Tag Archives: Subway

YouTube Red and Google Play Music

I am in the midst of changing over from Spotify (which I’ve been a big fan of over the years) to Google Music, and while only a day or two in I already have some thoughts on it.

While Google Play Music is the same price as Spotify, the benefits are seemingly much greater…the only downside I can see is the “Discover Weekly” playlist that Spotify offers which gives a great view into new songs similar to those I already like.

Google Music gives a lot of the same features, such as a large library of music, no advertisements, and the familiar ability to download songs for offline play.
On top of this Google also allows you to upload 50,000 of your own clips to the library, which in my case means a resting place for the tens of hours of “Abbott and Costello” that I have saved on a hard drive.

But the real deal is that Google Music also gives access to YouTube Red (which if revenue is Google’s goal (it is) will get split off at some point) and a variety of perks including:

  • Offline Playback: You can download movies for offline viewing, which when riding the subway or just being in places with no Internet, and watch it as you’d like. Yesterday I absorbed some music videos and sports talk TV while drowning out the NYC dregs of the subway.
  • Minimizing YouTube on a phone: So you’re watching a music video and you get a WhatsApp message…the ultimate dilemma…do I go respond to the message, or do I stay here and finish my video?
    Well, on Android Nougat you can just reply from the notification bar…but putting that aside for a second, you can now switch to another app or even shut off your screen entirely and you’re watching videos on YouTube.
  • Exclusives: YouTube has signed some of its top stars to make content just for them, as well as some of YouTube’s own content…one example that I am looking forward to?
    Today’s release of “Lindsey Stirling: Brave Enough”, a look into Lindsey’s life as she prepares for shows, battles through tough times off the stage, and of course the electricity that flows when she is performing on stage.

Why DC Metro (Sometimes) Trumps NYC MTA

Everyone knows that moment…you swipe your MetroCard and walk down the stairs to the platform, and right away you know something is wrong. There are just way too many people down there.

Finally, after 5-10 minutes the announcement is made:

Due to a train stuck at ___ Street, there are currently no downtown _ trains. Please take an uptown train to __th and transfer there to a _.

Great. So what are you going to do? You either take the train uptown, or you leave the station, losing your fair, and walk to another nearby station (paying again) to take a different train….or else you hop in an Uber and head to your destination.

But your fare is lost. Now sure it’s only $2.75, but do that a few times a month and it starts to add up.

Now let’s take a peek at the DC Metro, where there is no “flat rate”, but rather you tap in and out and it charges you based on distance traveled.
But when they have train troubles, they tell you to just head back out and you will get a refund within 72 hours.

There is no way that New York City would ever give you a dime back, nor will any of the money you pay ever appear to pay for system upgrades…but we can always hope.

EasyPay Xpress MetroCard

One of the downsides for having a MetroCard in NYC is that people need to wait in line to refill them…or they swipe and it says the dreaded “Insufficient Fare”.

But none of that should be a problem if you subscribe to “EasyPay Xpress”. The card automatically refills when it drops below a certain level, and you still get the 5% bonus that standard users get.

So now when you swipe it’ll just say “Go” and you never have to wonder if you have enough left for a ride back home.

EasyPay Xpress also gets you deals and discounts across the city. These discounts include:

  • $10 off at Madame Tussauds
  • 25% off at the Star Wars Discovery Center (although if it’s anything like some of their other exhibits, I would stay far away even if it’s free)
  • 30% off at Perfect Crime
  • And MORE

Also, if you lose the card they will cancel the old one and send you a new one with the full remaining balance on it!

The Long Term 2nd Avenue Subway Failure

It all started in 1916, and 101 years later the 2nd Avenue subway has finally begun to open.

The Q train has been extended up from 57th Street, and while its ultimate Northern goal is 125th Street (that’s a Phase Two problem), Phase One has created a subway line that runs up 2nd Avenue from 72nd to 96th Street.

Phase One ran at an outstanding cost, at $1.7B per kilometer…Phase Two is estimated to cost $2.2B per kilometer (stats via Vox). Phase Three, which will extend it all the way down the Southern tip of Manhattan (a much-needed subway line along the East Side) has yet to be budgeted, but the costs seem extreme.

The city is badly in need of a commuter overhaul, but the costs would run into the Billions (if not Trillions), and the over-crowded city and system can’t handle long-term shutdowns.

On that note, now that it’s finally open, let’s have our first incident on the 2nd Avenue Subway, which included a 92-year-old man falling down an escalator.

101 years of work and it still ain’t safe.

mta going your way