Have A Seat

by Wells

Snow makes the buses run terribly around here. I take the 128 into New York from West New York, NJ.  It runs along Blvd East and you can see the Manhattan skyline the whole way in.  It’s like commuting through the training sequence in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.  Yesterday my wife and I were boarding when the guy getting on in front of us changed his mind upon seeing that there were no seats available.  It turns out he was being real prudent because we ended up standing for almost an hour in that hot bus; my wife nearly fainted.

Anyway, as he was getting back off the bus this lady, seated all the way up front in the first seat, wearing a lady hat and a fur coat I shit you not, said “This far along the route and he expects there to be a seat!”

Oh, ho ho ho!

It was the most arrogant thing I’ve heard in a while.  The thing you have to understand about this route is that it starts in Fairview, continues south through North Bergen, Gutterberg, West New York, and finally Weehawken on the Union City border. Look up the census figures for those areas surrounding the route and you’ll see a pattern in median income.  From north to south:

  • Census tract 63 – $64,583
  • Census tract 141 – $66,040
  • Census tract 142 – $43,638
  • Census tract 153 – $37,359
  • Census tract 156 – $33,250

Again, that’s Fairview, North Bergen, Guttenberg, West New York, and Union City near Blvd East.  This uptown broad may not have realized it but her oh-so-funny observation from her nice comfy seat right up front was a comment on how class is stratified in Hudson County.  Imagine!  A pauper from West New York expecting to find an available seat on a bus that originates in Fairview!

When I moved into this place a buddy of mine, a Guttenberg cop, asked what street we were on.  67th.  He shook his head and pointed north, indicating that we should have moved in on a street with a higher number.  And of course that’s good advice.  Everyone knows that north is good in this part of Jersey.  North is money, lawns, good schools, better parks.  But it’s no good just to tell us where we’d have it better.  You might as well recommend I have a seat on a bus that’s standing room only.  If I could afford it, I’d sit every morning.