Reopening of Smith-Ninth Streets Subway Station

Certainly the highest subway station in New York City (some claim in the world), the Smith-Ninth Street station reopened today after nearly two years of closure for renovations. I happened to be free so I decided to check it out.

Some highlights are below. Or you can view the complete set.

Smith-Ninth Streets Station Outside

Waiting for the station to open

Marty Markowitz at Smith-Ninth Streets Station

Borough President Marty Markowitz arrives

Smith-Ninth Streets Reopens

An MTA employee removes caution tape to open the station

Smith-Ninth Streets Station Escalator Bank

One of two escalator trios you'll encounter on your way up

Smith-Ninth Streets Station Platform

Brand new platforms

Smith-Ninth Streets Station View of Manhattan

The station now offers much easier access to the view for which it is known

A New Starbucks Lid At Last?

New_Starbucks_Lid.jpg

I received this lid from a Starbucks last week. My first thought was that Starbucks had finally listened to my demands and had discontinued the permanently-open “sippy cup” lid in favor of this lid. I soon came to the realization, however, that this was simply a backup lid, probably purchased from a local drug store when supplies ran low.

The wait continues…

It’s That Time of Year Again

How is it already Mid-December again? In any case, I’m four days away from flying out to Vienna, and could not be looking forward to it more.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up the last piece of paper I need to be able to enjoy Vienna fully, the International Driving Permit. Apparently Austria is one of only a few countries in Europe to require this pamphlet, which simply translates credentials in a dozen or so languages. As with Time Warner Cable, there is only one AAA in all of Brooklyn, at the opposite corner from me, in Flatlands.

Last Thursday I also picked up a new Austrian passport. If I hadn’t, I would have been stuck in Austria, as the old one expired mid-vacation.

I fly out Thursday night after work, utilizing Emirates to Hamburg and then continuing on to Vienna with Air Berlin. Rather exotic, but the price was right.

Last Night of Capitalism

I enjoyed my last night of living in an ultra-capitalistic society Sunday night, when I went to my local 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter at ten at night to buy cheap stuff. Nothing like buying 250 aspirins for $1.99!
Now that I’m back in Austria, I have to go to a small-ass store that’s never open (only open Monday through Friday until 6 p.m. and noon on Saturdays), where I’ll get a tiny package after having to ask for it. It’ll cost me a good $5 for 20 aspirins.
That’s one thing I really enjoy about the United States… Life is so simple! Want clothes at two in the morning? You can buy them. Same goes for groceries, hardware, toys, cleaning supplies, electronics, and just about anything else. In Austria you have to go to the convenience store at one of the few gas (or train) stations that are open, just to buy food on Sunday. You’ll often be charged ridiculous prices and have no selection. In the U.S. you can go to the largest store in the county, also usually happens to have the lowest prices. And, you’ll even be greeted by a 75 year-old man or woman who is working there because his or her pension sucks.
And as soon as I sleep off some jetlag, I’ll write about what makes Austria so great…

Green Day, Forbidden Fruit, Spew-and-Run

Two Fridays ago, Gerry and I drove to Rochester to see Green Day. It was great. Gerry had already sprained his arm the night before punching some kid, and then at the concert he lost a shoe and had his toes crushed! But it’s all worth it for Green Day. My already-cracked watch band ripped while moshing, causing me to temporally lose my watch. But luckily I found it shortly after on the ground. With a little Brasso it’s like new again! Brasso is great for removing scratches on plastic. Now I just can’t get a new band for it because only Swatch shops sell them, and the closest ones are in like New York City and Providence.
Not much is going on around college right now. Classrooms all reek of some nasty, sticky, rotting fruit smell from some kind of tree that drops these horrible fruits, one of which perfectly drops its collection over a main path. These then stick to people’Äôs shoes and the juice ends up being deposited all over the carpets of classrooms. Hopefully it will be over soon.
I had a pretty long day of work at Target today. My shift was from eight to 4:30. I got up at six and went to the 24-hour Dunkin Donuts down the street. The highlight of my shift was a ’Äúspew-and-run incident,’Äù at about 8:15, where a guest vomited a twenty-foot path on the floor and then ditched the cart, also covered with puke, in an aisle. I had just returned from learning how to do something new when I noticed a funky smell in my department. It took two bags of our dehydration powder to solidify the mess.
Otherwise the day was pretty uneventful. People have now decided to start purchasing Christmas items, and Sundays are always the first day that items go on sale, so I had to get a ton of items from the backroom. Fortunately I was taught how to type/scan in an ’Äúexception bin,’Äù which basically allows me to walk around my department and scan all the low and empty items, and then a request is sent to the backroom and they bring me out a bin with those items.
When I got home I went to sleep for about two hours. It’Äôs great how it always seems much longer. Overall I’Äôve decided that I actually like working during the day better than at night.
Anyway, that would be it for now.

