Billie Cohen Hits the Bar Car

NY Times reporter Billie Cohen, who’s commuting from a different corner of the New York metropolitan area every day this month, tipped a few with the regulars on the New Haven Line bar car.

“There was beer everywhere, a crowd at the bar, a bunch of people playing poker and a din of friendly talk and loud laughter. What was this place? It was definitely not the normal commute home,” she writes about Wednesday’s 5:23 to Bridgeport. “It had the feel of, well, a party.”

Cohen mentions people falling in love in the bar car, and some of the regulars assigning Cheers characters to each other. (I’m Norm. No, I’m Norm!)

She also rightfully points out the New Haven Line’s mechanical shortcomings. “The equipment on this line is the oldest in the Metro-North fleet,” she says, “and is subject to many hiccups.

But Cohen saves the best part for last–a little perspective from a seasoned conductor who’s none other than Bobby McDonough, author of the esteemed Derailed blog and the subject of our seminal Q&A on rude riders and transvestites.

“I’m not really a fan of the bar car,” said McDonough. “Everyone thinks they’re funny when they’ve had two drinks in them. They’re not.”

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