From one of the NY Times super-geniuses:
I had to catch a train in Washington last week. The paved street in the traffic circle around Union Station was in such poor condition that I felt as though I was on a roller coaster. I traveled on the Amtrak Acela, our sorry excuse for a fast train, on which I had so many dropped calls on my cellphone that you’d have thought I was on a remote desert island, not traveling from Washington to New York City. When I got back to Union Station, the escalator in the parking garage was broken. Maybe you’ve gotten used to all this and have stopped noticing. I haven’t. Our country needs a renewal.
Gee, that’s a coincidence. I too was recently at Union Station in DC having caught the MARC train down from Baltimore where my wife and I stayed while she hits some libraries for a biography she is writing.
For those who do not know DC well, and as someone who lived there for eight years, let me fill you in on a couple things:
A) There is no traffic circle around Union Station (mostly because of all the train tracks coming into it…. duh.)
B) There is a traffic circle in front of Union Station…. well kind of. Columbus Circle isn’t a traffic circle the way Dupont Circle is. In fact, it is less a traffic circle and more a traffic ampersand. (Strange but true.)
C) That traffic circle is currently being re-constructed. That is why its so bumpy.
D) Union Station itself is in the middle of a large renovation project. Maybe this could explain why Mr. Friedman was inconvenienced so by that faulty escalator. One can only hope he was able to extricate himself from the station in an unexerted state.
E) The wife and I used our phone, which uses the dodgier Virgin Mobile network to boot, along the line as far as Princeton Junction with nary a problem. Maybe Mr. Friedman should think about switching carriers.
F) I can’t say anything about the Acela one way or the other. Normal people like us can’t afford to take it. The slower trains we were on were clean and comfortable. Of course, without a quicker train we may have been forced to do without this particular piece of Mr. Friedman’s work. Now that would have been a tragedy too terrible to contemplate.
I’m always suspicious of these personal anecdotes used to illustrate whatever point an Op-Ed writer is trying to make. I nearly always suspect they are BS. In this case I know it is BS because I was just there.
And, when we see one of the reasons why the road is bumpy and the escalators aren’t necessarily working, etc. is that we are already doing the “renewal” the opinion piece claims we are not doing… well, its enough for me to just shake my head and say “Shut up.”