Week of November 17 – 23, 2011
Riders this week: 8,412
Rider miles this week: 63,711
DOWN IN THE TUBE
A man who looked almost exactly like Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, was seen riding the Hampton Subway between Sag Harbor and Noyack last Friday. Also seen down in the tube was Christie Brinkley, just returned from her off-off-off Broadway Show (in London) Chicago, where she played the role of Roxie Hart. This was between Westhampton Beach and Quiogue on Tuesday morning.
A three-inch-square white tile that had been glued to the ceiling of the subway tunnel at the western entrance of the Southampton Station fell last Wednesday at 4:35 p.m., just missing an eastbound train as it arrived from Hampton Bays on its way to Water Mill. It hit the platform four feet from the train—no one was near it—but the sound of it startled three of the five riders on the train who were getting off at the Southampton Station. All three complained to the token clerk, who then referred them to subway headquarters in Hampton Bays, where they later filed a complaint.
“What if it had hit one of us?” said a woman named Marsha Bloom of Mecox to Operations Manager Jay Green, when she got there. “It was bad enough that it frightened us as it did.”
Commissioner Bill Aspinall, after hearing about what happened, announced the following action. He said the pieces of the tile would be examined to see if the glue that had held it to the ceiling was old and dried out or if some other trauma had caused it to fall. He also sent a letter of apology to all the people who had complained.
“The Subway takes this very seriously,” he said. “No one should have to be startled while riding the Hampton Subway.”
It was determined the next day that this was an original ceiling tile placed up there when the subway system was built in 1932. It had remained intact all these years. “But I was concerned that the glue of this tile and the others like it up there has never been checked before this,” the Commissioner said. He ordered all the ceiling tile removed within 10 feet of the errant one, and all of it re-glued, a process which will take about three weeks. He also ordered that nylon nets be placed under the ceilings of the subway tunnels throughout the system until such time as tests can be made to see if further action is needed. At the same time, he ordered an increase in the fare for the subway from $2 a ride to $2.50 a ride, “to cover the cost of the ceiling tile scandal solution,” he said.
SPUR TO THE BEACH
The subway spurs to the beach from the main line are closed for the winter, but a local developer thinks that the elevated tubes that run for a mile along these spurs—in East and Southampton—could have a use for the winter as long shopping malls.
“They are heated and they are beautiful,” Henry Hayes said from his building headquarters in Sagaponack, referring to the fact that the spurs have only been in operation for a year. “Particularly at the very end of them, where you look out over the beach to the ocean, they are quite beautiful.”
Hays already has Walmart looking at the Southampton spur with the intention of building a store that would be 10-feet wide and one-mile long along its western repairman apron.
“None of this is going to be done without permits,” said Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, “even if we are not sure we have jurisdiction down there.”
OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED FOR BEAUTY CONTEST
New marketing director Alphonso de Pip has announced the judges in the first Miss Subway 2012 beauty contest, scheduled for the Southampton platform on January 1. “Jack Nicholson said if his time permits, he will be out here to be one of the judges,” said Mr. de Pip. “I have the same response from Clint Eastwood.”
De Pip also announced that Diana Aspinall, the daughter of Commissioner Bill Aspinall, will be one of the entrants in the contest. If she does that, true to form, she will probably be one of the favorites, what with all the nepotism that goes on in the Subway administration. Those entering must be over the age of 18, residents of the Hamptons, and must fill out the form at the main office of Hampton Subway in Hampton Bays before December 1 in order to apply.
POPULAR FLAGMAN FIRED
Longtime subway employee Wally McFarland was fired last week when it was found he was selling a huge horde of red, green and orange flags used in the subway tunnels on eBay. McFarland worked as a flagman for eight years, waving his flags at oncoming trains to get the motormen to either stop, proceed slow, or proceed at normal speed as they approached the Water Mill station.
“He’d been telling us about once a month that he’d lost a flag out there in the tunnel,” said Chief Flagman Foreman Bill Spud after the arrest. “Apparently he was just accumulating them. It was a pretty valuable collection he was selling. It was 244 flags. He had an asking price of $850 for the lot of them.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FLORENCE ANIMISON
Florence Animison, who provides the voice of the Hampton Subway as she announces “watch out for the closing doors,” or “Arriving Amagansett,” as appropriate, turns 31 next Thursday and we are having a surprise party for her in the cafeteria at headquarters on Thursday next. Everyone wants to hear her sing “Happy Birthday to Me.”
COMMISSIONER ASPINALL’S MESSAGE
As we do every year at Thanksgiving, Hampton Subway will be giving away free turkeys to the poor at the token booths on all the platforms. The program will begin November 18 and last for a week. If you want one and you’re poor, all you have to do is come down to the platform of the station nearest you, tell the token clerk that and she will give you a turkey.