Today I had a completely free day, an Unlimited Ride MetroCard in my wallet and a quest to get more of Long Island done. The original plan was to take the train to Syosset, take a too early
train to Huntington (to get some photo time there) and finally ride out to Port Jefferson. Unfortunately I yet again underestimated how long it would take to get out to Jamaica and got off the E train at 9:08 at Union Turnpike, the departure time of the train I was hoping to catch. Instead I switched to the F train and decided I would head out to the island via bus.
I got off at 179th Street to the confusion of where the bus stops actually are that isn’t a friendly way to arrive. I began by just missing the Q33 but the Q1 was there. Unfortunately the Q1 has two branches and I was too embarrassed to ask the driver if this bus would take me directly to the Queens Village Train station or was the other branch. We luckily past the Q33 I missed and I just managed to transfer to it. I got off at Queens Village–(31 Photos) at 9:40. There I had a good 15 minute photo stop getting photos of the station recently renovated (since my last visit nearly 3 years ago) that has had elevators up to both platforms installed.
I used Google Transit and was back at the bus stop in time for the 10:00 N24 trip to continue out to the island. I got off in Mineola–(11 Photos) and had a quick less than 10 minute photo stop getting pictures of the station house and shelter interiors that I am missing and were too crowded the last time I was there.
I went back to the bus terminal (when I saw the bus going over the overpass and arriving) and got on the N22 at 10:35 that was too long a ride looping through Roosevelt Field Mall. I got off at Carlie Place at 10:53and did a second photo essay there (my first photo essay’s photos I can’t really access). I then had a nice mile-ish walk to Westbury for another photo essay and headed back out to catch the 11:55 N22 to its terminus at Hicksville.
I got some more photos of Hicksville (I realize now at home I have plenty) and took the N81 to Bethpage. At this point I’m glancing at the Suffolk Transit Map on my phone and decide I might as well buy a $3.00 ticket to Deer Park and can then take a bus to Brentwood and use a transfer to another bus out to Central Islip. The schedule works well too.
The only issue is I have a little less time then I’d like to get my photos at Bethpage arriving at 11:55 and just barely getting inside the station house that is across from the actual modern high-level platforms before running over, buying a ticket and just making the 1:05 train. Not the quality time I like to have at a station. I get on the train and there is no sign of the conductor so I ride one stop to Farmington. I get my photo essay at Farmington (for once a historic intact LIRR Depot!) and decide I might as well walk to Pinelawn. I take a little longer than I should of at Framington and am again doing a quick photo essay before I board the 2:14 train, a M3! The conductor sees me board at the tiny 2 car platform (rear two cars only) with another man and comes for my ticket. There no seat checks up. The other man walks to the next car. I tell the conductor there were two of us getting on as he starts walking back to the cab and not the rear car. He asks for a description but I can’t remember. The other passenger has clearly blended in with the crowd.
It is a quick ride on another M3 to Deer Park where I arrive at 2:25 and I nearly get board having a whole half hour there. The station was built with electrification in the 1980s and has the simplest station house with a still open newsstand. There are solar panels over the station parking lot. I also can’t find a properly marked stop for the S27 the bus arrives (it makes a loop through an industrial park before returning to the station). There is one modern bus shelter but it lacks signs for the bus stopping there. I approach the bus at a red light before the loop and get let on complaining. Getting the usual you should know where the bus stops response. I pay my $2.25 with a transfer fare. It’s luckily a generic fare box transfer (not a paper one) that can be used twice supposedly. I will put the transfer limit to the test on another trip (I just can’t get on and off the same route!) One person says something about being confused with the schedule since Suffolk Transit is supposedly honoring Veterans Day with a Saturday Schedule. I find no proof on their website of this and believe its untrue.
It’s a quick ride to Brentwood to an identical station house (with an open newsstand) and I’m done with my photo essay by 3:27 as I see a crowd board route 3D with a final destination of Stony Brook.
I glance at the strip map and realize this bus also goes to Brentwood (my plan was the S45). I get on, dip my transfer, and for a minute consider riding all the way up to Stony Brook to get a ride on the Port Jefferson branch back. I Get off at Central Islip anyway (to a station with the same style of station house except along the south platform that is normally used by all trains on this two track railroad with passing sidings). It’s about 3:40 and I can’t believe how dark it has already gotten. I get my photo essay and decide to splurge on a $9.75 ticket back to Jamaica (I am spending a minimum of $5.25 to get to Hicksville to switch for the bus and the price difference was less than I expected)
Train leaves Central Islip at 4:18, about on time. A Ronkonkoma-bound train is running late so we switch onto the opposite track (trains normally arrive on the south track at Central Islip) and meet it at Brentwood instead where trains normally stop at the proper right hand platform. The conductor comes and collects by Jamaica-bound ticket.
We make all local stops to Hicksville (the only one I didn’t visit is Wyandanch!)
- 4:50 – Stop at Hicksvills on the middle track.
- 4:56 – Stop Mineola after skipping Carle Place and Westbury across from a C3 with locomotives on both ends. It’s just a Jamaica to Port Jefferson train.
- Then two more trains pass before we even skip Merlon Avenue.
- 5:01-Floral Park and another train
- 5:02-Bellrose (no place for us to platform) then Queens Village, my first stop of the day
- 5:04-Hollis then come Hillside Support Facility (as the voice says, the LED signs say Hillside|Employees. I wonder if they couldn’t build a public entrance and combine it with Hollis.
We approach in Jamaica at 5:08 to an announcement that this train will be a local train making all 3 stops into Penn Station. We enter quite slowly nearly stopping switching tracks. We finally arrive in Jamaica–(20 Photos) at 5:12. I slowly use the transferring passengers overpass just to get some photos of it (that I’m missing) and get a collection of rather decent night photos at Jamaica.
I slowly head down to the Sutphin Blvd–(4 Photos)
I get on the E train at 5:22 and have an uneventful ride reading into 42 Street. There I do the dash over the mezzanine and find a platform that is overcrowded, something is clearly wrong! An announcement keeps getting played “Following an Earlier incident Uptown C trains have resumed running with delays, select A trains are running local from Canal Street to 59 Street.” Soon a completely jam packed A train arrives on the express track. The trick to the Uptown A train during the PM Rush Hour is because the line is so long that if the first train is overcrowded just wait for the next one there is often a train directly behind it. It’s easy for it to be off schedule. The second E train stops before an A train arrives on the local track it isn’t too bad. At 59 Street I manage to snag a seat and resume reading. We sit for a minute and to my dismay its annouced that were making all local stops up Central Park West to 168 Street but are still a 207 Street-bound A train. I look up at 96th Street to another A train passing us on the express track. At least I have a seat and am having a produtive time reading. l get home to 181st Street at 6:53.