Tag Archives: Life in New York City

What’s It Like Living in New York City? Rant #1 – Barclays Center

I have decided to take advantage of the fact that i live in New York City and do some posts about it.  While I intend to post some nice things about living in New York at some point, that point will not be today.

Today I will be ranting about Barclays Center.  I hate this thing.  It is New York City’s brand new arena, located in Downtown Brooklyn. It can hold up to 19,000 people.  It has been open less than a year now.

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

I honestly do not know if this thing is painted a rust color or if it was made out of cheap metal that rusted.  For the intent and purpose of HATE, I am going to act like I know for a fact that it is the latter.

This rusted out piece of crap was built right at a major transportation hub.  Not only do many subway lines stop here, it is also a stop on the Long Island Railroad – which is the commuter rail between New York and you guessed it – Long Island.  The Long Island Railroad is also what us Brooklynites are expected to take to JFK Airport.  It is only fifteen minutes to the JFK Airtrain from this stop.

Sounds good right?  WRONG.

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The MTA (that would be the Metropolitan Transit Authority – the organization that anyone who lives in NYC can tell you is the worst run organization on the planet) decided to use Barclays as a reason to fancy up this train station.  Never mind that the MTA is constantly crying poor and raising fares, and doing illogical things like making my train local in Manhattan because of budget woes.

The budget woes are a lie. They clearly have plenty of money to waste.  How so?  Read on.

This stop on the Long Island Railroad has forever been named “Flatbush Avenue”.  But with the new “I hope you have a tetanus shot” monstrosity that is Barclays Center, they decided to change the name to Atlantic Terminal.  Without telling anyone.  Why on earth this was necessary completely eludes me.  Does having the new name mean that people who have never ridden the subway or the Long Island Railroad before are suddenly now going to?? “Oh Honey look, we can take the train to Atlantic Terminal, that sounds fun!”  NO. IT DOES NOT.  THERE WAS NO REASON TO CHANGE THE NAME. NONE.  I can’t even imagine how much money went into changing the name.  Money the MTA claims it does not have. But they are LIARS.

Now maybe you are wondering what the big deal is.  Seriously, it is just a name change, who cares?  Here is why I care.

Once upon a time, I was going home from Long Island.  I had to buy a ticket at the ticket machine (they charge you an extra $5 if you buy one on the train).  I tried picking my destination stop – Flatbush Avenue – as I have done millions of times before.  But it was not there.  What do you MEAN its not there?  Why can’t I pick Flatbush Avenue?  Am I typing in the wrong letters?  What the hell.   So I end up buying one to Penn Station, which is the same fare zone and figure I will just use that.  Easy Peasy.  I board the train and ask about why I can’t buy a ticket to Flatbush Avenue and it is only then that I am informed they changed the name to Atlantic Terminal. WELL WHY DON’T YOU LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS?  LET PEOPLE TYPE IN “FLATBUSH” AND THEN TELL THEM ON THE SCREEN THAT THE NEW NAME IS “ATLANTIC TERMINAL”.  WOULD THIS BE SO HARD?

I had it easy though.  A friend of mine had it much worse.  She was on Long Island and did not know what time her train going back home left.  She called the automated number for The Long Island Railroad to hear the schedule.  This is a whole other source of HATE.  A few months prior to this happening, the MTA, who cries poor, had money to redo their automated phone thingy.   It used to be “type the first three letters of the station you are going to”.  Now, no more.  They spent money that they don’t have; fixing a system that was not broken.  Now you have to speak the station you are going to.  No option left to type in the letters.  Long Islanders refuse to pronounce anything the way it looks.  So for the past few months, you would call and tell the automated thingy where you were going and it would never understand the station you were saying.  Presumably because you are not speaking with an entire pack of gum in your mouth, causing you to talk like a mongoloid.  (I grew up on Long Island; I am allowed to say this about Long Islanders).  So you would have to try and speak Long Island.  Ronkonkoma becomes “Ronkon-kuh-muh”.  Jamaica becomes Juh-may-kuh” and so on.  For reasons I don’t understand, you must also speak in a low toned voice if you are from Long Island.  Think: Big Ang (yes she is from Staten Island but I cannot think of any “celebrity” from Long Island to use as an example)

Anyway – back to the automated STUPID HATE – usually you were able to get the correct information by your third try.

But upon no one knowing the name of the train station was changed to Atlantic Terminal – this happens:   “You have indicated you are going to Syosset, is this correct?”  NO FLATBUSH.  “You are going to Babylon, is this correct?” NO YOU ASSHOLE I SAID FLATBUSH.  “You are going to Jamaica, is this correct”?  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME I SAID FUCKING FLATBUSH.  IT DOESN’T EVEN SOUND LIKE JAMAICA.  I FUCKING HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU.  After waiting 20 minutes for an operator, she learned that Flatbush is now Atlantic Terminal.  WELL WHY DON’T YOU JUST SAY THAT?

But HATE doesn’t stop there.  In addition to changing the name to “Atlantic Terminal” without telling anyone, they also attempted to make this station fancy. FAIL.  There are six tracks for the Long Island Railroad here.   There used to be a staircase shared by two tracks. So if your train was on track one or two, you would walk down the staircase intended for tracks one and two. Simple.  Those are now gone.  Instead of having three staircases going to specific tracks, they now have two staircases going to all tracks.  In addition to that, they also made the staircases smaller.  The staircases used to look like this.  You can easily fit three or four people wide across one.

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Now with the new staircases, they are narrower so you can only fit two people wide.  As if that was not enough, they put a fucking divider in the middle.  So if there are people walking up on both sides of the staircase, you have to wait before going down. No one can move to the side because of the divider.   If many people keep walking up when you are trying to get down, you eventually have to start hyperventilating and trying so hard to not DEATH because you cannot get down the stupid staircase.

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If you are going to redo an entire station at a major transportation hub, you should at the very least put in an ESCALATOR.  You want people to use this train to go to the airport. So why would you not put in an escalator for people with luggage?  It would also fix the “Everyone is walking up and I cannot get down” problem.   AM I RIGHT?  Jesus.

Now to be fair, there IS an old elevator here.  Much like every elevator in any subway station in New York, it reeks of piss.  They all do.  So rather than make an escalator, the MTA would prefer for you to either utilize the “lug” in “luggage” to go up the stairs (that you may not be able to walk up if people are coming down on both sides) or to breathe in piss on an overcrowded elevator.  This before transferring that piss to your luggage and eventually into your apartment. What’s the big deal anyway? It is not like NOT rolling your bag into a puddle of elevator piss meant you were not bringing residual piss into your apartment from the subway floor anyway, right?  Right.

Up next in this series:  I discover that my train station is Brooklyn’s very own Angkor Wat.