April Fools’!

As many of you surmised, yesterday’s post about the Metro-North Heritage Unit Program was most definitely an April fools’ joke. Here are some of the reactions from our little bit of tomfoolery:

I was about ready to share this with a friend when I remembered what day it is.

Enough of this nonsense. Just try to get me home on time.

Unless there is a formal press release by the MTA or CDOT, no one should buy this.

That is the UGLIEST paint scheme on a Genny I’ve ever seen!

Metro North Heritage
Nope. Not real.

Admittedly, I designed the scheme to be as ugly as possible, while still looking like one of the New York Central’s old designs, just to get everyone’s goat. While at some point in the future it would certainly be cool to see a heritage unit program at Metro-North, there are a lot of more important things the railroad needs to do, and has begun to do, before any of that.

While clearly the main goal of this site is to present history and photography, I Ride the Harlem Line itself has a long history of pulling everybody’s leg on the first of April. Here’s a look back at some of the pranks we’ve pulled over the past few years, April Fools’ and otherwise.

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The aftermath of Sandy on Metro-North, in one photo

Yes, this is the Hudson Line. Ossining, in fact. Metro-North service is still suspended, with no timetable for restoring service. Similar to Irene, the MTA has been keeping everyone apprised of what has been going on through their Flickr account. Some truly astonishing stuff. I couldn’t help poke fun at that one photo, however. Hopefully there will be service restoration soon, Metro-North is out surveying the damage, and hopefully not finding any more boats on the tracks…

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Have you checked out “The New York Commuter’s Glossary” yet?

Have you checked out “The New York Commuter’s Glossary” yet? If you haven’t yet heard of the book, it is a humorous little collection of words and illustrations related to the art of commuting. It was written by Mike Malone – who is the man behind Train Jotting, illustrated by the awesome Joe Walden, and of course, designed by me. You can buy copies online, or if you happen to be in the White Plains area, Gary Waxman is selling copies at his newsstand in the train station. You can also find it at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville.


Gary Waxman shows off the book


Yes, this book was designed while riding Metro-North

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The Curious Incident of the Post-its in the Train Station

When it comes to my home station of Goldens Bridge, I like to think that I am observant to the changes that happen there. I usually notice when, at some point during the day, maintenance workers have been at the station (still repairing that winter damage to the yellow tactile stripping, I see. Perhaps it will be done by this winter?). I usually notice when people plaster the walls with various bits of propaganda. I definitely notice when the drunks kick the windows in, or the degenerate neighborhood youths graffiti up the station. I disgustedly notice the colonies of spiders that have made the station their home, and am mildly amused when they drop onto unsuspecting commuters waiting on the platform (but am less amused when it happens to me).

So when post-it notes began popping up in the evenings at the station, I noticed. They were everywhere. Even if you are not one of the observant riders, you probably noticed. Someone is trying to send a message to another commuter – and I attempted to imagine who was crafting these notes, and for whom they were posted. Beyond the fact that the creator has an English deficiency, I didn’t get too far with my pointless musings. Alright, maybe I was imagining in my head my roommate doing this, before heading to work at whatever gentleman’s club she is now employed. I’m glad whoever came to clean up the post-its had a sense of humor: they got rid of all the grammatically poor and overly sentimental notes, and kept my “fixed that for you” note.

 
  
   
  
 

However, if you ask me, we should begin a post-it revolution. Grab a pad, write something amusing, slap it somewhere in the station. We can certainly come up with better and more entertaining notes that at least have appropriately-placed apostrophes. Sure, it leaves more for those cleaning people to pick up (Whenever they actually come to the station, that is. Hell, while they’re at it, they can wash the windows so we don’t have to see crude phallic sketches in the layers of dust!), but it is less work than cleaning up graffiti. And it is somewhat amusing. Or at least I think so. But considering how easily amused I am, I may not be a good judge of that. Seriously though, let’s start a revolution to amuse people while they wait on the platform. Some of you sour-pusses certainly need it – after you finish up your breakfasts of lemons, of course.

 
  
   
  

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Attention: Cows do not count as pets on Metro-North

In case you are unaware, I just wanted to let you all know that on Metro-North cows do not count as pets. People can, and do, take both dogs and cats on the train. That is a normal occurrence. However, one of my favorite questions to ask Metro-North employees is what is the craziest item you’ve ever seen a passenger attempt to bring on the train? I’ve heard quite the array of answers, from patio sets to snowblowers to sheetrock. Animals occasionally factor in – snakes, iguanas, (live) chickens… there are rumors of a goat on the Upper Harlem, but I’ve found no one to confirm this.

Anyone who is employed by Metro-North’s customer relations department is bound to have quite the experience in being asked some pretty crazy questions. I know that in my short stint as a phone tech in a computer service center I was asked (and told) some pretty crazy things. Thankfully, I’ve been on the opposite side of customer service questions for quite a few years. I am the stupid customer. Or perhaps more apt – the trickster.

Trouble always seems to be two steps behind me, and I can’t resist playing a little joke every now and again. In this case, I couldn’t resist messing around with @MetroNorthTweet – Metro-North’s presence on the social-media site Twitter. I will not lie – I was aware that Ted, the normal person behind @MetroNorthTweet, was not around and another person would be monitoring the account. Yeah, that probably played a little part…

First, I had to set the stage. I’m so proud of myself, I thought of this on the train platform.

Now, I assure you, I had no intentions of messing with @MetroNorthTweet solely to post it here. Just the fact that other people started chiming in made me decide later on that I should post this. In fact, it was probably the highlight of my day! Thanks Metro-North, and Chamelle for being such a good sport!


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Some “well-educated” fashion

Do you want to let everyone on the train know how well educated you are? Some “well educated” fashion may be just what the conductor ordered… It has always been my dream to have a “stupid people” clothing line… actually, no, I just made that up. But here are three delightful shirts that you can actually own – you can not only be the most well educated train rider, but by far the most fashionable!

Interested in being the best-dressed on your train? Get your own shirt by clicking on the design you want below!



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Cat Facts: The wonderful art left on my train seat

From my experience riding the trains, it seems that Metro-North has quite the diverse assortment of employees. The people they employ can claim heritage from many different countries and backgrounds. There are some old railroaders that can tell stories of working out of Selkirk many years ago, and there are many fresher faces. Folks that have served their country in Afghanistan. A former member of the Secret Service (whom I secretly think is badass). Today, however, I must mention a rather unique individual (and my surrogate big brother) that many years ago had wanted a finance-related job with the railroad, but after much time was offered a position as an assistant conductor. In reality, he totally missed his calling as an artist. Some mornings I would find notes he left on my seat, as I always sit in the same seat on my morning train. I would sit down and burst out laughing when I saw the note, I’m pretty sure that everyone else on that train thinks I’m nuts.


The first note. Not really necessary, since nobody ever wants this seat.


He told me he read on the internet that the Bronx River Parkway was built so Babe Ruth could get to baseball games. I told him I didn’t believe him.


I’m not really sure what animal that is supposed to be…


Best part is the mouse in the corner that says, “Sucker, get a dog.”


I don’t think we’ll be seeing any seeing-eye cats anytime soon.

Unfortunately there will be no more Cat Facts for an indeterminate amount of time, as the artist has changed jobs and is no longer on my train.

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