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Invite for October 2003 MAGIC GARDEN


You're gonna get spoiled at Beefsteak Charlie's tonight! All the beer, wine or sangria you can drink. Shrimp. Shrimp! Shrimp!! No, the party this month will not be hosted by suspendered, hefty, handlebar mustached steakhouse Charlie, but the old-timey guy will be there in spirit. And you're gonna get spoiled on egg creams at the party.

Things are really exciting and weird up in MAGIC GARDENVILLE. We're switching things around with very good reason. Y'see Monday, October 27 is the 99th anniversary of the NYC subway. "Why not wait to celebrate on the 100th anniversary, y'all?" asks Lynn from Tennessee. Here's why - 1) real New Yorkers are always the trend setters, whether it be socks over pants in the 80s, or the famous fold over and cuff of jeans to create a tapered and high-watered leg; 2) it's so cliché; 3) we might all be dead by next year; and 4) New Yorkers don't like to wait for anything.

So this is the deal, party people - the celebration of the underground transporter will be twofold: the first part, on the subway. Yipppeeeee! And the second part at Angel on Orchard Street, where we will be met with egg creams and music to warm the soul.

We will be meeting on the platform of the downtown N/R line at Union Square (by 17th Street entrance) at the last car, between 7:45 and 8pm. We will be taking the first train arriving at the station immediately after 8pm, heading to Brooklyn. The car will be virtually empty, but we will fill that sucker up with good times and snazzy beverages. We will take the N or R train to 4th Avenue and 9th Street in Brooklyn, where we will get out, switch to the uptown F train, and head back to Manhattan - to Angel - to shake a tail feather. If you miss the 8pm departure from Union Square, you can try meeting us along the way, downtown or in Brooklyn on the uptown F platform - we should be arriving there sometime between 8:30 and 8:45. We should arrive at Angel by 10pm, so please, if you can't make the subway run, just show up at Angel at 10pm for part deux of the fete.

Here's some instruction for you:
Bring whatever you'd like to consume - I suggest libations be concealed or transferred to a Fresh Samantha container. Use of a straw or sipee cup is also a good ploy. Period dress is encouraged - 1904-style dirty black coats, corsets, parasols, and all sorts of hats. Men, grow your mutton chops, women, wear a chastity belt -it's gonna be a spicy ride. There will be treats for all MAGIC GARDENERS who ride the subway. While the lights won't be going out on the train like the days of yore, I have hired people to grope and instill fear for a small fee. If there are any police officers receiving this email, please follow your heart and let your fellow natives enjoy the party .

And now a little subway info:
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) opened on October 27, 1904, operating the 9.1-mile long subway line, which was made up of 28 stations from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway. The original route followed the 4/5/6 line from City Hall to Grand Central, then turned west following what is now the Shuttle, and then north at Times Square (then called Longacre Square) following the 1/2/3 lines to 145 Street and Broadway. Service was extended to the Bronx in 1905, to Brooklyn in 1908 and to Queens in 1915.

The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT, formerly the Brooklyn Rapid Transit, BRT) was the rapid transit company, which controlled the Brooklyn elevated lines and the ground-level extensions to southern Brooklyn. The City formed the Independent Subway (IND) in the 1920s as an independent system not connected to the IRT or BMT lines. The IRT, BMT, and IND were competing transit agencies prior to city takeover in the 40s.

People had no idea what to expect from this crazy foreign thing called the subway, so on opening day in 1904, the NY Times published a bunch of information - here are some excerpts:

-How long does an express train stop at a station platform?
One quarter of a minute is the schedule.
-Is subway travel injurious to the eyes?
A well known oculist says that looking at the rows of white columns is very straining. Therefore, don't look at them.
-If you are at the Post Office and have an engagement in Washington Heights in half an hour, how can you keep it?
By taking a subway express to 145th Street and Broadway - a 25 minute trip.
-If you are in Times Square and must catch a train at the Grand Central Station, how long will it take you to get there?
Subway trains make it in three quarters of a minute.
-What will happen if the lights go out in a train?
The passengers will be transferred and the train sidetracked for repairs.
-If the motorman should die, what would become of the train?
It would stop automatically.
-What will happen if there is a fire in the subway?
The company declares that fire is hardly a possibility, but if there is one the power will be turned off at once and adequate standpipes are available at frequent intervals, as well as alarms that may be rung in by any employee.
-Will every passenger get a seat?
There are straps in the cars for overcrowded times.
-How is the tunnel ventilated?
The designers have calculated that the frequent exits and the many fast-moving trains guarantee plenty of fresh air without the aid of artificial ventilating machinery.
-Is there any danger of the Subway being flooded in a heavy storm?
All the tunnel walls are waterproofed, and the entrances are protected.
-Does a passenger enter and leave the station by the same stairway?
At most of the stations there are separate entrances and exits, all conspicuously labeled.
-What is the maximum speed of trains?
The expresses make 45 miles per hour under certain sections of Broadway.

Subway Don'ts from the same NY Times issue in 1904
-Don't try to stick your head out of the window of a subway train. The lower windows are fastened down.
-Don't rush for the front car to get a look at the track ahead. The front windows are curtained.
-Don't walk across the tracks between station platforms. You would have to cross four deadly third rails.
-Don't take a local train if you are in a hurry. It's quicker to take an express and transfer to the local at the express station nearest to your destination.
-Don't lower the top window unless you have to. The draughts are bad in the tunnel.
-Don't wait for an express train after midnight. They do not run between then and 6:30AM.
-Don't move from your seat if there is an accident. You cannot improve your position and you might be the cause of a panic.
-Don't deface the stations or trains. If you do, you are likely to be arrested.

And a list of Don'ts in 2003:
-Don't damage subway or bus property - that includes drawing graffiti, or scratchiti
-Don't litter or create unsanitary conditions
-Don't smoke anywhere on NYC Transit property
-Don't drink alcoholic beverages
-Don't panhandle or beg
-Don't play a radio audible to others
-Don't use amplified devices on platforms
-Don't use more than one seat
-Don't block free movement
-Don't lie down
-Don't engage in unauthorized commercial activity
-Don't enter tracks, tunnels, or non-public areas
-Don't carry open bulky items likely to cause inconvenience

And some subway and bus facts according to 2003 MTA Statistics for NYC Transit:
Average weekday passengers: 7,056,251
Subway lines: 28
Bus routes: 244
Subway cars: 6,464
Buses: 4,513
Track miles: 685
Bus route miles: 2,017
Subway stations: 490
Employees: 48,110
Turnstiles: 31,180
Token Booths: 734
Elevators (for customer use): 60
Escalators: 161

By the way, the Taking of Pelham 123 is not about the 1/2/3 line - 1:23 was the scheduled departure time for the 6 train from the Pelham Station in the Bronx.

Longest subway ride with no train transfer: A train - 31 miles from 207th Street in Manhattan to Far Rockaway, Queens.

Longest ride on the subway with a transfer: 2 train from 241st Street in the Bronx, and transfer to the Far Rockaway-bound A train - over 38 miles.

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