In the summer of 1947, Tex Williams hit it big with a little ditty called “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette).” In his silky- smooth talking blues style, he complained for three minutes about how the need to light up was delaying a poker win as well as his “pettin’ party” with some “dame”.
You dog, Tex, with your cigarettes, gambling and “pettin’ party”.
The song spent six weeks at #1 on the billboard charts in ’47. Oh, the good old days.
The news of Metro-North’s 4% fare hike – that will likely push my monthly north of $400 – made me long for the good old days when Tex ruled the airwaves.
The New York Central’s West Shore passenger service (scroll all the way to the bottom) was still around and the monthly from nearby Newburgh to New York was all of $19.10. That’s a little more than $200 in 2014 money. $200!
Now there were only a handful of rush hour trains, the trip took close to 2 hours because of the required transfer to a Manhattan-bound ferry, but hey, $19.10 is $19.10. And the train stopped in your town. Yay!
But, the end was near. Trains to Newburgh ended in 1958. Years following, politicians and civic leaders yelled and screamed about how passenger service should be restored on the West Shore. It never happened. Eastern Orange County commuter service ended up in, of all places, Salisbury Mills and Campbell Hall, along a former Erie Railroad freight bypass. Makes sense seeing why would we run the trains where people live?
I think I need a cigarette.