BY RICH KNUTSON
A lot has happened and is happening in 2004. For those who have noticed and I know most of you have, the exit for the Cross Island Pkwy on the Expressway is not Exit 30 but Exit 31. You don't have to worry about the merging traffic from Douglaston Pkwy if you are heading for the Throgs Neck Bridge and heading southbound it's less of a hairpin turn. With more than a few changes to mention, where do I begin. If you are going to JFK Airport you have another option. The AIRTRAIN is now operating. You can take the LIRR to Jamaica station and transfer to the AIRTRAIN. The AIRTRAIN costs $5.00 to ride using the MetroCard on top of the price of the LIRR ticket. Speaking of the LIRR, new to their array of tickets is Web Ticket. You can purchase your tickets online. If you purchase a monthly, you get a discount in the fare. Be forewarned, you don't get the ticket right away, it gets sent to you in 5-7 days. I tried it, it's something to get used to. The Mail and Ride program offers the same discount. If you are doing intra-city travel during the weekends, the MTA has a new CityTicket. For $2.50 you can use the LIRR and Metro North stations that are in 4 out of the 5 boroughs (Staten Island is not serviced by the LIRR or Metro North) for travel within the city limits. You don't have to worry about what the off peak fare is. One flat rate. More info about NYC travel, if you still have tokens, you can't use them anymore. Now they are collectable items. Subways and now buses only accept the MetroCard. You are going to find yourself getting familiar with the vending machines. Still more about city... beginning in February 2004, subway travel over the Manhattan bridge goes into full effect utilizing all 4 tracks. This hasn't been done since the late 1980's when the bridge rehabilitation started. There will be more information about this when it becomes available. All of these "work in progress" projects have been trying on all of us. Being Long Islanders makes us a tough crowd. We're part Long Islander / part New Yorker. That's an ok combination in my book.
Rich Knutson is a born and bred Long Islander who understands the joys and frustration of getting around on Long Island. He is a 15+ year LIRR - LI Bus/Suffolk Transit commuter and is a member of a two-car family.