Project Konigsberg #4 9/11
The walk is entirely next to or beneath vast imposing raised metal metro tracks and roads and the scale is amazing. Mark is getting excited by the riveting. At 21st and Queensbridge we descend into what could almost, but not quite, be described as a fairly nice station. It's good that it's almost, but not quite, fairly nice, because we have to wait forever for the F. This train constitutes crossing 16 via Roosevelt Island, whose cab-free clutches do not grasp us this time.
The plan is changed again; we go beyond 34th and get off at 23rd for a quick and painless change to the PATH, which takes us all the way to Hoboken via crossing 17. We's in New Jersey again and have made up a bit of time. There's in fact a 40 minute wait until our next service, and 40 minutes is roughly beer-shaped so we all dive into the Texas, Arizona pub opposite on the stroke of midday.
Once again, Guinness is served in imperial pints while everyone else gets short-changed. As the smaller drinks approach emptiness Andrew and Mark seek out an off licence, for it is legal to drink on NJ Transit and we want to exploit that fact. They return from a different directon to their departure and we skedaddle down to track 12 of the main Hoboken station. I am apparently the only one interested in the fantastic ticket hall.
On the train we occupy a bunch of seats and start talking and are really politely told it's the quiet carriage so we might want to move. A couple of carriages up and the beer is cracked open. I am handed some horrific hoppy thing that's 8% and bleurgh, but swap that for Mark's "Arrogant Bastard Ale" which is a mere 7.2%. This is the weakest of the ales purchased, and the bottles are huge. What have we done? And this is for a 27 minute journey.
Well, it should be 27 minutes, but we don't move anywhere and then 10 minutes late are told to piss off back to track 1. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to open-carry alcohol off the train but we have no choice. On the new train we head off fairly sharpish, our destination Teterboro for the Bendix diner.
Oh, Teterboro. There's no platform, you are just unceremoniously dumped on a small piece of concrete with a ticket machine and car park, next to a busy motorway flyover and ... the wrong side of the tracks. Literally. On the other side is a padlocked fence all the way along. the diner is, of course, over there.
There's no way across. Literally. The nearby road is lacking in much sidewalk and the motorway certainly is. There's no other public transport or cabs, of course. We're in the middle of fucking nowhere. There's a huge Walmart and Costco ahead so figure the latter will have a diner in it. As we approach we note it isn't quite a Costco yet, but rather a huge building site. So we skirt around the edge of Walmart, past its drive-thru pharmacy, and enter.
It's like that episode of South Park when Walmart comes to town. The place's scale is ridiculous and hilarious. There's a branch of Subway and I'm tempted to ask for a Subtember 11th sandwich, as advertsed by The Onion. Murray finds giant slabs of meat at a counter who will cut them for us, and some sliced breads. Andrew mans the meat while Murray goes searching for knives; Mark is despatched for butter; I search for soft drinks. Andrei says fuck this noise, I'm going to Subway.
I walk for what seems like hours and find nothing but industrial quantities of warm soft drinks. There are some vaguely sensible servings of what claims to be juice but this doesn't satisfy anyone's desire for fizz or caffeine except Mark, who angrily grabs some Minute Maid. Vegetables appear from somewhere and then while a tag team procession to the loos occur, the self-service till is attacked and we appear to have 3 carrier bags of picnic food.
On the other side we ascend 97 steep steps to the base of a water tower and the Manhattan side of the same park, and on the main street at its entrance we app it up for an UberXL to take us to Metro North, some kind of weird non-MTA metro thing. Traffic if horrific so we bail on the cab 3 blocks early and walk past a shitload of homeless crackheads and other poor bastards who are not a great advert for that situation. The station is pretty neat but in what I probably unreasonably consider to be a pretty sketchy place.
The tickets seem ludicrously expensive - $8.75 each to go one stop - and me and Mark both query, numerous times, whether our existing passes are valid because there's a little sign saying Metrocard. But they are not and we have no choice but to fork out the dollar for a 4 minute peak journey. Fucking hell.
That one stop is crossing 21, and deposits us at Yankee Stadium. We have tickets for tonight's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, huzzah. But we're a couple of hours early and this means visiting Stan's sports bar. It's already quite crowded but we do secure a table for 5 and the real drnking commences.