I had the pleasure of visiting the Metro-North station at 125th and Park around midnight Saturday, heading home after an annual gathering of the old rugby club at the famed Bohemian Beer Hall in Astoria. (The beer choice at the Hall reminded me of McSorley’s: you could have a light-colored beer or a dark one.)
I’d had a reader ask about safety issues up there on 125th, and readers offered unanimous agreement that the station is safe during the daylight hours. I didn’t get the sense that it was unsafe at midnight (of course, there are safer parts of the city at night than under the train tracks at 125th and Park), but it was sort of depressing. Both the men’s and womens’ rooms had handwritten signs on them explaining they were closed, which is not what you want to see after a night at the Bohemian Beer Hall. Maybe I’m just a cynic, but a lot of the customers at midnight on Saturday are half in the bag, or all the way in the bag, or maybe just a quarter in the bag. I think this encourages them to find a spot outside to go; if I lived in the vicinity, I’d be, well, pissed off.
There was no police presence, other than a parked and empty police car on the side of the station. When I’d arrived earlier, at around 6:30 p.m., a small police office in the building was open, with a few cops inside.
There was, however, either a large mouse or an undersized rat flitting about the waiting room, grabbing spent McDonald’s french fries off the floor and returning to his home under the baseboard. Each appearance caused a voluble squeal from a pair of women seated on a bench. After his first few appearances, they spent the remainder of their wait with their feet up on the bench.