Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Great Gatsby Transportation System

In the 1920's taking the train, the subway, and the elevated all the meant same thing.  But, why?  My curiousity led me to the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn.  I studied the 1920's subway map and it distinguished between whether the trains go above the streets (elevated) with dotted lines or the underground (subway) with solid lines.  Unlike the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), these trains are never on the street level.  Throughout the years, the map became less complex and only solid lines were used - cause really, all we need to know is how to get from Point A to Point B.   So, New Yorkers no longer say they are taking the "elevated" anymore.  "Train" is used more frequently than the "subway."

"Tom deferred that much to the sensibilities of those East Eggers who might be on the
train."  Tom, Myrtle and Nick were obviously on the LIRR - only that train will go that far out into East Egg (Manhasset).

New York Subway Map 2013 & 1922

The LIRR vs.The NYC Subway
The LIRR and the Subway are two totally different transit systems.  
The subway is simpler.  You pay about $2.50 per ride in advance and you can travel around all the 5 boroughs as many times as you wish at anytime of the day, as long as you don't exit out the turnstile.  The trains are labeled with alphabets or numbers and they are either traveling above or below the street level.  Here's the subway schedule

The fancy LIRR, however, is a lot more complicated.  Ticket prices vary depending on the day and time plus the length of the ride.  So for example, the ride from Great Neck to Penn Station is $11 peak hours or $8 off-peak hours if you buy your ticket before you board the train.  Otherwise it would be $17 or $14 to buy the ticket on the train.  Just like a traditional railroad, the conductor walks around punching holes on your ticket.  By the way, the prices mentioned above is ONE WAY so make sure you get off the correct station or the right train otherwise you'll have to buy another ticket for the next train.  The LIRR seats are made with comfy cushions.  There are overhead racks for bulky bags or coats and it's usually cleaner and smoother than the subways.  They also have a punctual time schedule - give or take 5 minutes.  The trains are labeled with the last stop on the train. 

Nick Carraway's Daily Work Itinerary
He has a long commute.  It probably takes him 1.5 hours one way (waiting time included).  A lot of Long Islanders still do that today.
  • He drives from Gatsby Ln to Great Neck station and parks his car there. (11 min)
  • Takes the LIRR from Great Neck to Penn Station (West Egg Station to Pennsylvania Station)  (35 min)
  • Transfers to the 2 or 3 subway to Wall Street. (20 min)
  • After work, he probably takes the 4 or 5 Subway to Grand Central and walks to the Yale Club for dinner and to do research afterwards.
  • Then he walks down Madison Avenue toward Penn Station on 33 St or sometimes roam around the city killing time before his next train leaves.
  • Takes the LIRR back to Great Neck
  • Drives home

Google Map of George Wilson's Walking Path To Gatsby's House
He walked from Flushing to Manhasset then to Great Neck (His house to Tom's house then to Gatsby's house).  That's VERY FAR!  It's about 9 hours according to Google Maps!  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Great Gatsby New York City Tour Map

Google Maps of The Great Gatsby Story & The Great Gatsby NYC Tour

I wish I could take my present self back to High School because I'd actually appreciate The Great Gatsby rather than dread it on top of my huge pile of homework assignments.  Now that I am older, I have a better connection with the characters who are within the same age group as I am.

I was so ecstatic about the upcoming movie directed by Baz Lurmann, that I kept hitting the repeat button to the trailers.  Heck, I even chopped off one foot of my hair to match Jordan Baker's hairstyle. I decided to re-read the book the third time around; but this time, really dig deep into it. My project will also include touring the places in New York that inspired the author and the film makers.  I'll be blogging and vlogging my experience while blasting the soundtrack along the way. 

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Manhattan & Brooklyn 1 - Areas near Penn Station, Grand Central, Central Park, Times Square, 5th Avenue, Wall Street, 158th Apartment, Subway museum
Day 2: Queens - Flushing Meadows, Queensborough Bridge, Astoria
Day 3: Long Island - LI Mansions, LIRR, boat tours

Just A Thought:
- Where is 'old Metropole'?

- There's a Myrtle Avenue & Wilson Avenue in Brooklyn and they intersect.  They should  rename one of the streets in Flushing Meadows.

- Gatsby started his luxurious lifestyle in NY when he took his first step into a poolroom and met Wolfsheim.  Sadly, his life also ended in his own swimming pool. 

Reference Links:

Eyeing the Unreal Estate of Gatsby Esq.  NY Times article that inspired me to tour Fitzgerald's mythical NY.

The Great Gatsby House - Lands End watch the video that will break your heart as the cranes demolish history.  :(

Adieu, Sweet Life of ’20s Luxury NY Times article - the demolition of Lands End

Edith Cummings is the real Jordan Baker who was friends with Ginevra King (Daisy) - Fitzgerald's first love.

Daryllang Blog - A blog about her Gatsby bike tour around Great Neck (East Egg)

F. Scott Fitzgerald Society

Summaries of the book:
OVTG Book Summary
The Great Jay Gatsby
The Great Gatsby SandM Blog - The Valley of Ashes?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Creative Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Ring With Children's Names Engraved

A heart shaped birthstone surrounded by her children's birthstones and names. $89 Check Walmart for other styles.  My mom couldn't hold back those tears as she slipped the bling on her finger.  The engraving was perfect.  It looks more expensive than the actual price tag.

Personalized Photo / Message Carved Candle

Get her one these candles she will proudly display on the mantle. Candle Lady Kim is the best! I've ordered from her several times and love them all. She will customize the candle to your liking. Check out her site for color and design ideas. I had one made with a photo on the front and a message on the back surrounded with pearl borders. I also ordered my mom's birthstone on Ebay and had them shipped directly to Kim.  She sporadically incorporated them all over the candle.  

Custom Made Bracelet

Homemade jewelries are easy and budget friendly.  The kids will get a kick out of making them.  Everything can be found at Michaels.

Melamine Photo / Art Plates
Send MakIt your photo or artwork and they can turn it into plates, platters, mugs, or bowls.  The picture quality came out pretty good and they are made of durable melamine.

Rose Brooch

Stand out from the crowd with these pretty flower brooches from Claire's.  She can pin it to her shirt or the cuff of the sleeve like a corsage.  Place it on top of a gift box and instantly enhance your presentation.

Customized Mother's Day Card With A Poem

Ever since I ordered my first custom made card from Zazzle, I could never go back to the typical drugstore cards again.  The high quality photos are printed on thick glossy card stock and you can design the front, inside, and the back.  Their prices are reasonable and sometimes cheaper than the store.

iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaner

One year my mom saw my Roomba in action and she was hooked.  So, my siblings and I decided to chip in and buy her one.  She immediately felt a difference in the air quality after the Roomba collected all the dust underneath the furniture.  You can buy it at stores that offer excellent return policies like Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's.  Check out my video review below.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald Penguin Classics Collection on Umbra Floating Bookshelf

I hardly buy books anymore since ebooks take up less space and are more cost effective.  However, I couldn't resist the temptations of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 70th Anniversary hardcover edition published by Penguin Classics. 

The covers are printed on matte paper with shiny patterns. They are GORGEOUS and will look stunning on any bookshelf.  I found 2 of them on and the rest on Yes, I was willing to pay for the foreign transaction fees and extra international shipping.

Check out a map I created based upon The Great Gatsby.

The books are stacked on top of the Umbra floating bookshelf. The flowers, felt stickers and fleur de lis key are from Michaels.