Grand Central’s Stupid Ceiling

by Liz Colville

Or, “How Many MTA Dollars Does It Take to Screw in 59 Lightbulbs?” The stars on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal now “twinkle in accordance with each star’s brightness in the night sky.” The previous bulbs went out last year, leaving only some dreadful backwards chicken-scratch illustrations of zodiac signs. Now they’re back, and naturally the replacements are “energy efficient LED lights,” reducing an electricity bill that could theoretically be $0 by $8,000. Whoever did this, here are some transportation-related things you could do that would be more useful:

-Install comfy movie theater-style seats on a track that rotates around the main floor of the station so people can feel like they are on Earth (I mean they are, but) and lean back and feel like time is passing more quickly than it really is. Make sure there is someone there to escort dizzy commuters to their trains when the ride ends. Charge $20 for the ride, $30 for seniors, $40 for kids, and give that money to people who can no longer afford their subway fare (may be some of the same people who go on the ride).

-Go into the tunnels that are being installed for the LIRR system that won’t be ready until 2016 because “these things take time” and offer your assistance — do they need help digging the tunnels? Holding lanterns (you know all about lights)? Someone to give massages to the people doing the drilling? Someone to say “over” into a Walkie Talkie every now and then? After a couple of weeks in this jack-of-all-trades role, you should feel comfortable telling them how they can do their jobs better, and by better I mean faster, at all costs.

-Go down to the F and M train platform at Broadway-Lafayette, stand right under the iron-filled dripping “shower” at the front of the platform, and when the third M train in a row comes, jump on the front of it like a gorilla, hopefully terrifying the driver into transforming the train into an F, unless there is no driver in there, in which case, I don’t know, try a B or D train driver. Even though they never do anything wrong.

-Go into one of the command centers in the subway stations and just be like, “Hey, what are you doing? Do you need any interns?” Then try to find a way to make things go faster while at the same time preventing all trains from crashing. A couple of fender-benders is OK, if that’s what it takes to get that N train over the bridge in time for Skating With the Stars.

-Install bike lanes in all subway tunnels, and be prepared for a debate.

-Make something out of old Metrocards, I don’t know what. Time machines?

-Start your own stall of stupid holiday crap in Grand Central and then give all the money you make to the drivers of your favorite train lines in covert handshakes while whispering, “Remember what we talked about.”

-Flying trains. Think about it.

-Flight attendants on subway trains. Think about that, if you can’t figure out the flying train.

-Find me the very proper-sounding man who makes the announcements on the new trains (“Courtesy is contagious, and it starts with you.”) I want to see that man. I want to know that man.

Photo by Arnoldius via Wikipedia