January 18-19, 2003
When our group got onto the southbound platform, there was a train sitting on the local track. Upon scrutiny, it was a 3 train, which should have been on the express track. In fact, a few of the members of our group, not realizing this was a 3, jumped on and luckily were able to jump off just as fast when we told them what it was. We could have taken it, but we did not know if it was running local or express beyond this station, and besides, we would have to change trains again at Chambers Street. Once it departed, it did switch to the express track just beyond the station.
Our 1 train was not far behind on the local track. Knowing that to detrain at South Ferry's loop station and short platform one has to be within the first five cars of the train, we made our way to the front car and boarded. We sat near the front, and in fact were able to see the operator's view out a small window in the front of the car. We made good time on this line, as station work and delays were kept to a minimum.
The announced highlight of this part of the Fest was our running through Ground Zero, and what used to be (and will again someday be) the Cortlandt Street station. Although there are covers over the station platforms, we indeed could make out some daylight above the northbound platform. The World Trade Center's shopping concourse was once above here.
We arrived at South Ferry at about 1:15 PM, in plenty of time to catch the 1:30 ferry to Staten Island. We went upstairs to the street, and then into the Staten Island Ferry's Whitehall Terminal to ascend yet another flight to the ferry's waiting room.
Part 5: Whitehall Terminal to St. George Terminal
In order to access Staten Island, this portion of our Fest had to be a non-rail mode of transportation. The Staten Island Ferry makes its 25-minute crossing of New York Harbor every half hour, and more often during weekday rush hours. Its fare has been totally free since 1997.
The ten of us boarded the ferry, which seemed to be running a few minutes late. We found seats together (indoors of course) and used this time off the rails to take potty breaks, stay warm, and enjoy the scenery. The ferry passes close to the Statue of Liberty. Since it was a clear day, we also could see Jersey City, Governors Island, and Ellis Island.
During this trip, the AppleFest Quiz was administered. Three people chose to take it in person: Lou, Ed, and Ellis. Others decided to take it home with them and try it on their own.
Parts 6 & 7: MTA Staten Island Railway
Part 6: St. George Terminal to Tottenville
Upon arrival at Staten Island's St. George Terminal, we headed for the MTA Staten Island Railway station, where a train was waiting for departure on Track 3. The train did hold a few minutes for the slightly late arrival of the ferry.
We had a pleasant 42-minute ride through New York City's most rural borough. When we arrived at Tottenville, we took note that there is not much to do there. One can gaze out at Perth Amboy, NJ across the river. An intesting sign right along the rocks by the water just said the word "End". As if we did not know this was the end of the line!
Lou took a brisk walk up the street and back, while the rest of us remained near the closed station building. Our total layover was about 21 minutes.
Part 7: Tottenville to St. George Terminal
Roughly 10 minutes before our scheduled 3:07 PM departure, we headed back to the platform, and were soon able to re-board our train for its return trip. We saw the Tottenville Inn, and another way we could have left the platform via an overpass near the Inn, but it was too late for further exploration.
Right on time we began our journey back to St. George. Because the only fare collection on this line is done at St. George Terminal in both directions, travel between any other stations is free. I predicted that a lot of people would get off at Thompkinsville, the last station stop before St. George, to beat the fare by taking a several-block walk to St. George. They did not let me down. With our FunPasses, we would not benefit from taking that cold walk.
Part 8: St. George Terminal to Whitehall Terminal
Now in St. George Terminal's waiting room, we had about 12 minutes until our scheduled 4 PM departure. This trip operated right on time. It was the same vessel that had taken us in the other direction.
Mike Hammond, who was already nursing a cold, decided to be one of the few people to ride outside, saying he would not get this opportunity much in his lifetime.
The rest of us remained inside the boat and stayed warm. I went over the correct responses to the AppleFest Quiz. Our winner, with 11 out of 12 possible answers correct, was Ellis Simon. He won a 2003 MTA calendar on which each page featured a scene with both an elevated subway and the World Trade Center towers in the background -- a definite collector's item. In second place with 10 of 12 responses correct was Ed Findlay. His prize was a pen with the bullet logo of the 7 train on the end.
At 4:25 PM we got to Whitehall Terminal once more. Mike Hammond, who had been outside for most of the journey, was no place to be found. He was obviously the first person off the boat by virtue of his location on the ferry's bow. We found him at the top of the ramp that leads down to the street.
Part 9: Whitehall Street to Herald Square
Our last official conveyance of AppleFest 2003's Saturday activities was a ride on the Broadway subway from Lower Manhattan to Midtown Manhattan. We began at the Whitehall Street station, just across the street from the ferry terminal. This trip was to be taken on either the R or W train. An R train happened to be first, so we all took it. We remained on this local train up to the 34th Street/Herald Square station.
Our group of ten began to break up as we approached 34th Street/Herald Square on the R train. Mike Hammond wanted to visit some friends up in the Nyack, NY area. To do so, he would take a Coach USA/Red & Tan Lines bus out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. He stayed aboard the subway train one more stop to 42nd Street, then walk a block to the terminal. Alan went with Mike to make sure he found the terminal and his bus, and then Alan went home.
That left eight of us to walk one block west on 32nd Street to Penn Station. Once in the station, some of us went to have dinner together in the small food court near the AMTRAK section of the station. We could choose from Nathan's, Pizza Hut Express, or Roy Rogers.
Ellis then caught his Long Island Railroad train home, and Jishnu went for his NJ TRANSIT Midtown Direct train. Ed, who had a ticket for AMTRAK Train 178 to Boston, was able to catch an earlier train, 194, which was running late but still got him back to Boston sooner. Owen and Isak then went across the street to their hotel, while Lou, Michael, and I walked back east on 32nd Street to Herald Square, where we got our PATH train to Pavonia-Newport, and our hotel.
And so ended the first, and busier, day of AppleFest 2003. But we were not done yet!!Continued in next section