On a night at Shea where the only redeeming features gained from the night's affair were the Endy Chavez Bobblehead, and the tons of free Korean junk piled on us in celebration of Korean Night at Shea (El Guapo was particularly fond of the Shrimp Fries, I came away with a ton of Post-it Notes and Flags courtesy of Nong Shim America), an interesting predicament came about as we departed the stadium and set off for home.
Express or Local?
After my post yesterday, lauding the MTA for finally adding Express service back into Manhattan following games, we were both excited by the prospect of a quick trip home, for me, back to Ballclub HQ, Manhattan, for The Guap, Ballclub HQ, Brooklyn. We expected some crowds, since, of course, the thrill of Bobbleheads and salty snack food would bring out anyone, and 51,305 were indeed at the Stadium. So, after the game, we headed out, through the crowds, over the ramp, and proceeded to the entrance to the Express Platform.
(For those unfamiliar with the configuration of the Shea Stadium Subway station, I direct you here, to David Pirmann's fine site, NYCSubway.org)
We were greeted by an endless mass of people, standing, waiting, clamoring to get up to the turnstyles. Not a soul was moving.
El Guapo looks at me, and poses a most interesting theory.
"You know, this could work out in a backwards fashion," he says, "The Express will be crowded and unbearable, but the Local is probably going to be empty. It's a question of speed vs. comfort."
Being that it was a Friday night, and being that we both preferred to sit on an empty train, that may have been a bit slower, rather than be jammed into a faster train, we opted instead for the Local. After all that wait, and all the Hullabaloo over the Express, we were still on the Local.
And it turned out to be the best call of the night.
Arriving on the Local platform, we saw a mostly empty Express train pulling out of the station. Mostly empty, most likely because the mosh pit forming outside the fare control was where the crowds were. Another Express rolled in, and sat in the station, doors ajar, as the masses slowly tricked up the stairs and onto the platform.
Meanwhile, a Local pulled in. With very few people standing around waiting to get on it, we happily boarded a relatively empty car, sat, and pulled away, speeding towards Manhattan, without ever seeing that forlorn Express zooming past us.
I do wonder what happened to the masses at the turnstyles. How could it get so jammed up like that? Did they ever get out? Did they get through before the Express stopped running? Will these kinks get worked out? How many people will come up into the Station, see the mass and ask themselves the same question we did?
Is it really worth all that trouble?