Following a massive series of transportation blunders on the part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there was no service between Queens and Manhattan for the better part of an already horrendous recent Monday. Straphangers trying to get the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of Midtown and back to the comfort of their oxygen-richer Queens home (there is one tree that can be seen from their apartment window; sad, but it’s one more tree than Manhattan has) were caught in a quagmire of zero backup trains.
The E train was running on the C line; the F on the Q line, but stopping short before it crossed the mighty East River. Then the M and R went down, leaving only the 7 intact, which is like offering up an egg that expired in 2017 as the least rotten but only option.
Fear not, New Yorkers! There are other options! This is the immutable list of commute alternatives that the MTA doesn’t want you to know about.
1. Flying, duh. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that you can afford a private plane or helicopter ride. We know you live in Queens. We’re talking about the next best thing — hang-gliding! Get your own hang glider at your nearby extreme sports and apparel store. (There is only one in the city and it’s in Union Square. Getting to the checkout is an extreme sport all on its own.) Or make your own apparatus out of a deconstructed old dresser you find on the curb and some undershirts you “borrow” from Mrs. Ramirez’s clothing line across the alleyway. Find a really tall building that is roughly facing Queens — preferably something east of Third Avenue to increase your odds of making it across the river — and jump from the roof. Hang on tight! Oh, and watch out for buildings on the other side. Long Island City is a much bigger hazard than Astoria with all those high-rises. The pigeons will tell you, mirrored glass is not your friend!
2. Two if by sea. Don’t bother trying to catch the NYC Ferry home; three million other New Yorkers already thought of that. Slap on your best Hawaiian print suit, grab an inner tube or three, and let the East River be your ride home. Be sure to plan your commute according to the tidal schedules and launch in the right spot so you don’t end up in the Atlantic Ocean or the Bronx. Not sure which detour would be worse, except you wouldn’t have to rely on the MTA to get you home from the middle of the ocean. Hitching a ride back with Flipper might be your better bet. But what about the toxic, flesh-eating bacteria in the river, you ask? Fair question. You could opt for one of those inflatable, battery-powered rafts so you don’t have to touch the raw sewage that is the East River. Just get ready for me to say, “I told you so” when a gargantuan turd-eating ratfish chews a hole in it and you’re right back in the very water you could have already been out of had you listened in the first place and just timed the damn tide in your inner tube.
3. Urban wall climbing. For those who have wall climbing on their bucket list but sit home watching TLC reality show reruns with a bucket of fried chicken instead, this is your lucky break! Invest in some good suction cups — trust me, it’s not worth skimping this time — and tie them securely around your knees and wrists. Choose your poison — the Queensboro (also known as the crotchety mayor bridge) or Triborough — and suction your way up the legs of the giant metal bridge and across the bottom until you reach Queens. This is probably your most direct option for getting home, unless of course you didn’t listen and got the cheap suction cups so now you’re well, swimming. Practice on scaffolding and pay no mind to the onlookers. Scale like no one’s watching.
4. Dig a hole, who needs China? Nothing like a little biceps and triceps action after a strenuous day of sitting in a cubicle. Trade in barre class for an old favorite pastime: shoveling! That’s right, you’re going to dig a hole home. Never mind the Queens Midtown Tunnel; that place is a hotbed of perilous tailpipe exhaust-induced CO2 emissions. You can build your own tunnel under the East River, one just big enough for you and your new friends who come bearing knapsacks and, wait, is that a baby on her back and a foreign passport? And that other family with the pregnant blond lady and her husband with the man bun. They belong in Williamsburg, but the rent is too damn high so now they’re trying to escape the Upper West Side to further gentrify the previously perfectly good Sunnyside. Bring some extra shovels and let your new friends help you dig. There is no better bonding exercise than sweating alongside fellow Homo sapiens with a shared mission. Even if some of them are going to drive the rent up.
5. Or you could take the bus. I always forget about this option.
Lastly, for those trying to get home from Queens to Manhattan, well ... oh wait, never mind. People who live in Manhattan don’t go to Queens. Well, there was that one lady back in 1987. She was last seen on the Q46 bus heading east, sputtering, “Where are they going to drop me off? On a farm?”
Allison Hope Kahn is a writer who favors humor over sadness, travel over TV and coffee over sleep, and a Bellerose native who lived in Long Island City and Astoria for 16 years before recently moving to Connecticut.