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2004-09-25 - 7:35 p.m.


The New York Subway is a brilliant invention. It is also incredibly frustrating.

Today I wanted to go to the Queens Center Mall. It is supposed to the largest retail center in Queens, and I decided that it was finally time to investigate what this means. So I wandered down to my subway stop to get on a local train.

Two out of the three local trains were closed; the third had been converted into an express train for this weekend. This means that in order to get the Queens Center Mall, I had to take an express train basically into Manhattan, then transfer and come BACK on a local train to Queens - all to get to a place that is normally two subway stops (and therefore about FIVE MINUTES) from my point of origin.

Determined to get out and see something new, I did this. Saw a lovely East Asian neighborhood...but no mall. You would think that the largest retail center in Queens would be visible from its designated subway stop. It probably is, if you get off at the RIGHT SUBWAY STOP!! I got off one stop too soon and wandered around a strange neighborhood full of food vendors and Chinese (I think) signs.

So I continued forward, missed the correct stop, and eventually wandered home making uninspiring purchases along the way. a book here. a new skirt there. some blockbuster films. Alas.

Such is the life in the NY Subway system. I guess I should give them a break - the Queens line is about 75 years old by now and probably needs some maintenance. As the subway PR office says, "Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forewards."

But you know? I am increasingly convinced that Moscow has us beat in terms of subways. So does Stockholm, but they don't count because the entire population of Sweden is probably about the same as New York City - we are dealing with scale issues here that make Stockholm small change. Moscow, on the other hand, is one BIG CITY that relies heavily on the subway. And my experience was that it was very efficient.

Okay, enough about subways. The whole experience made me once again go house shopping in the Catskills. I am seriously considering becoming a land baroness - owning property in a place with quiet nights and quiet stars....

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