The MTA's likely service cuts and fare hike has put Times metro columnist Clyde Haberman in a rather morose mood. This has made the highly philosophical Haberman prone to some dark pronouncements this morning.
After launching his Friday NYC column by saying that some New Yorkers call the proposal a "doomsday scenario," he goes on to describe the current New York City transit situation this way:
So now we know what doomsday looks like for New York. It looks an awful lot like an ordinary weekend.
For several years, New Yorkers who ride the subways on Saturday and Sunday have had a sneak preview of what hell (assuming it exists) has in store for them. It means traveling through eternity on trains that don’t go where they are supposed to, or that don’t go at all, or that skip stations, or that stop well short of their normal terminuses and force people to board unfamiliar shuttle buses.
Traveling through eternity! That must be a reference to the L line.
Then, after conjecturing that subway and bus fares will rise to $2.50, Haberman presents this disturbing metaphor:
An image forms of the damned fellow in Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” on a wall of the Sistine Chapel. His face is contorted as demons drag him to his fate in the nether regions. He is horrified. He also knows nothing can save him.
Hmmm, think he's referring there to the Chambers Street platform at 8:40 a.m. last Tuesday, when Jesus Christ stopped trains in both directions for a "police action."
Next Haberman turns to the MTA's board meeting on Thursday, when ordinary New Yorkers were invited to speak out about the proposed cuts. The meeting, Haberman said in typically understated tones, "might have been a torchlight-and-pitchfork moment for fed-up New Yorkers." Instead, it was only such a moment for Haberman himself.
The columnist's deep, dark pessimism extended to the prospect that Richard Ravitch, a former MTA chairman, might offer some solution to the system's problems. "Mr. Ravitch and his anticipated recommendations were repeatedly invoked by board members on Thursday," Haberman wrote, "as if he were Moses preparing to deliver the Ten Commandments to his people." Let's hope Moses didn't take the F train to the Promised Land, after midnight, when it turns into the G train.
Then, in a final blast of existential woe, Haberman writes:
Waiting for Ravitch. With so much at stake, everyone can only hope that it doesn’t turn out to be equivalent to the pointless waiting for Guffman or for Godot.
Or, worst of all, waiting for the M101 bus.