Stepping into Penn Station after a 2-month hiatus was like stepping into the stupid future. After making my way around the ‘New Jersey Commuter’ wing of the station, a pointless array of marble levels and elevators actively preventing me from reaching my train (no stairs to the platforms = one way movement very, very slowly), I found all the (relatively) small metal ticket machines bearing the NJ Transit logo at the top had been replaced by hulking blue monstrosities with an even more irksome ticket-purchasing interface.
The old machines, looking like ticket machines…
…and the new ones, looking like plastic kids’ toys. Also fun: finding out ticket fares had been hiked twice since last I traveled. Sure, I enjoy riding the double-decker trains as much as anyone and appreciate their clever use of existing space, but two hikes in that short a space seemed gratuitous.
You said it, vandalized casino ad.
Driving up to North Jersey it was sad to see how many older businesses closed, including long-running garden center Fountains of Wayne (yes, the one the band named themselves after). Fortunately some businesses were booming:
Ah, Entenmann’s Outlet. Filling our childhood with lopsided Devil’s Cake and oblong donuts.
Corrado’s, a local grocery chain, had also expanded wildly. No longer just a food emporium, they’d grown to include several stores, a bakery and in-house fish market, and across the street, a business college. Their selection of produce was vast and the aisles were crowded with carts and families.
Chefs menacing you with plates of stuff was a popular design theme.
As was having the mascot stare you down.