Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can't get there from here

I've been Facebook-posting my frustrations with the Acela, which should be a three hour (or less) "high speed" trip between two major cities, Boston and New York. I put that in quotes because if the train went anywhere close to 100 miles per hour, sluggish by European and Asian standards, it would be welcome indeed. Instead in crawls along through New Rochelle (what is New Rochelle's raison d'etre?) and stops so other Acelas can pass on single tracks while workers toil away at some obscure thing or another. Today I had to take the USAirways shuttle, because I had a live land line interview on WICN public radio from Worcester at 8 a.m., and a taping for City Talk on CUNY-TV at 12 p.m. A 10 a.m. pushback, wait on the taxiway at Logan to take off, and then circling over White Plains because as the pilot said, "It's just a busy time." Of course there was the inevitable backup on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (a Robert Moses creation); I did get to midtown, hard by the Empire State Building, by a little after noon. But I was still left wishing for surface transport that takes less than three hours. One additional annoyance: everyone else in the world is recycling, but the airlines throw newspapers in the trash? I offered to take a bunch to a recycling bin at LaGuardia -- only to discover they have none. Happily, here at Union Square Starbucks before heading to the Jane Jacobs Medal reception sponsored by the Rockfeller Foundation and Municipal Art Society, at the new Thomas Mann building at Cooper Union (they are giving copies of "Wrestling with Moses" out in the gift bag!), and before that a guest lecture for a Pratt Institute course on infrastructure. Returning tomorrow on ... the Acela.