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The New York Subway has myriad ways to confuse riders. One easy trip-up is the the cluster of similar lines that run on the same tracks in central locations then branch out farther in the boroughs, like the A/C/E at Port Authority Bus Terminal and the 1/2/3 at Times Square.
Friday evening The Rapid Traveler decamped from the office on a well-trod route, the 2/3 up to Times Square changing to the N/Q at Times Square, up to Astoria Blvd to meet Mrs. Rapid Traveler at Neptune Diner for his burger and her grilled octopus, and then the M60 bus over to LaGuardia (LGA) for their flight down to Ft. Lauderdale.
Nose buried in magazine, The Rapid Traveler changed trains at Times Square and hopped on the R. Oops. And he didn’t notice until well into Queens at Steinway St. His mistake in lack of care was that he saw the N sign on the platform and always thinks of the N and Q paired together since they run the same route into Queens, one local, one express, but at Times Square the N and R share the same track, both local, while the Q is on an express track.
Doors closing at Steinway St, the option was to either get off at 46 St and cross Queens by foot or go back to Manhattan and pick up the the N/Q. Taxi not an option for the stubborn Rapid Traveler.
46 St and by foot it was, Delta alleviating pressure with a typical 1 hour delay (grew to the standard LGA 2 hours), The Rapid Traveler set off towards Astoria Blvd.
Complacency breeds mistake and The Rapid Traveler was guilty. But, he had a vigorous constitutional, saw a Greek supermarket and bakery that warrants further exploration, and was in time for his flight. Just no burger, though Mrs. Rapid Traveler had a strawberry ice cream soda while she waited.