A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“What looks like half an apple?"/"The other half.” (10/20)
“Why is food better than men?"/"Because you don’t have to wait an hour for seconds.” (10/20)
“Trains are just boring rollercoasters” (10/20)
“What has no legs, but can do a split?"/"A banana.” (10/20)
“My landlord wanted to come talk to me about the high heating bill. I said, ‘My door’s always open’’ (10/20)
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Entry from April 29, 2005
“Take the Train to the Plane” & Airtrain
Starting about 1979, New Yorkers heard the jingle "Take the Train to the Plane" to advertise the JFK Express. It was always a train to a bus to a plane.

In December 2003, the Airtrain opened. JFK passengers could go to the subway at Howard Beach or the subway at Jamaica Station. It's great if you don't have many bags.

The cabs and limos to the airport are not going away, however.

20 May 1979, New York Times, pg. 26:
However, despite considerable publicity, last month only 1,600 to 1,700 travelers a day took "the train to the plane" - about a third of capacity, four-fifths of the targeted summer patronage and half the patronage the M.T.A. said would be needed to cover the $4 million a year expenditure on the service.

5 June 1980, New York Times, "JFK Train: Wasteful or Wonderful" by Ari L. Goldman, pg. B1:
But there was only praise aboard the JFK Express, or "The Train to the Plane," as it has been advertised.
(...)
It now costs $3.50 to take the train to the plane (Continued on Page B13) (something of a misnomer since it is actually "The Train to the Bus to the Plane"). Passengers board at eight stations - seven in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn - for a ride to the Howard Beach station at the outskirts of Kennedy. They then take city buses, slightly modified with luggage racks, to the various airline terminals.

28 October 1985, Newsday, City, pg. 11:
"We have trumpeted the JFK express as the train to the plane," Smith said. "But we have totally blown marketing it as the train from the plane, because people flying into New York have no idea how to navigate our complicated subway system."

22 May 1986, Newsday, "New York Diary: That's No Plain Train to the Plane" by Dennis Duggan, City, pg. 6:
Not everyone loves the so-called Train to the Plane.

"It's a scam, and it's outrageous," says Peter Stewart, whose blood pressure rises whenever he sees the nearly empty train gliding by a station where he is waiting for a subway train.

"It's an insult to the people who have to use the subways," says John Imperiale, a Chase Manhattan Bank vice president. "It makes you feel like you're a second-class citizen."

On a recent trip from the 42nd Street station at Sixth Avenue to the end of the line at Howard Beach (the Train to the Plane is actually the Train to the Bus to the Plane) around 150 people cheerfully boarded the train for the hour-long commute home from work.

They had a reason to be cheerful. They would be guaranteed a seat, air conditioning, companionable riders and graffiti-free cars.

By contrast, riders on normal subway trains were pushing and shoving to get onto filthy trains with no guarantee of any of those amenities.

16 September 1998, Associated Press Newswires, "Construction begins on Airtrain connection to JFK Airport," by Beth J. Harpaz:
NEW YORK (AP) - Construction began Wednesday on a Kennedy Airport monorail, but community groups complained that the groundbreaking was premature.
(...)
Port Authority spokesman Mark Hatfield said his agency, which runs the airport, is confident the project, dubbed "Airtrain," will be approved and completed by 2003.

1 January 2004, Railway Gazette International, "JFK Airtrain opens," pg. 9:
DECEMBER 17 saw the formal opening of the 13km automated peoplemover network serving JFK International Airport. The date had been selected to mark the centenary of the Wright Brothers' first flight. Airtrain provides a link between the various airline terminals, together with external connections to Howard Beach subway station and the Long Island Rail Road interchange at Jamaica, which will also connect with subway and bus routes.
(...)
The $1·9bn project has taken five years to build, and is opening around one year late due to a fatal derailment during test running in 2002, when a manually-driven train entered a curve at excessive speed. The line has been funded by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey through a $3 tax on airport users. The main E&M contractor is Bombardier, which has supplied the rolling stock and automatic train control equipment.

(Trademark)
Word Mark AIRTRAIN
Goods and Services IC 039. US 100 105. G & S: Transportation services, namely, commercial transportation of persons and/or property by means of rail or bus. FIRST USE: 20010901. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20010901
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 071108 180901
Serial Number 76148064
Filing Date October 17, 2000
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition September 24, 2002
Registration Number 2786910
Registration Date November 25, 2003
Owner (REGISTRANT) The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey BI-STATE AGENCY NEW YORK One World Trade Center New York NEW YORK 10048
Attorney of Record Janet Dore
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


Posted by Barry Popik
Transportation • (1) Comments • Friday, April 29, 2005 • Permalink


You neglected to mention that there was another guaranteed “amenity” on every one of the JFK Train(s) to the Plane - a handpicked police officer. I was one of them. Met my wife #2 on the train, as a matter of fact.

The cops weren’t there to protect the people as the MTA would have one think, we were there to make sure that nobody robbed the conductor/purser of the cash he collected on the only subway trains where cash for fare was collected onboard.

Posted by Mike Ross  on  08/03  at  06:08 PM

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