Rite Aid

“There was a pregnant girl sitting on the floor.”

I knew it was going to be an odd night when I got in line at Rite-Aid with the following two people in front of me:  A man with a small pony tail buying six umbrellas and a woman who needed change for a five dollar bill.

The woman requested three dollars in quarters (she got two) and two singles (she got three).  Why would you need three dollars in quarters at Grand Central?  Maybe she was doing was laundry later?  How much laundry can you do with two dollars in quarters?  I should have asked her.  The man’s umbrella extravaganza went off without incident.  Maybe he’s got big plans for the umbrellas.

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Now, the 6:45p Hudson Line express train to Poughkeepsie is not my normal train.  If I had to guess, it must be one of the more crowded Hudson Line trains of the night.  It is the first rush-hour express train to the northern part of the line (above Croton-Harmon) not paired with a super express train that skips all of upper Westchester and Putnam stops before hitting Beacon in Dutchess County.

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Channeling Johnny Carson:

Johnny:  I tell you, this train was so packed.

Audience:  How packed was it?

Johnny:  This train was so packed the conductor mentioned to another conductor that there was “a pregnant girl sitting on the floor.”

ed hiooo

Wait Ed.  That’s not a punch line.  That’s just terrible.

On top of being crowded, it was the last day for April monthly passes.  And, if you are not familiar with how the monthly commutation pass works, on the first day of the new month conductors will let you slide with last month’s pass so you can get into the City and buy a new monthly.

A gentleman behind me – who had already complained about the announcements being too loud – decided to inquire awkwardly about why the May monthly passes were not good for the last day in April.  The logic of course is you can use the April monthly on the first day of May why not the opposite.  The conductor – a younger woman – shut him down with the, “that’s not how it works” and “that’s a great suggestion, not the first time someone has asked, but the higher ups don’t listen to me.”

He stopped talking and paid for a ticket.

As for the pregnant girl on the floor, the conductor let us know that he found her a seat.  But, he had to ask someone to get up.

ed hiooo

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Bar Car: Back to the Grand Central Taste NY Store

20141020_175044_resizedI was not in the mood for a Rolling Rock tall boy.  While I do enjoy the easy drinking pale lager brewed formerly in the glass lined tanks of a Latrobe, PA brewery (now in the non-glass lined tanks of InBev/AB’s Newark, NJ facility near the airport on scenic Rt. 1&9; which really bothers the people in Latrobe), today I wanted something different.  So, I sauntered over to Grand Central’s new to-go beer and wine palace, The Taste NY Store.

I say palace for two reasons.

First, the variety of beer and wine is great.  The store has a cooler full of micro-brews with lots of local wine by the bottle or glass.  I grabbed a Fire Island Lighthouse Ale and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Second, someone could be funding the construction of a palace based on the store’s prices.  The beer by the bottle will run you $5-$6.  Ok, not so bad.  Cups of wine cost either $7 or $11 (not a typo).  I felt frisky and went for the $11 glass plastic solo cup of white wine.  And, because I am committed to frugality and smart spending, I used a credit card.  ‘Cash is King’ financial radio show talker Dave Ramsey probably would have punched me in the neck if we discussed this whole transaction.  But, alas, I had my $5 bottle of beer and my $11 cup of vino and off to the train I went.  Also, it can’t hurt the Taste NY stores does not collect sales tax on alcohol that according to the NYS budget language when first enacted would have “minimal” effect on the state finances.  Minimal effect if you do not count the slightly more than $1 million the state will pay to promote and market Taste NY this year.  But, who is counting.

Still, I could be wrong (and probably am).  Rents keep going up in GCT unless you are the Apple Store.  Reports say Shake Shack is paying more than $200/square foot for its spot in the lower level food court.  I’d imagine the rent for TNY’s 460 square foot location near Starbucks is not as much but it probably is not cheap unless there was some sort of deal struck to get it in there.

I give the Taste NY store credit for sticking to its business plan:  sell a lot of alcohol at comparably expensive prices to the carts and Rite Aid.  What do you think they sell more of, bottles of beer or bottles of maple syrup?  Both suds and syrup may be acquired by taps.  But, there aren’t any maple trees growing near Track 38.

The Bar Car: Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

20141008_163753_resized_1The beer selection at the Grand Central Rite-Aid is like a high school reunion; a lot of familiar faces but very few people you’d really want to hang out with for any extended period of time. But, sitting in the ballroom corner of this romp down memory lane is that girl who moved from the city to your town the middle of junior year. You never talked to her until well after college. You were too busy chasing the ones who seemed exciting because they rode clydesdales or came from the Rockies. A few years after college, you would occasionally bump into her at a bar and when you were finished chatting with Sam (because that’s what adults drink) you might get brave and actually say hello.

Ok, there was no exotic city girl.  There were never any girls. Right, Olaf?

It was Brooklyn’s East India Pale Ale.

Now, years later, IPA’s are everywhere. Everywhere. Even the cooler at the Rite Aid is home to an IPA. Is Brooklyn’s perfect? No, but that is the beauty of it. It does not have to be. It is an honest to goodness IPA dropped off in a strange flourcently lit land. A land with a plethora of slightly-beer-flavored beverages with names that may remind you of ladies you may encounter at a bachelor party, like Ultra, High Life, Blue Ribbon or Light Lime. You eye them; their price point is tempting at less than two bucks for a tall boy. But you know better. Olaf knows the answer.

But, you should say yes to the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale. It is solid, but not outstanding. It is not as hoppy as I prefer but better than the rest in the Rite-Aid fridge. I mean, if you think you can get the high life from a can of $2 beer, listen to Olaf again.

Stats:

Type: IPA

Where I got it: The Rite Aid inside Grand Central near the main entrance ramp

What I paid: Less than $3

Grade: Four happy beer guys

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