Another day another mini-adventure. I thought I’d go to the Newport Centre Mall but when the first PATH train out of 33rd Street was not going there I said fuggit, and went to Hoboken. I have been there before but I can’t remember how long it’s been since I last wandered around there. I built a website once with a Hobokenian named John, who for all I know still lives there; and my friend’s wife lived for a bunch of years. Other than that I have never had a meaningful connection that I know of to Hoboken.

I was, of course, payphone hunting. This turned up some real surprises but I’ll save any of that for the payphone site.

The incredibly annoying way this trip ended was when the MetroCard I used to get to Hoboken would not work in any of the turnstiles. I picked up one of those customer assistance phones where someone told me the card must have lost its magnetic strip. I had to buy another card. He made the welcome suggestion that I get a one-trip PATH card, not a MetroCard, thus avoiding the $1 Green Penalty charged when buying a new MetroCard. I ended up paying that penalty later anyway but to get back to 33rd Street I got a single ride ticket with no penalty.

I showed the MetroCard to a clerk at the 34th Street Station in Manhattan. He confirmed, the magnetic strip as dead. He said I should take it to another station because he did not have any envelopes which I could use to mail the card to the MTA’s defective card unit. He said nothing else but I remember thinking that the card might have had about $28 left on it. So I took the card to another station, this one at 36th Avenue near home. This clerk said the card had $0 value on it. I said that’s not true. He said yes, it was. I repeated no, the card 20-something  on it. He just shook his head and said no,  then handed me a new MetroCard with no value on it. It elt like I had just been robbed.

I did not think of this until later but I had tried to use the card in almost all the 8 or 9 turnstiles at the Hoboken station. Every time the card was rejected with a message on a screen that I think said to please try again. Maybe all those attempts deducted $2.75 every time? If it was anything like that then it should have stopped deducting value like that when there was not enough left to cover the $2.75 fare. I also remembered noticing that the card was pretty old, and would have expired at the end of this month. Still, nothing from this should allow every last cent to just vanish from the card like that.

The situation was easy enough to salvage since I had a credit card or cash to purchase another card. But what if I did not? No sense thinking about it but at least this happened in Jersey and not… I don’t know… Havana, or someplace where no one speaks English.

I had just been thinking that the ability to use MetroCard made this weekend’s little jaunts just slightly more convenient. It turned out to be an expensive pain in the ass.<p.
The Lackawanna R.R. station was awesome. Very quiet on this Sunday but the station’s ferry service to/from midtown looks like a fun thing to try sometime.

te payphones I found were odd. there was a fair quantity of them but many of them were of the “payphone of the future” variety as seen in New York circa 2004. They have a full qwerty keyboard, a webcam, a trackball, etc. Most of those did not work at all but I found a couple that at least had a pulse, allowing only or “free calls” meaning, I assume, 911. I could not get to 311, 411, 711, or anything else through those devices. All the tonnage of these bulky devices seems like a lot of gear for something that can only connect to 911. Nice advertising panels, though.

I wonder if Hoboken is named for a Hobo named Ken. That’s probably it.

Going home. Might actually hit a bar tonight.