It’s about time we throw it back to our favorite way of getting around as little betches-in-training. No, not our mom’s minivan, I’m talking about the good ol’ LIRR. Non-New York betches need not read any further, because you won’t understand.
The Long Island Rail Road was, obviously, every young Long Island betch’s way of getting into the city because, although they begrudgingly put up with our every whims, our parents did not hate themselves quite enough to try to drive into the city. And by “the city” I’m obviously referring to Manhattan, because as far as we’re concerned, there really is just one city worth talking about, and it’s the one in our backyard.
Anyway, “the L-I-R-R,” “the lurr,” “the train,” or whatever you called it, was great because it took you straight from your suburban bubble into the Big Apple (lol ew). Sure, now we know that Penn Station (and midtown in general) is a total shithole, but for our 13-year-old naive selves, it was a pretty good setup. I mean, Macy’s was a block away, Victoria’s Secret—where we could buy thongs without our moms asking a million questions, like, “aren’t you way too young to be wearing that?”—was a block away from that, and there were like, 16 Dunkin’ Donuts within a 125-foot radius, plus the 6 inside Penn. Dream.
Once we entered high school…I mean, legal drinking age of course…the LIRR took on a whole new meaning. That’s because after hours the LIRR became a whole different beast. Between shivering on the platform wearing next to nothing; chugging Four Lokos in paper bags (fooling no one); overhearing some dude on the phone yelling about how he’s turning 24, which is almost a quarter of a century, and needs something to put in his nose; and running into people from your grade and pretending you don’t see them; the LIRR was where it went down. The LIRR: the old school DM.
Specifically, it was going down on the 3-whatever-o’clock train back, where the entire drunk population of Long Island rushed to get their asses on there, lest they be stuck at Penn Station until 5am. Penn Station at 3am is where betches experienced the closest thing they’d ever find to the real-life Hunger Games: girls passed out with eyeliner running down their faces (sometimes, this was us or our besties); the floor littered with water bottles and half-eaten slices of pizza; police officers on duty who couldn’t be bothered to give a single fuck. And when your train came—assuming you made it onto the platform and didn’t get trampled in the process—God fucking help you get standing room, let alone a coveted seat.
And once you got on the train, it only got worse. You’d be crammed in there like wasted sardines, praying the guido next to you didn’t vomit on your shoes, the girl next to you wasn’t dead, and the two bros in the aisle over didn’t get into a physical fight—and when they did, you just had to hope you didn’t get caught in the crossfire. If you’ve survived a 3:00am train on the LIRR, you’ve been through battle. You’re basically a Vietnam veteran. “I’ve seen things,” you’d say to people with a wistful look in your eye.
So thank you, LIRR, for getting us places mostly efficiently with only minor delays, cuts, and bruises. Even though we won’t look back fondly on spending upwards of $10 one way to get to and from our unpaid internships, we couldn’t imagine our developmental years without you. You’ll be forever in our hearts, and we’ll try not to bitch about you too much the one time a month we visit our parents out on the island.