Enjoying the sun on the platform…

Yesterday was a pretty great day. On the platform in White Plains at around 5:45, the sun was shining. And all the riders that had formerly been hidden in waiting rooms and other dark places, came out to enjoy the sunlight. I was seriously amazed at how many people were out and about. Of course I had to take pictures.

I also passed out a bunch of cards. At times this was really hard for me. I’m not exactly sure what people think I am like based on what I say in this blog, but I can be incredibly shy at times. When you ride on the train you have a routine. I take the same train, and generally sit in the same seat. And you cross paths with other folks that also have routines. When I see these people often, it isn’t too hard to just go up to them and have a chat. But just going up completely cold, to a person I’ve never seen before, and handing them a card. Well it is a little hard. I was deathly afraid someone was going to totally reject me. I will admit I got a lot of funny looks. But there were also people that really enjoyed it. I even encountered the guy who runs the site TrainJotting and gave him a card. This is only the second time that I’ve been recognized by someone because of my blog. Too funny.

As for this morning, it was a little bit chilly, but it is supposed to be another good day. I haven’t seen any St. Patrick’s drunks yet, but I expect to see that tonight. I did, however, see the guy I refer to as Johnny. He was standing in front of the White Plains station and kept asking people walking in and out whether they wanted to see a baby hawk. He kept pointing. “It’s right there, look!” He pointed to the area over the door where the pigeons enjoy roosting. I only saw pigeons, no hawks. I figured he was joking, because after that he said, “There is a leprechaun up there too! And he was this tall,” as he motions to show that the aforementioned leprechaun was about a foot in height. I got Johnny to produce this amateur sketch:

If you happen to see the leprechaun, please let me know.

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Good Eats at the Former Valhalla Train Station

Imagine that, today I get to be a food critic! My friend Despina is fasting for Lent, and was looking for a decent place to eat (her variety of “fasting” is essentially eating vegan), and suggested Valhalla Crossing, which right next to Valhalla’s Metro-North station, and historically, was the original station building. I see the place just about every day on the way to work, yet had never gotten a chance to eat there.

Of course I brought my camera for documentary purposes, and the decor was quite nice in the place, so I took quite a few pictures. Our waitress told us that most of the woodwork in the room where we sat was not original, but the floor of the bar is the original station floor. Trains regularly pass by the place, which is kind of cool to watch. The noise from said trains was not bad at all, I’ve heard and felt worse in the city when subways pass by underneath. Though thinking about it, during the lunchtime hours mostly M7’s were going by… I imagine one of the diesels passing by is sure to jolt you from your reverie.

Throughout the place were framed prints and photographs of train-related memorabilia, as well as original photos of the Valhalla station, with the original platform. There was a caboose room in which you could eat, which we took photographs of. Of course all the people eating in the room had pause their conversations to turn and look. This is why I often feel shy about taking photos in public. I quite liked the large painting of the steam train that was not far from our table, but my friend kept saying to me that the plume of steam looked like an umbilical cord. Delightful imagery for lunchtime.

The food itself was pretty good. I am notoriuosly picky about my food, of which most people who know me can wholeheartedly attest to. I ordered the “Third rail” mostly because I was amused with the name. It contained chicken with buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, lettuce and tomato on a wedge. If I had to find a fault in it at all, I would have to say, “you call that buffalo sauce?” Weak and hardly spicy. The bleu cheese should complement the buffalo sauce, not overpower it. Alright, perhaps I am just bitter because my friend’s wrap looked better. If you go to Valhalla Crossing, try a wrap, they look good. And the onion rings look better than the fries. But they’re so awesome that they’ll allow you to get a little bit of both if you want. Either way, the Valhalla Crossing is pretty cute, and I’d certainly go back. They get major points from me because there were no big, black hairs in my food, which happened to me down the road at the North Castle Diner. There’s a place I’d never revisit.

Anyways, be sure to take a look at their website, ValhallaCrossing.com. My web designer nature must make me of course say that with the interesting decor of the place, they really could have carried that over and made an awesome website, but unfortunately they chose an out of the box template look, which saddens me slightly. (I can redesign that for you guys. Call me!) But really, go take a visit. Valhalla’s got some nice little places to eat, all in walking distance of the train station. Another favorite of mine being Mughal Palace, an Indian restaurant across the street from the station. Yummy.

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Pigeon Trapping in White Plains & Video of Pigeon Riding the Train

Apparently Metro-North has gotten fed up with the pigeon problem in White Plains. Maybe they were embarrassed by the fact that people were videotaping, and blogging about it. Or maybe they were getting a little pissed off that birds that have pea-sized brains were outsmarting them. Either way, last week I noticed something new at the station. Pigeon traps. With all the snow I didn’t really get a chance to post anything about the traps. But I did happen to get into a conversation in the waiting room with a woman about them. Really, the pigeons aren’t harming anything. In fact they are eating the crumbs off the floor, which is more than what some of the cleaning people manage. Their antics are amusing, and Metro-North could probably be spending money worrying about other things, rather than purchasing pigeon traps to put throughout the station. Even if they had the traps on hand, someone had to place them, and that takes time. Time that could have been spent doing other things. Like cleaning the bathrooms? Or going after the annoying people that smoke in the waiting room, or beg for dollars? I’d prefer the pigeons over those.

Now, remember whose blog you are reading. Obviously, I had to put up a sign about this. Someday I may use my talents for the good of man-kind. Today? Not so much.

Here are higher resolution images so you can see all the text:

So far I haven’t seen any pigeons dumb enough to get caught. Traps are located behind the benches in the waiting room, and on top of the ticket machines by the window. Truly the question is, what happens to the pigeons if they are in fact caught? Taking them outside the station and letting them go would do little, they’d probably come right back in. Do they get sent up the river to pigeon prison? Are they gassed by employees in a dark, back room? Your guess is as good as mine. In a few weeks the problem will work itself out anyways, traps or no traps. The weather will be warmer, and the pigeons wont need to be inside. They aren’t dumb. They come inside because of the cold. Hell, I know a lot of crazy people that do that too!

As an unrelated bonus, I figured I would include some amusing video I saw on YouTube, of a pigeon riding public transit. The pigeon’s name is apparently Henry Goodfeathers. Looks like the video was filmed somewhere on the subways of Toronto.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V31POD2otRk]
More polite than a lot of human subway passengers

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