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June 11, 2004


When You've Missed the Last Train+

The Times examines the fates of those poor, usually drunk fools who show up at Grand Central, hoping to get home to Westchester or Connecticut, only to learn that, unlike the subway, the trains don't run all night. Rich kids who stayed out too late after their prom, financiers who stayed for one last show at a strip club, and revellers who use the station as an extension of whatever bar they were just at all end up stranded. There are some great little stories that illustrate one of my favorite NYC phenomena: the way the city becomes a wilder, drunker, and more unpredictable version of itself after midnight, and spaces that are filled with upstanding, reserved people during the day, like the subway or train stations, are transformed into a more grown-up version of a frat house basement late at night. The station master describes one story: ""Most of the guys who come late have had a few too many," he said. "Sometimes they miss the train because they're so drunk they go to the wrong track." As if on cue, a woman in a black cocktail dress crouched down behind him and threw up into a shopping bag. Mr. Angus, a 29-year veteran of Grand Central, shook his head and helped the woman to her train."

The article also discusses the opportunistic but very popular cab drivers who offer expensive rides home to stranded suburbanites. What they don't go into (maybe a topic for a future article) is what happens to those people who live in the city, and are taking a subway or train home very late at night, and happen to fall asleep on the train, miss their stop, and wind up in some extremely remote part of the city, or if they're on a commuter-rail line, even in another city all together. These people then have to find a cab in the middle of the night in some small bedroom community and convince the cabbie to drive them back into the city, because there won't be a train for 4 hours. Not that I would know anything about that. - Amy

...or what happens to those people who end up dashing off the train late at night to throw up in the closest garbage can, and then are forced to sit in the station waiting for the next one while people look at them suspiciously. Again, not that I would know. - Emily

categories: NYC
posted by amy at 10:45 AM | #