Sore Feet, Fat Wallet, and a Midterm

This past week was my first full week of working at Target. It went pretty well. The only complaint I have was that my feet hurt like crazy after every day, especially the last two. Luckily the pain went away quickly everytime. I can put up with sore feet to make money anyway.
With the exception of one night, I worked in the seasonal and hardware sections every time. The problem right now with seasonal is that its full of Halloween costumes and accessories, and they get thrown all over the place. People will rip open the bags which wigs are in to try them on and then throw them somewhere else. So as a result, not only did I have to match wigs with bags, but then there’d be the problem that the bags were ruined and I’d have to go to the back room and tape them up.
Target also considers itself an “upscale discounter” (some people even call it “Targˆ©t”), and hence all the aisles have to look great. All the boxes have to always be at the front of the shelf and generally it’s attempted to spread things out so that the shelves look fuller. So there’s a lot of neatness work involved as well (technically called “zoning”).
This past day we started a 30-percent-off sale too, on most of the Halloween stuff. This caused a surge of guests (as we call them) to stampede my section.
I really can’t complain about my job though, it’s great. After only a few days if working there I already feel very comfortable. I know where things are in the store, met a lot of great other team members (as we call them) and I really couldn’t be happier. Not to mention I’m earning a good amount of money, which is really helpful.
Tonight I have to study for my international relations midterm tomorrow. We got the questions in advance, but the problem is we got fifteen questions and only two of them are going to be on the test. Wonderful… I guess it’s a method to get us to learn more.
This looks like it’s going to be a great week. I already know of two great Halloween parties coming up this week. One’s going to be on Thursday night, which kind of sucks because I won’t be able to get there until around eleven at the earliest, but come to think about it, that’s really only an hour or so into the main portion of the party. I have no work on Saturday, which is great because there’s going to be a great party that night as well.

Working

Once again I haven’t posted anything in over a week, but I guess that’s better than not posting anything in over a month. Anyway, the big news is still that I got a job at Target, even though I mentioned it in my last entry. Now I’ve actually already worked some hours there. I went through a four-hour training session, and then worked six hours this past Sunday. I got lucky because the store was horribly dead the hours I was there. All I did was re-shelve a few items and make sure the aisles I was responsible for looked alright.
That would be just about all that’s new.

Finally Employed

Once again I sort of neglected my weblog. But once again that’s because nothing special happened until this week, when I finally became employed. That’s right, after probably fifty applications and/or letters in the last three years, someone actually hired me, namely Target. I have an orientation session next Wednesday and will hopefully begin working soon after that.
My classes are going pretty good. Luckily most of them are essay-only classes, which I like a lot better than classes where I have to worry about a test for daily. I do have one class like that though, PSC 124: International Relations. My professor has some kind of fraction that he puts into a random number generator to find out if there will be a quiz that day. Seeing that I have that class three times a week, either in lecture or recitation form, I have to worry about a quiz three out of the four class days a week, which is pretty stressful.
Two of my classes this semester are for my German major. One compares Zen Buddhism with German literature, and the other is a film class.
I guess that would be all for now.

Moore, Getting Old

I saw Michael Moore in the Carrier Dome tonight. It was great… I mean, I could get into tons of political junk right now, but I’m way too tired.
As to getting old: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is on Nick at Nite now. When I was a kid, Mister Ed was on Nick at Nite… In black and white! Enough said!