Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dry erase board message has MTA in a tizzy

From Urbanite:

A transit worker along the No. 7 line apparently made a public dig against straphangers without English skills recently, and the bizarre incident has left MTA officials livid, saying it falls contrary to efforts to increase public transit’s accessibility.

“It’s very upsetting to me,” John Hoban, general line manager of the No. 7 train, said yesterday. “It is the antithesis of what the No. 7 line is about.”

Last week, a transit employee at the Hunters Point Avenue station scrawled “English spoken here” on the token booth’s dry erase board. The sign shocked some riders in the multi-ethnic enclave.

“That’s very rude,” said Wesley Fruge, 26, a Long Island City straphanger who snapped a photo of the sign on Friday. “It’s something that shouldn’t have been there.”

As an agency rule, token booth boards can only display service updates or MetroCard information. Officials yesterday were still investigating who was responsible for the writing and are expected to question two station agents today.


The ironic thing is that you have to be able to read English in order to be offended.

41 comments:

Taxpayer said...

I've been stopped in my neighborhood by non-English speaking pedestrians from elsewhere, who are lost.

They show me a slip of paper with an address for a place very far away from my neighborhood, needing intricate directions to get there.

I really try - many of these folks are quite nice and very lost - but, since they don't speak a word of English (nor me their language), we both get frustrated.

I often wonder what became of some of these people. How did they even get back to where they started?

Forty years ago my wife and I were stuck overnight in Tokyo (because our connecting flight took off without us). Once outside the hotel, we were utterly lost among very nice and cultured people.

A Tokyo resident finally adopted us, and, using sign language, and, by writing notes in Japanese to give to the people at our destination, we were forwarded to our target and back.

Lovely people, but, what a frightening experience. So, why are non-English speakers doing, traveling in NYC via bus and subway?

kingb said...

are token booth clerks expected to be bilingual/trilingual/etc ?

Anonymous said...

This is America.. speak English

..or at least attempt to learn some.. its time to start assimilating people

Anonymous said...

This is America..
???????????????????

Kevin Walsh said...

I wish they'd be in a tizzy about poor service.

www.forgotten-ny.com

Anonymous said...

"The ironic thing is that you have to be able to read English in order to be offended."

ha! love it!

Anonymous said...

Why is such a simple statement so upsetting? It's not "anti" anything or anyone. It doesn't say, "Irish need not apply." It just tells what language the clerk speaks. If the clerk was bilingual and wrote, "English and Spainish (or Chinese) spoken here", would anyone be upset?

Anonymous said...

This is America speak everything!

America is great because we accept everyone and we look stupid when we show intolerance (thanks Bush).

Please admit the comment was made to offend. New York relies on foreign tourism also and tourists ride the train also, so in general the MTA has to discipline these bigots.

Funny how this site forgets that part of being in a faith is blindness of others faults but accept them to share a common belief. Jews look out for Jews , muslims for muslims, but catholics only if you are not asian or hispanic? Where's the love?

Adolf Bloomhitler said...

Where's the love?

I love money. Does zat count?

Anonymous said...

"Last week, a transit employee at the Hunters Point Avenue station scrawled “English spoken here” on the token booth’s dry erase board. The sign shocked some riders in the multi-ethnic enclave."

Heh. Looks like Urbanite hasn't been to the "new" Hunters Point yet...

Queens! Dontcha Luv It? said...

Its sooooo funny, Hunters Point is the only part of Queens that is becoming less ethnic - like Manhattan - like your typical landmarked district - like the areas in the city that are highest in demand.

Now here is the real howler.

All the elite of Queens (as they are) want to starve the ethnic communities to provide resources - from libraries to waterfront parks to schools - that are denied in the other more 'ethnic' part of Queens.

Remember QCA that celebrates our diveristy? Even they had ethnic people pushing for - a move to less diverse LIC!

Anonymous said...

Hey, how about the letters of the aphabet on the 7 line?

X for an obscure chinese parlour game.

not for Xerox, born in Queens.

now here is an elite with their head up their arse.

Anonymous said...

Fat head, please stick to your blog's purpose.

"A website focused on the overdevelopment and "tweeding" of the borough of Queens in the City of New York."

Thats what we come here for, thats what we want. Listen to your audience, please.

Anonymous said...

"life is a VICH ", from "serbworld" magazine.

recently,at newark airport, a traveler's tee-shirt read"you are in America, speak spanish.

