I rode the Long Island Rail Road into the city for many years until 2008. These days, I find it easier to get into town than it is to get out of Penn Station.
If you walk along the main thoroughfare, with the shops on your right, you come to a small staircase to the uptown subway. If instead you want to get out of the station, you can make a left turn that takes you to the escalator to Amtrak, and then a bigger escalator to the street.
If you need to exit on the front side of the station, keeping the shops on your left, you turn left to a large escalator that leaves you outside diagonally across from Macy's. There used to be a bus stop there, but it's now a block and a half away. When you get there you have to insert your MetroCard -- which, hopefully, has some money on it -- into a machine that gives you a little slip of paper.
By the time you get this far from the escalator, you have probably missed at least two buses and will be late for something somewhere.
Connie Leo, Massapequa
Traffic court wait: three hours
Since when did Suffolk County traffic court become a kangaroo court? The court didn't always operate this way; it used to be run like a normal court. Now you must pay a fine immediately.
I sat waiting for nearly three hours to be called, struggling not to fall asleep. I had gotten three tickets: one for expired inspection, one for expired registration, and one for a cracked driver-side mirror, which was the reason I got pulled over. I took care of all of these things before the court date, and I naively thought the charges would be dropped. That's what happened during my first experience in traffic court in 2006. This time, the clerk said he would knock it down to three parking tickets, and it came to $396.
I replied, "Can I have some time to pay it? What are my options?"
The response was, you have to a) pay it by midnight tonight or have your license suspended; b) pay it in a month, but that will be $60 extra; or c) come back in two weeks. I reluctantly picked the last option, and the clerk said to me, "Why would you want to come back to this place?"
This is a lot of money for most people, and it's a hardship without the option to pay over time.
Tim Inselmann, Center Moriches