Additional Amtrak travel tip!


Where to sit south of New York: Later today, we'll be returning to our sprawling DAILY HOWLER campus. Full services will resume tomorrow.

For today, another tip on where to sit on the train. South of New York, always sit on the left side of the car.

Reason? The fullness of life! Crossing the Susquehanna, you can check in on the trees which have grown out of the old concrete pilings of a former bridge of some kind. The bridge is gone, but the pilings remain. We always look in on the trees which somehow took root and grew up out of that concrete.

We rank them among our favorite trees, first cousins to cummings' "little tree" (just click here). And no, they can't been seen from the right side of the train!

Needless to say, this recalls the transplendent Poundstone bit about the people on the two sides of the plane. We don't think she meant it as political commentary, but as our politics has become more and more tribal, the bit takes on more and more life. ("Pssst! People on the left! We hate the people on the right! You are the best people on this plane right now.")

"They are ruining everything." The bit gains more salience every year. Click here, move ahead to 3:15.


  1. I couldn't get your Paula Poundstone link to work. Maybe this one will. (I threw in the preceding joke about the parent with the two kids as a warm up to 3:15.)

  2. Yes, the Amtrak line from Philadelphia to NYC, and then to Albany, is full of beauty. Beautiful rivers, beautiful trees. (Especially heartening when they take root somehow beneath concrete. Also all kinds of interesting plants, patterns of growth -- train beds of preserve older land, older flora) The beauty of trains, of course, and of train tracks (my father was a gandy-dancer for a while in Montana in his youth, back in the 30's, and he taught me to appreciate the WORK that the tracks themselves are and embody.
    Also beautiful train stations! Those old Penn Stations in Philadelphia and Newark (let's not talk about NYC's).
    Later I'll track down the Paula Poundstone reference. Just had to celebrate trains and especially the line you've been enjoying.
    Work is a good word. Process and result in one.