BY RICH KNUTSON
Can we honesty say that we made it through this winter? Going out with a bang as they say. Above 50 degrees for a few days, followed by 5-10 inches of snow (depending on where you were), then back to balmy days of 60 degrees plus. All the while looking at the calendar. Construction projects restarting in earnest. Public hearings (dictated by law) on assured fare hikes. Once their minds are made up, they are made up. Life goes on, on Long Island.
Having rejoined the ranks of the commuting public, yes, I am taking the train once again into Manhattan. I have missed all the "talk" of being part of the masses. Every one has an opinion about something in this City. Were the fare hike hearings a joke? Is Mayor Bloomberg a one-term mayor? Is his plan to reinstate the commuter tax going to come true? What do you mean I have to give more money for the railroad AND the subway? Buses too? Am I going to get that raise to cover my increased commuter costs or am I going to get laid off? Seeing Police and National Guard troops at Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, Port Authority Bus Terminal... seems like everywhere.
Let's not forget... Will this HOV lane construction ever end on the LIE? Due to the heightened security, HOV only vehicles on the bridges and tunnels during certain times. No more tokens. EZ-Pass and Metrocards for everyone. The 30-day Express bus passes are now pass, they are no longer being offered. And of course... the POTHOLES. Somehow... Somewhere there is a pothole crew closing two lanes of speed limit highways to fill in these nasty darlings. Ahhhh... life as a Long Islander.
If anyone is flying from our local airports, it's always good to check with your airline to see if your flight is still flying. How early do you have to get to the airport before your flight leaves? Three hours? Four? We do live on a unique land mass.
As complicated as it can get here, I still love this place. I was born here, grew up here, and raising my family here. We Long Islanders are a unique breed of people. We are as tough as our New York City compatriots but with backyards. We know what it is like to live, work and play here.
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.