Anonymous said...

If I visit a foreign country, I try to brush up on the language and bring a pocket dictionary with me. At least I ATTEMPT to try to speak the language. Our government coddles immigrants by translating everything to their language and the taxpayer foots the bill. Bilingual classes are taught in a multitude of languages -- at the expense of the taxpayer. What do the taxpayers get out of all of this? Americans wouldn't be so pissed off if these people at least ATTEMPTED to speak English, but they don't want to and don't have to. Business in the US is conducted in English and it should be the OFFICIAL language of the US. Spend the translation money on English classes for these people. In the end, everyone would be better off.

As for the Dry Erase Board -- No big deal. Most of them can't read English, so it's a non-issue.

Anonymous said...

Fat head, please stick to your blog's purpose.

"A website focused on the overdevelopment and "tweeding" of the borough of Queens in the City of New York."


Tweeding includes pandering to immigrants.

Fits right in with the blog's purpose.

Anonymous said...

Since when is it the MTA's job to encourage people to speak English?

Taxpayer said...

Anon a bigot said:
"Jews look out for Jews , muslims for muslims, but catholics only if you are not asian or hispanic? Where's the love?"

- - -

Do you believe that Muslims look out for Catholics? Or, for Jews?

Your loathing of Catholics was demonstrated by this unprovoked anti-Catholic comment.

And, your stupidity (shown by your bigotry and utter lack of punctuation, grammar and sense) is on display.

Was that your intention? To reveal your stupidity and bigotry?

Anonymous said...

Since when is it a token booth clerk's job to translate every language? Last I checked, the civil service exams were still given in English.

Anonymous said...

Then let each ethic group pony up some cash to pay for all the translations necessary along the #7 "international express" line.

That includes maps, sinage etc. posted in Erdu, Russian, Spanish, Korean, etc. You get the idea.

What about emergency announcements by train crews?

Now that's a big problem.

"ATTENTION DUE TO DANGEROUS CONDITIONS...PLEASE EXIT IMMEDIATELY"!

I can get as far as... "emergencia...peligroso"...my Spanish is a little rusty.

How do I then translate this into the many languages spoken from Times Square to Main Street?

By the time the full gamut is run people are hurt or...worse...dead!

LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH...your first duty as a citizen if you want to be properly served!

No wait (ha, ha) translators will be provided at each token booth for riders' convenience!

Enough with the pandering already and use common sense!

Anonymous said...

What's the problem?
It was a simple declarative sentence.

The sign poster merely stated that, "English is spoken here"?

He didn't force anyone to learn English.

There was a guy At main Street who once posted, "Have a nice day".

Was that against the rules too?

Miles Mullin said...

Fat head, please stick to your blog's purpose.

"A website focused on the overdevelopment and "tweeding" of the borough of Queens in the City of New York."

Tweeding includes pandering to immigrants.

Fits right in with the blog's purpose.

---

In Queens we are given the trappings of democracy only when the script is prepared.

If you talk out of turn you are not polite and get scolded.

Anonymous said...

“It is the antithesis of what the No. 7 line is about.”

Why does the 7 line have to be 'about' something??? Its a bum-filled aluminum tube that, if you are lucky that day, takes you where you need to go. nothing more.

Huh? said...

"Funny how this site forgets that part of being in a faith is blindness of others faults but accept them to share a common belief. Jews look out for Jews , muslims for muslims, but catholics only if you are not asian or hispanic?"

When did we start talking about being in a faith?

Anonymous said...

True...the #7 has become a steel sausage casing stuffed to the bursting point with the dregs of humanity attempting to pass themselves off as civilized beings!

Ride the Port Washington line through Queens and see a vast difference!

No wretched refuse there.

I'm not a high wage earner but I choose to make a great sacrifice so I can ride the LIRR just to avoid Main Street!

Anonymous said...

Geez! Everyone is so touchy and politically correct. All the sign said was English Spoken Here. No disrespect to anyone. Everyone needs to lighten up. This is America. English is spoken here. Foreigners need to learn English, but dont. The sign wasn't forcing anyone to do anything. It was a mere statement. Nothing more.

transitive_nightfall said...

It's unbelievable that people are offended by this. What if the whiteboard (is it ok to say whiteboard or should I just say 'board') said "se habla espanol?" Nobody would have a problem.

