Ask Westchester, August 2012: Wrapping Trains, Rye's Empty Storefronts, and More

Wrapping trains, parking in Rye, and heading to (a very different) Albany



Q: Does Metro-North have any plans to theme the trains with advertisements, similar to how some of the subways are decorated in the City (the 42nd Street Shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square pops into mind)?
—Caroline Justice, Mamaroneck
A: Oh, we can just picture it now, our own Westchester Magazine-themed Metro-North car. Clearly, it would be the bar car, but not just any bar car—it would be a magical bar car where the conductor served infused cocktails, microbrews, cheeses with names we can’t spell, and pictures of all the writers done by that guy who made the Obama painting. But, alas, it’s not coming anytime soon. According to our friend Marjorie Anders at Metro-North, its “advertising strategy does not include interior or exterior ‘wraps.’ They are a huge undertaking and there is not the demand for it from advertisers. Aesthetics is another concern. Metro-North is adding static ads at stations and has recently changed the four billboards in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal into digital dioramas, which has increased revenues.” Okay, fine—but can’t you at least name a train car after us?

Q: I’ve noticed a few empty storefronts in Rye. Why? What does this tell us about our supposed recovering economy?
—Don DeWynne, Rye
A: It tells us we shouldn’t judge the entire nation’s economic health based on a few dozen stores in a quaint Westchester nook. But we’re Americans. We love sound bites, marketing over substance, and extrapolations, so let’s do it. Actually, things aren’t as bad as they might appear. According to Sally P. Wright, president of the Rye Chamber of Commerce (we know, we know, possibly biased, but it’s not like there’s a Rye Chamber of Economic Disparity for a more Orwellian counterpoint), “Rye stores don’t remain empty for long. Some spaces have remained empty for a longer period because of parking issues associated with the space and the type of business wanting to move in.” Parking issues? In Westchester? Bah!
“This town was built in horse-and-buggy days and was not designed for automobiles,” says Wright, who is apparently not so biased after all. “Parking will always be a challenge. Every decade or so, a parking structure is discussed, but that is a very expensive proposition. The meters have actually helped to move cars out of the lots and open up spaces for shoppers. We would encourage more residents to walk or ride bikes to town.” As would we, ’cause you’re all looking like you’ve spent a little too much time at Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream, if you know what we mean.

Q: What is on the other side of the world from Westchester?
—Amie McKay, Hartsdale
A: The bottom level of The Westchester mall parking lot. Next.
Okay, that actually ends in like the third ring of Dante’s Inferno. Actually, if you dug a tunnel all the way to the other side of the planet from, say, The Ritz in White Plains, you’d end up, er, wet. The “antipodal” point to Westchester, i.e., the one that is “diametrically opposite to it,” i.e., where you’d be if you dug a tunnel the length of the diameter of the earth through its exact center, is not China, i.e., where everyone thinks you’d end up. Indeed, for pretty much the entire country, the antipodal point is actually in the Indian Ocean. Specifically for Westchester, you’d be approximately 700 miles off the coast of Australia, near Albany, Western Australia to be specific. So don’t bother. Who wants to go to Albany, anyway?

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