Novels and Short Stories

by John F. Dillon

train The Whistle Stop

by John F. Dillon

At the close of World War I in 1919 the first line of the very popular children's song  , "Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking," was jocularly revised to "How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree?)" .   The same tune echoed once again about the land after WWII. This time it was repeated in earnest.

Cities suddenly became main employment centers as the nation changed from an urban to an industrial society at the close of WW ll.   The farm was replaced with the factory. The massive influx to tiny Manhattan Island, world's premier business center, became problematic. New York City's architectural appearances were altered with skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. Road and rail construction provided required  infrastructure changes to convey  profitably market goods to the suburbs .

Transportation methods (only 6% of trips in Manhattan's Central Business District involve the use of a car)required infrastructure changes to convey profitably market goods to the suburbs.

Suburban housing and mass transportation needs to meet the needs of continuing population density increases were a greater challenge.

Long Island an island stretching northeast from New York Harbor into the Atlantic Ocean New York City comprises four counties including two (Kings and Queens) that form New York City.

Although all four counties are part of the greater New York metropolitan area the name Long Island is often reserved in popular usage for only suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties, as distinct from those lying within New York City proper.

As many as 20 percent of Long Islanders commute to New York City jobs where Manhattan is the main employment center with 56% of all jobs. Over half the island's population does not own an automobile. So the moving of people to places of work, education, recreation and other needs was accomplished by rail and road development.

To accommodate a population nearing 8 million occupying an area of 1401 square miles Over a length of 118 miles and a width of 23 square miles at its widest the Long Island Expressway, Northern State Parkway, and Southern State Parkway make east-west travel on the island straightforward, if not always quick. Indeed, locals refer to Long Island Expressway as "The World's Longest Parking Lot". For a less stressful ride, one only needs to travel east across Long Island to the "Twin Forks"

These two peninsulas offer a long and ambling journey far removed from the hustle and bustle of suburbia and the city further west. Indeed, even after one reaches the end of Long Island Expressway in Riverhead, it is another 45 minute drive along Middle Country Road to reach the eastern end of the North Fork at Orient Point, and over an hour along Sunrise and Montauk Highways to reach Montauk Point at the end of the South Fork.

Therefore to avoid Manhattan's limited parking and traffic congestion the rail system was found to be the most efficient at carrying commuter passengers between the city's center and its suburbs. Stretching from Manhattan to the eastern extremities of Long Island, the Long Island Rail Road is the only commuter passenger railroad system in the United States providing comfortable, fast passenger services to commuter passengers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America with 124 stations, and more than 700 miles of track on its two lines to the two forks of the island and eight major branches.

The Montauk Branch takes in the Southern Fork from the Main Line at Long Island City and Jamaica to Montauk Point and encompasses the four counties: Kings (which is the borough of Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau and Suffolk.   Trains stations contain hundreds of small coffee shops, stationary stores, and neighborhood bars.  The businesses located  near train stations across Long Island and Queens depend on the daily commute to pad their bottom line. One such Bar and Grille across Montauk Highway from the LIRR's Oakdale Station flourishing on an unwaveringly influx of local patrons and commuters is appropriately named: "The Whistle Stop". Patrons vary from the local fishermen to the Manhattan executive in a pin-striped suit's .

Every patron has a story.