Training Day - Back to Beginnings - CycleBlaze

June 5, 2021

Training Day

All aboard to NYC

The first leg of my New York adventure consists of a half-mile bike ride to my local Amtrak station, where I board the Silver Star to New York City.

I stopped by train station yesterday to make sure I had all the necessary information for arrival time, baggage limits, and tips for boarding the bike. Train whistles sounded as I neared the station and I noticed that the train was stopped, blocking traffic where the tracks crossed the street. I thought this might be unusual, so I did a few errands at the post office and bakery before heading to the station. Fifteen minutes later, the train remained in place, blocking traffic as well as my access to the station. A fire truck appeared, disgorging several EMTs who quickly boarded the train. A train passenger exited, re-boarded, and exited again to the other side of the tracks where several passengers and officials were milling about. I had no idea what was happening, but the crisis soon resolved and the train was on it's way. At the station, I found out that a woman on the train was in labor and about to deliver a baby! No word on whether the baby arrived.  

Traffic backs up at railroad crossing
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The Fire and Rescue Squad arrives
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Appears to be a serious discussion, though the passenger seems a bit out of sorts
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I was hoping for less excitement on my train journey today, and woke up early for the 8:08 departure. Before finishing breakfast, I'd received 3 emails from Amtrak notifying me that the train was delayed - 30 min, then 45 min, then 60 min. Eventually I packed up the bike, bid farewell to my neighbors and headed off for the half-mile ride to the station. When the train arrived, 90 min late, I handed Vivien George off to the conductor who loaded her into the baggage car. I found my seat and settled in for the day-long train ride.

Packed up and ready to roll
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And we're off
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Tagged for New York City
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Despite Amtrak's effort to make up time (including eliminating the "smoking stops"), the train pulled into Penn Station nearly two hours late. I walked to the end of the very long line of coach and sleeper cars to the baggage car, where I retrieved Vivien George and took an elevator up to street level.  

My last long train ride in the US was in 1976, when I traveled to NYC from Saint Louis for my sister's Bicentennial Mother's Day Birthday Party. Back then, the city was in the throes of a fiscal crisis. Times Square was a hotbed of sex shops and adult movie theaters and Penn Station was no place you wanted to linger. Tonight, I emerged from elevator into the Moynihan Train Hall, a modern open space of arched steel beams and mood lighting. Outside, Madison Square Garden was lit for Pride Month and cyclists sped by, some in designated lanes. The streets still pulsed with life and song and a myriad of accents, but the rush of taxis and traffic seemed a bit less frenetic - I could cross the street against the light! Another reminder that life is not fully back to normal.

After checking into my hotel, I walked a few blocks for a slice and a coke,  Anthony Bourdain smiled down at me as I sat in a partitioned plastic booth, taking it all in. It is great to be back on the road.

Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station
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Madison Square Garden welcomes me to New York
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A slice and a coke
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Taking it all in from my plastic partitioned booth at NY Pizza Suprema. You might spot the picture of Anthony Bourdain in the center of the photo
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Missing you - rest in peace
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Susan GiovanniWhat a start to your trip!
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3 months ago