up in Coney Island, by the subway terminal.

These routes will basically reverse their eastern terminals. The new B64 will run up Bay Ridge Avenue and end up in Coney Island. The new B1 will run up 86th St, and wind up in Manhattan Beach. I think that the reason they're doing this is to have one bus ( the new B1 ) run pretty much the entire length of 86th St.

It's fine by me - I live near Bay Ridge Avenue, and will now have one-seat service for the occasional trip to a Brooklyn Cyclones game.

No More Express Buses on the Weekend

The X27 and X28 Express buses will no longer run on Saturdays or Sundays. To be honest, I have no problem with that. These buses have an astonishingly low ridership on the weekends - some of the buses run completely empty to and from Manhattan during daylight hours. Anyone who says that this is an essential service is full of it.

The bus service changes will inconvenience some of us to be sure. But these are tough times, and we can't afford to have services that not enough people use. Use it or lose it.

Debate welcome, and if I have made any errors, let me know.

June 13, 2010

New York Subway and Bus Cuts - The Impact on Bay Ridge

Brooklyn bound M train at Broad Street, 630 pm one day last week.

On midnight, Friday June 25, a number of changes will take place in NYC bus and subway service. Some routes will be eliminated, others will be altered, some will see frequency of service reduced.

But how will this impact Bay Ridge

Lets look at the subways first. And to properly look at this, we need to look at the M train and the W, which don't serve Bay Ridge.

I believe that the changes will be as follows:
  • the W train, which runs from Astoria to Whitehall Street, will be eliminated.
  • the M train, which during morning and evening rush hours went from the Fulton St / Wall Street area to 36th Street ( and then on to Bay Parkway ) will be completely rerouted and will no longer come anywhere near Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, or Bensonhurst.
  • The N train won't run as an express train in Manhattan anymore. It will run over the Manhattan Bridge, but will then run local from Canal Street and midtown
  • R train service will not be directly affected. They will run as frequently as before
The W train wasn't heavily used, and at times, the W trains would bunch up approaching Whitehall Street, causing delays for us R train riders. But it did take some passengers who otherwise would take the R train. Without the W, the R train will be more crowded in Manhattan.

The M train has never made sense in this part of Brooklyn. It had a very low ridership - the one line on the subway system where you could always get a seat on rush hour. I take it a lot, and would refer to it as my " private limo " - more than once, it I've taken the last M train to Brooklyn at around 704pm, I'd be the only passenger in the car. I will miss my private limo, but it makes sense to get rid of the M train to this part of Brooklyn.

The loss of the N express in Manhattan is really bad. Since the Sea Beach line was fully restored some years back, it's been one of the best lines in the city, a great service for Bay Ridge and Sunset Park riders. Now that its not an express in the city, we've lost something.

The R train? Well, lets just say the Fourth Avenue Local will be more crowded during peak hours. Especially as of Whitehall Street going into work, when the Staten Island commuters get on board. There will be no more W train to take the pressure off.

These changes have not been fully explained by the MTA. There are posters in the subway stations explaining some aspects of the changes - you should check them out. If I've made any errors above, please set me straight.

Tomorrow- how the Third Avenue bus and other bus changes will affect Bay Ridge.