Bayswater's Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor Blog

Thursday, August 10, 2017

While Riding on a New York Railway in January, 1980...

     Do you ever watch the police procedural (or detective) shows on TV?  You know, the ones where the investigator asks the potential suspects where they were and what was happening on a particular date?  Unless the date in question was very recent, who really remembers details like that?  Our latest find of the week on the used book floor allowed us to do a little research regarding one particular date – January 25, 1980 – and what one man may have been experiencing on that day. 

     This week’s discovery was a Long Island Railroad ticket from Friday, January 25, 1980, tucked into a copy of Stuart Woods’ book, “Standup Guy”.  The ticket was purchased by a male and it is clear by the number of punches on it that the ticket was used for commuting to and from work during the week of January 20-25 in 1980.  Hmm…we wondered, what was happening during that time in the life of a Brooklyn, New York commuter?

     On that day, we surmise that the commuter could have been trying to catch a brief cat nap, as Super Bowl XIV had recently concluded and he may have been shouting at the TV until a late hour, perhaps lamenting that neither New York NFL team even made the playoffs that year (the Pittsburg Steelers won and QB Terry Bradshaw was named the MVP).  As he sat on the subway, maybe he read about how President Jimmy Carter announced a United States boycott of the Moscow Olympics to be held that summer.  Perhaps he was looking out the window and thinking about the economy and his own job security, as inflation had skyrocketed to 13.5% (it is now 2.9%) and would eventually lead to a recession in the early 1980s.  Or maybe, because it was Friday, he simply couldn’t wait for the weekend (even a cold January one in New York).

     Whatever he may have been thinking or reading about, we found that on that day in 1980, a New York Long Island Railroad ticket cost a total of .60 cents.  If the man commuted five days a week for a total of 20 weekdays in a month, he spent $12 a month on his subway pass.  To put that in perspective, if one were to purchase a ticket for the same amount of time in that subway system now, it would cost $103 (a good example of inflation).

     As with all of our used books that we feature here at Bayswater, “Standup Guy” can be yours for the price of $2.99.  To catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor, you can always check us out at and on facebook, or stop by the store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself! 

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