Friday, April 24, 2009


In the mornings, I always run late no matter how early I get out of bed. I walk through the mall to the Pavonia/Newport PATH station. Sometimes I get to the platform just as my train, the 33rd Street one, pulls in. Other times I read a magazine or book for a few minutes, waiting for my train and watching the Hoboken-World Trade Center train go by.

PATH trains are mostly reliable, a byproduct of our system being tiny at a lucky 13 stops (and miles) compared to New York City's 468-station metro. But our system is older and a bit creakier (and cheaper). When I first returned to JC in 2002 after a decade away, they appeared to be using the same trains as when I'd first moved there in 1988.

Monday morning, I was engrossed in a book when a gleam caught my eye. Shiny, quiet, sounds like Singapore's metro! What was it?

New trains. "They don't smell like pee," trumpeted a friend of a friend. These trains "whoosh" rather than clatter. They shine and they have mid-American recorded voices clearly reminding passengers to avoid the closing doors.

And they are only on the line I don't take. TRAIN ENVY!

This morning, the conductor on my old train reminded me in a barely audible voice over a crackly speaker that I should:

"Work hard, because at least you have a job. Lots of people don't. You could get fired and someone else might actually do your job better. Remember that and HAVE A NICE DAY."

When we get the new trains, I'll miss my morning reminders.

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