Week of July 1-7, 2011

Week of July 1-7, 2011

 

Riders this week:15,812

Rider miles this week:111,412

 

DOWN IN THE TUBE

Steven Spielberg, with some friends, was seen on the subway between Bridgehampton and East Hampton on Thursday, apparently on his way to his home in Georgica for the big holiday weekend.

THE FOURTH OF JULY

Hampton Subway celebrates the founding of our country this year with a special ceremony at 10 a.m. on the morning of July 4 on the Southampton platform to honor the founder of Hampton Subway, Ivan Kratz. Kratz, the legendary American businessman who constructed the system, was born on July 4, 1891. Subway Commissioner Bill Aspinall will talk about Kratz, the Quogue Marching Band will play, flowers will be strewn on the tracks by young girls at the appropriate moment—he was born at 10 a.m.—and a framed photograph of Kratz, bordered by bunting, will then be bolted to the subway platform wall directly opposite the Subway food concession. The subway escalators will be silenced during the ceremony.

It was in 1924 that Kratz won the bid to build the section of the Lexington Subway line between Houston Street and 14th Street in Manhattan. Although his bid was low, his construction costs ran over, largely because he had, we know now, double ordered all the tracks, wall tiles, lighting systems and other material necessary to do the job.

In 1926, the City, smelling a rat, ordered an investigation of Kratz, who, in response, immediately ordered all the secretly stockpiled subway material trucked first to Staten Island, but then after the feds began to move in over there, out to the Hamptons and Montauk, where he buried it all underground in the familiar subway system configuration we know today. He was never indicted.

In 2007, the existence of the system was discovered when workmen in Sag Harbor dug down in a Superfund cleanup beneath where a large gas storage ball was being removed by workmen, and with shovels struck the top of the underground roof of what turned out to be the Sag Harbor platform ceiling. The entire rest of the system was soon discovered—the diggers just walked through the tunnels—and the Hampton Subway opened in 2008 to great enthusiasm.

The pluck, imagination, enthusiasm and perseverance of Ivan Kratz is typical of the free enterprise system and the American way which is what made this country great and the leader of the free world all through the 20th Century. And so we celebrate him and the gift he made to us of this subway system on the day and hour of his birth, the Fourth of July.

Come to the Southampton Subway platform on July 4 at 10 a.m.—the turnstiles, also silenced, will be free for passage from a half hour before to a half hour after—and hear Hampton Subway Commissioner Bill Aspinall say these words.

(NOTE TO JANET: WE KNOW IVAN KRATZ WAS ACTUALLY BORN ON MARCH 17, 1891. THE COMMISSIONER KNOWS THAT TOO. HE WANTS IT CHANGED TO JULY 4 IN ALL THE REFERENCES TO HIM FROM NOW ON.)

PUSHERS BEGIN THEIR WORK

Tomorrow, the 14 pushers hired by Hampton Subway to keep the crowds moving from the platforms into the cars will begin their 11-week summer internship. The pushers’ uniforms this year are specially designed matching maroon ensembles that include helmets, boxing gloves, chest protectors and shin guards. You will see their fashionable maroon rubber mouthpieces with the words HAMPTON SUBWAY in bright white letters when they smile. You can’t miss the pushers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLADYS PEACOCK

Gladys Peacock of the Accounting Office in our Hampton Bays Headquarters is 41 years old on July 1. We congratulate her and there is a special gift awaiting her at the reception desk on the ground floor.

COMMISSIONER ASPINALL’S MESSAGE

I am writing this while having lunch in Paris at the Café de Deux Maggot with Julian Assange, who has recently been let out on bail from his recent prison digs in New York. We have been touring the Paris Metro, which has given me many new ideas. Back on July 3 for the ceremony on July 4.

 

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