Posts Tagged ‘George Washington Bridge’

Service of Running Late Before and After Mobile Phones

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Photo: cbn.com

It seems increasingly hard to get to places on time.

A friend takes New Jersey Transit to work in Manhattan. Service has been atrocious and promises to get worse. One morning last week it took cars 90 minutes to cross the George Washington Bridge from N.J to Manhattan. Subway service can be iffy–trains zoom past stops unannounced or are delayed.

George Washington Bridge Photo: en.wikipedia.org

I got an email from another friend this week—I’ll call him Phil. He wrote: “We are interviewing computer color tech people to fill the job of someone who just left. So far, all candidates have been late, one by 45 minutes. Not one called to warn about their travel circumstances nor did they apologize.” Phil remembered that he’d previously fired someone when the man arrived late on his first day.

Long before mobile phones I was almost late my first day on a job at a startup because I’d been sent an address that didn’t exist. The street number would have landed a building in the middle of Madison Avenue. I can still feel that twinge of “Uh-Oh–something’s very wrong!” I found the right building by entering each one on either side of Madison. Lucky the employer got the street right. [The business lasted one year.]

Phil recalled the one time he was [very] late for an interview. He’d left earlier than usual for his commute to NYC and “wouldn’t you know Grand Central Terminal was closed because of a smoky fire. No cell phones. Trains backed up. The prospective employer understood of course.”

His story took a curious turn. He said: “I didn’t take the job. Something didn’t seem right. Two weeks later the entire group was fired. I would have been out of a job.” Kismet.

I hate being late and admit that having a phone takes the pressure off when transportation or other glitches happen so I can alert clients, colleagues and friends. Do most people use theirs for this purpose? Do you have memorable experiences of being late to an appointment before or after cell phones? Can you imagine sailing in late to an interview without a word about the time as the candidates for a job in Phil’s office did?

Photo: rebelcircus.com

Service of Being Stuck in Traffic

Monday, June 5th, 2017

George Washington Bridge midday traffic. Photo archive.northjersey.com

Manhattan doubles its population to 3.1 million people daily according to a 2013 census estimate. No surprise that as long as I can remember I’ve heard morning traffic reports. When my uncle commuted by car to the city from Westchester, and for years after, I thought of him when there was an accident holding up traffic on the Hutchinson River Parkway.

I feel for drivers who almost every day are faced with one hour waits to cross bridges and tunnels from NJ. According to citylab.com, “New Jersey workers…..seem to prefer cars more than most other areas.”

Long Island isn’t an easy place to commute from either and it may soon be getting worse. After 70 minutes waiting my turn in less than a mile outside the Midtown Tunnel one recent Saturday evening, I wondered aloud, “How do commuters do it?” I have to hand it to them.

Waiting so long to return to Manhattan from Long Island wasn’t bad enough: I had to fight off predator drivers who jumped the line which further slowed the process. Imagine a daily diet of such stress. This particular Saturday the bottleneck was caused by elimination of all but one lane in the tunnel giving Long Islanders access to the city due to ongoing repairs. I wondered why there were no traffic police to keep things civil and moving. And by the way: There were traffic slowdowns on various highways to and from our destination and it wasn’t weekday rush hour.

Queens Midtown Tunnel traffic. Photo: nbcnewyork.com

What happens to the citizens of Long Island who take the railroad to the beleaguered Penn Station that will be closing countless gates this summer to repair long-neglected tracks? How will they get to work? The exorbitant cost of parking aside, driving is clearly not an option unless you travel to the city at 4:00 a.m. and return home by 2:00 p.m.

What do people do to calm their nerves when faced with such daily drives that eke the energy they should apply to their jobs? When will politicians stop playing “hot potato” passing disaster on to the next administration and learn to routinely maintain their bridges, roads and tunnels? Citizens will pay the piper in time and money whenever it happens so it might as well be for quick patches rather than years-long major repairs.

Photo: atlantic.com

Service of Heroes

Monday, June 6th, 2016

George Washington Bridge

George Washington Bridge

We can hope that one of these strangers—or others just like them—are around should we need them.

East River Rescue

Early last Wednesday morning, three joggers jumped in the East River on 10th Street to save a suicidal man. David Blauzvern, a 23 year old investment banker and former lifeguard was first, wrote Chelsia Rose Marcus and Thomas Tracy in The Daily News. “Blauzvern was joined by two other joggers, 29-year-old John Green and off-duty NYPD Capt. Gary Messina, of the Midtown South Detective Squad.”

Jogger rescue. Photo: NY Daily News

Jogger rescue. Photo: NY Daily News

According to the reporters, Messina said, “This is my job, this is what I’m trained to do, but these guys did it out of the goodness of their hearts. These two gentlemen that jumped in were the actual real heroes.”

The reporters wrote: “Their actions were a welcome change from those taken by straphangers on a Brooklyn-bound N train on May 20, when no one did anything to help 33-year-old Efrain Guaman after he was stabbed in the gut for his iPhone — something Blauzvern fails to understand.”

Bridge Rescue

A few days before, “Police stop man from jumping off George Washington Bridge,” was the headline for the article Spencer Kent wrote for NJ.com. Three Port authority officers– Vincent Zappulla, Ed Berdeccia and Mark Kopcynski–stopped the 32 year old man who was in the middle of the bridge sitting on a railing on the river side. They successfully struggled with him, pulling him to the walkway.

Subway Rescue

Subway 6 trainAlso in May, NBC NY described a harrowing incident where a fearless 19 year old, Nicholas Buxton, saved the life of a man in his 30s who appeared to be ill and fell onto the subway tracks. It was at 8 pm on the No. 6 train at Canal/Lafayette.

The man was too heavy to lift–Buxton tried several times, urged on by a bystander, Luis Figueroa–so he tucked him under the track, under the platform. Figueroa, seeing the oncoming train, yelled at Buxton, “Dude, you gotta get up, the train’s about to arrive,” according to the NBC report. Figueroa pulled Buxton up just in time. NBC also wrote in its online coverage, “The man on the tracks was taken to Bellevue Hospital with a broken arm, according to the FDNY. It’s not clear why he fell.”

What makes some people disregard their own safety and volunteer, or take jobs, to rescue others in distress while others–such as those on the N train after a man was stabbed–take no steps to help? Have you witnessed or read about similar acts of bravery in everyday life?

NYPD and NYFD

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