This is America, nobody's asking you to forsake your culture, but at the very least, speak English. Where are we headed as a society if there is this kind of outrage over something so benign?

Anonymous said...

Station agents don't have to know foreign languages, so I see nothing wrong to write "English spoken here". If you speak Spanish or Chinese, you can't get help from the agent because he does not speak these languages. These days, of course, any honest statement has to be interpreted as "insensitive" or "bigoted".

Anonymous said...

I ride the N , W and sometimes the 7 train and I can point out the americans. And count them on my one hand. I have to listen to my IPOD so I dont get annoyed by all the foreign languages. I would love to just get on a damm train and hear people talking English. This is America and anyone who lives here or even visits here should know and speak our language. I think that MTA worker should get a raise! God bless America..... = )

Jordan said...

I'm a daily 7 train rider and some people who ride that train should be able to at least say "excuse me", "pardon me", "i'm sorry" etc. because riders on the 7 are by far the most rude in the whole system.

It also blows my mind recently that some organization rated the 7 line as the best in the city!! Granted, most cars aren't that dirty, but there are constant service delays, rarely do you find a seat during the morning/afternoon rush...oh yeah and most people who ride the line are rude and smell pretty bad. I've gotten use to taking the Q44 from Whitestone to Parkchester and taking the 6, much nicer ride.

White-WASP Lino said...

"Anonymous said...
True...the #7 has become a steel sausage casing stuffed to the bursting point with the dregs of humanity attempting to pass themselves off as civilized beings!"

No. False!

I have been taking the 7 from GC to Main since August 1994 with often, 2 stops along the way. Even when packed, the 7 is the cleanest, most civil subway that I ride regularly.

Over the years I have ridden mostly during evening rush and early AM hours..never have I seen an "incident" and the only messy louts occur when the Mets have a game.

The poster probably doesn't like the Asians and Latinos that make up the bulk of the ridership on that train.

Why not be honest about it..you prefer the shelter of a lily-white commuter train as you scurry back to your dead little 'burb.

-------------------

As for that sign in the booth..English is becoming the dominant language in the world. Even at my place in Bangkok, English is everywhere: on signs, and public notices. Most stores have people that speak English and it is widely taught both in public schools and by private tutors. .

Throughout most of the big cities of Asia it is possible to live and often work, knowing only the barest rudiments of the local language. English is everywhere.

Hunters Point booth must have a different staff than when I last used that station regularly...

Anonymous said...

I assumed it was a dig on the "subject to random SEACH" statement above.

Anonymous said...

I think the statement on the sign speak to the extrement frustration of the token booth clerk. He is obviously risking getting remrimanded for this statement. Dont know why but I am sure he is.

Anonymous said...

I'll stick to the LIRR...
Lino"...and you can stick to your BS about the #7.

Maybe you misread the numeral or were coming down from a "high".

Might you be an MTA employee or a just a shill for the great unwashed?

A Chinese woman once spilled some of the "soup" she was eating on my new kicks when I was riding the international express!

"So so-l-l-l-y", was all I got while she continued eating from her precariously poised plastic container.

Civilized folks with manners know enough not to consume anything liquid on a lurching train from an open container!

Anonymous said...

I had to quickly move into another subway car at the Willets Point stop.

Puke...I thought some bum had taken a dump in his pants.

It was just somebody eating their "breakfast"!

Anonymous said...

The only tourists to be found on the 7 line are riding it during the U.S. Open Tennis tournament.

lino said...

Brave "Anon" brayed "I'll stick to the LIRR"

..and you can stick L.I. as well.

Your little haven is rapidly succuming to a tide of high taxes, graying population, rising crime including home invasions-drugs and DWI.

The people you hate and fear most have found you.

Good luck.

Oh since this was a discussion about English, leave the ghetto trashy slang "kicks" -out. I am around Asians every day..never hear "so solly". More fraud. Typical.

Queens Crapper said...

Anon is comparing the 7 train to the LIRR because he likely lives near both. They both go to Flushing ya know.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the word 'search' is spelled 'seach' in the Police notice above?

Anonymous said...

It's called projection. Any innocent mention of the "English" as in language is going to be interpreted as hostility to the immigrant population of Queens -- and especially to the many its immigrants who resist learning the language.

Anonymous said...

I would like too take some time too thank the posters for doing what you do and making the community what it is im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.