The Sound of Silence? NYC Subways

Dear Kid,

IF you happened to be hanging around New York City in 1904, and IF you happened to wish to go from Here to There, and IF “here” was City Hall and “there” was 145th Street, and IF you had an extra nickel (which was real money at the time), and IF you happened to be insistent enough to push your way to the front of the line, you might have been on the first ride of the New York City subway.

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence. Paul Simon. DearKidLoveMom.comActually, probably not. The then Mayor (George McClellan) was the “engineer” of the first run at 2:35pm (no idea how they chose that time), and one can only imagine that the first ride was full of dignitaries, wannabees, journalists, other hangers-on, and 70% of The City’s homeless.

The general public (that’s who you would have been) had to wait until 7pm to turn their nickel into underground transportation. That same ride costs $2.75 today.

A slice of New York City pizza (yum) tends to cost about as much as a ride on the subway. Seriously.

FACT: The world’s oldest underground train network was opened in London in 1863.

ANOTHER FACT: The first subway in the US was built in Boston.

YET ANOTHER FACT: NYC’s subway is bigger than either London’s or Boston’s because New York.

Until 1948, subway cost a nickel. That year the fare was raised to a dime (not two nickels because those wouldn’t fit in the new turnstiles).

Five years later, the fare was raised to 15 cents. But engineers couldn’t figure out how to create a turnstile that could accept two different coins. Enter the subway token.

For 50 years, tokens were the only way to pay to ride the subway and as fares rose, tokens changed—albeit less frequently than I would have expected. There were only 5 tokens over the years (not including the commemorative ones because I don’t want to include them).

Rather than pay for a token, thieves would sometimes jam the turnstiles and suck the tokens out of the slots. Kind of like slurping soup, but much more disgusting. To combat this, the MTA often sprayed the slots with chili powder. Ick.

ONE MORE FACT: Rather than pay for a token, thieves would sometimes jam the turnstiles and suck the tokens out of the slots. Kind of like slurping soup, but much more disgusting. To combat this, the MTA often sprayed the slots with chili powder.

These days, one uses a MetroCard to ride the subway. Which is much more efficient and much less fun.

AND STILL ONE MORE FACT: In 2008, 44 old NYC subway cars were dumped into the ocean off of the coast Maryland to serve as an artificial reef. To date, there have been no reports of fishy graffiti.

Happy New York City subway birthday day.

Love, Mom

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5 Reasons to Love a Small Dog

Dear Kid,

Don’t read this letter to the Puppy!

At the Paws in the Park event this past weekend, there were—spoiler alert—a lot of dogs. There were dogs of pretty much every variety, every color (except purple), and many temperaments.

In terms of size, they ranged from “horse” to “does anyone have a magnifying glass?” There were two of the tiniest Chihuahuas I’ve ever seen, and they were spot-on adorable.

When I got home, I told Dad I thought I wanted to adopt a Chihuahua. Dad thought that was an excellent idea as long as I didn’t want to be married anymore.

So it looks like I’m not going get to a teacup-sized puppy.

5 Reasons to Love a Small Dog. DearKidLoveMom.comBut here are 5 Reasons to Love a Small Dog.

  1. They eat less. The smaller the dog, the smaller the food bill. Economical!
  2. They poop less. Less in, less out. We call this digestive mathematics.
  3. They have no idea they’re small. Little dudes tend to have big-big-big personalities and little to no fear.
  4. They can’t reach the counter. No need to worry about what’s sitting out on the kitchen island because teeny legs can’t get them up that high.
  5. You can carry them around easily. No matter how strong you are, it’s not easy to carry a Newfoundland around all day.

So basically, little dogs are kind of like smaller than average people. Bright, entertaining, and in need of step stools.

Love, Mom

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Ten Reasons to Be Glad It’s Today

Dear Kid,

Ten Reasons to Be Glad It's TodayTen reasons to be glad it’s today:

  1. It’s a great day to learn something new (every day is a great day to learn something new).
  2. If yesterday was a not-so-good day, it’s today!
  3. If yesterday was a great day, today is an opportunity to be even better.
  4. You’re on the right side of the dirt. And the rest of your life ahead of you.
  5. You still have time to apologize for something you want to apologize for or forgive someone you want to forgive.
  6. It’s National Kale Day and no one is going to force you to eat kale. As it says in our constitution, we are entitled to the life, liberty, and the pursuit of a kale-free existence.
  7. You have fresh water and enough to eat (even without the kale).
  8. You have a roof over your head and a safe place to sleep.
  9. You have wonderful friends and a family who loves you.
  10. Happiness is a choice. Why not choose to be happy?

