NYT: Drunk Train Isn’t Always Last Train Home

Yet another reason to live in Westchester: No summer Friday trains full of drunken (or “crunken”, as the NY Times notes in its story about the nightmare that is the Friday LIRR to the Hamptons), oafs heading to the beach towns and beach bars. (Sorry, Mamaroneck and Rye, you’re not quite beach town caliber.)

Sarah Maslin Nir deftly juxtaposes the East End of the Golden Age with the boozy mooks of the more modern era in her story.

IN the steamy depths of Pennsylvania Station, just before 5 p.m. on a summer Friday, dozens of people stand with their chins tilted skyward. Sweat drips down the backs of shirts in as many versions of blue check as there are varieties of snowflakes, women in nautically striped outfits fan themselves with fashion magazines, and palm-size dogs pant from within pastel-printed satchels. Clustered together, they stare up at the Long Island Rail Road departures board, stock still as if congealed by the heat.     

Suddenly, the panels of the board flutter. The 5:09 train to Montauk, N.Y., has arrived on Track 18. The Hamptons-bound horde surges forward as one, bottlenecking in the stairwell to the platform like shoppers at the mall on Black Friday, each shoving toward the train that will take him or her “out east,” as many Manhattanites refer to the resort towns at the tip of Long Island. 

Me and The Missus did that a few times when we lived in the city. Even when we would go in September, the Friday train would be jammed. If you were lucky enough to score a seat, you were imprisoned in that seat, the aisle cheek by jowl with riders and giant bags, at least until people unloaded at Bay Shore for the Fire Island boat.

Maslin Nir works in a mandatory Gatsy reference, and the boozy types she interviews sport names straight out of the era: Wynn Mazey, Nevin Shetty, Mollie Moran.

Mr. Mazey describes the train ride’s role in getting a buzz on before hitting the Boardy Barn.

“It definitely starts on the train,” said Mazey, 25, who works in commercial real estate and was on the 9:45 a.m. train on a Saturday in June. (The railroad does not keep Saturday ridership figures.) “It begins at Penn Station. You grab a little breakfast, and then you start boozing.”       

Around him, young men and women sipped from beer cans in paper bags. An empty Champagne bottle rolled back and forth on the floor, as if pitched on a ship’s deck. “I don’t want to get out there completely sober and everybody is already crunked up at the pool,” Mr. Mazey added.       

 

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