Summer, It Turns Me Upside Down

There are two things I hate about post-Memorial Day.

The first is the beachgoers that travel to Fire Island, the Hamptons and Montauk every Friday afternoon and Monday morning. They all travel on my LIRR line. Why are most of them annoying?

  • They pack three full-sized suitcases for a two-day weekend. I was able to go on a six-day Alaskan cruise with one carry-on.
  • There’s an abundance of grating Long Island accents. You’ll, like, hear, like, the word “like,” like, interjected every three seconds.
  • They’re glued to their cell phones, usually involved in some drama than invokes the grating Long Island accent. Peace and quiet doesn’t exist on Friday afternoon trains anymore. Pre-Memorial and post-Labor Days, you can hear a pin drop on the 5:09.
  • They are often accompanied by yapping pocketbook dogs.
  • They have no respect for daily commuters. They think their pooches and Vera Bradley duffel bags deserve a seat, when neither carry a ticket. They also block the aisle. The daily commuters loathe them. We talk about them before the summer starts and how much we hate summer Fridays.

Well, they’re back with a vengance. But thanks to one of my Fire Island-hopping co-workers (who probably falls into the rare non-annoying beachgoer class – they do exist) tipped me off about an afternoon train that leaves from Long Island City and will allow me to beat the crowds at Penn and Jamaica stations.

Never having been to either Long Island City or Hunterspoint Avenue trains, I decided to check them out after work today. It was a short ride on the 6 and 7 trains. When I arrived at the Vernon-Jackson Avenue stop in Long Island City, I got somewhat lost looking for the LIRR station, but finally found it. What a boring, deserted station. It’s only made up of two platforms. But, then again, what should I expect from a station with something like six trains per day?

Turns out I arrived an hour earlier than I was supposed to and met a Port Jefferson-bound train instead, so the conductor told me to hop on and switch to the Cannonball at Hunterspoint Avenue. I certainly didn’t want the Cannonball, so when I disembarked at the creepy-looking station, I decided to explore the neighborhood. The neighborhood was not much better than the station.

I suddenly had the urge to use the bathroom, but there wasn’t a restaurant or accessible bathroom in sight. The next train wasn’t coming for an hour, so I had to backtrack to Grand Central Terminal on the 7. After bugging Yuri for train times, I made it back in time to catch the direct train to Patchogue from Long Island City. Score – no train changing, and only three stops to Islip. And I get on way before the beachgoers, who trickle on at Hunterspoint and pack on Jamaica. I think I found my new Friday afternoon train for days I decide not to stay late.

Turned out the beachgoers weren’t too bad on this train, but I had a few flamboyant males sitting around me talking about the Sex And The City movie for a few minutes. “Oh my God,” one said. “I was working, and I heard someone walking by. And I said, ‘Oh my God, that sounds like Carrie Bradshaw.’ I turned around, and it was Sarah Jessica Parker.” If I have to hear any more about that movie, I’m going to stick my finger down my throat. I watched one episode and thought it was a stupid show. I don’t get why half the world is so obsessed with it. I finally fell asleep, leading to an otherwise uneventful ride.

The second thing I hate is all the summer noise around Islip. It’s gotten worse these past few summers, as neighborhood destinations for teenagers have closed and they have nowhere to go besides walking up and down the street. I live on a main stretch in Islip, so we get lots of teens who walk back and forth, screaming and carrying on. It usually goes on until about 3 in the morning.

I also used to have a neighbor who’d ride his motorcycle down the street, and that was extremely noisy. All of us breathed a sigh of relief when he and his family moved – but only to be replaced by another neighbor who enjoys doing construction on his house at midnight. It’s almost like a scene out of Pacific Heights.

And, finally, you’ve got the subwoofers. I wish Islip had a noise ordinance. It’s not like I live in Inwood.

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