Have a wonderful, kale-free day.

Love, Mom

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Three Ways to Make Mondays Better

Dear Kid,

Yesterday was Labor Day. Which makes not a lot of sense because so many laborers have the day off. On the plus side, most of those who were working got time and half while still making it home in time for the fireworks.

In a way, today is Labor Day because so many of us are going back to work and classes. So it’s a Tuesday acting like a Monday. Which is confusing.

It probably means I’ll be incredibly confused all week.

Which makes this week like most others (ha ha).

I’m not sure why getting up on Monday’s is more difficult than getting up other days.

I think it’s because we get the opportunity to change our patterns over the weekend. We get to sleep late (which I guess you do on days you don’t have early classes but which for me is a weekend-only luxury) and not set an alarm clock. Which makes the Monday morning BZZZZ that much more jarring.

How to make Mondays (and Tuesdays) better:

  1. An octopus can change the color of its entire body in just three-tenths of a second. This is way faster than you can change outfits. DearKidLoveMom.comDecide what to wear the night before. Yeah, it makes me feel a little junior high, but it helps. For some reason, staring at the closet in the morning is a soul-sucking activity. For reasons I can’t explain, nothing changes no matter how hard I stare and yet I continue to believe that the “right” outfit will magically appear if only I hunt hard enough.
  2. Organize your things. There is never enough time in the morning to find everything you need for the day. It is—on the other hand—incredibly easy just to grab a prepacked bag and zoom out the door.
  3. Eat breakfast. Give your body and mind the fuel they need to get you through the morning.

Come to think of it, this is a good list for making every day a better day.

Hope your Monday Tuesday is a great day.

Love, Mom

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Did You Know This About Honey and Salt?

Dear Kid,

You know those pesky little expiration dates on food?

Not all food has an expiration date of course. Some food (bananas) don’t have an expiration date because they have a built in notification system. Some food (Twinkies) shouldn’t need an expiration date because no one has lived long enough to see a Twinkie actually go bad.

And some foods (according to a recent article in the Huffington-less Huffington Post) don’t have expiration dates because they never, ever (emphasis on ever) go bad.

According to the article (read it here) the magic 11 are:

  1. Honey
  2. Rice
  3. White Vinegar
  4. Real Vanilla Extract
  5. Salt
  6. Corn Starch
  7. Sugar
  8. Hard Liquor
  9. Dried Beans
  10. Instant Coffee
  11. Maple Syrup

. I mean, how much hard liquor do you need? (Don’t answer that.) DearKidLoveMom.comOf course, what this wonderful list of foods mostly leaves out is, um, food. Granted rice and beans is a Most Excellent source of nutrition, but it’s pretty much the only one.

Rice and sugar may not “go bad,” but you can get bugs. Put a bay leaf in each container to keep the bugs away (seriously).

More importantly, why would you stock up on some of these things? I guess it’s good to know that you won’t have to throw this stuff out, but hopefully you don’t have too much to begin with. I mean, how much hard liquor do you need? (Don’t answer that.)

Love, Mom

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Moving in to a College Dorm By the Numbers

Dear Kid,

The numbers from taking your sister to college yesterday.

Have a good semester! DearKidLoveMom.comSteps to finish packing and load the car: 2,000

Steps walking around in Columbus, Indiana while Dad did Dad things: 2,000

Restaurants we checked out before deciding where to have lunch: 3

Steps unloading the car and unpacking the child: 2,000

Carts needed to take everything up to the room: 3

Steps around Target picking up the last few things we forgot: 48,752

Pairs of shoes she took: 43

Socks in her sock bin: Scientists are inventing new numbers to count that many

Out-of-state tuition: More than the socks

Hugs when we left: Lots and lots

Tears after we left: 0 (really)

Hours spent in the car: 5

Hours I slept in the car: 0

Hours I should have slept: 27

Puppies happy to see us when we got home: 1

Number of kids I miss: 2

Love, Mom

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