Report from the Chair—July/Aug. 2021

Our June meeting was unique—a throwback to prepandemic times, as we met in person for the first time since our hybrid meting in December 2020, itself an anomaly in our string of phone meetings since March of that year. Millburn was gracious enough to allow us to have that December meeting to honor Chairperson Emeritus David Peter Alan as he retired and I took over the chair; we had not been together as a group since then until last month’s meeting, held at the Panera Bread café in Montclair, just a quick walk over the bridge from the Bay Street Station. Though it is not on our heritage Morris & Essex line, it was convenient, with good WiFi for our “Maestro members”—those from South Jersey or Philadelphia, or who for whatever reason preferred not to meet in person—night driving, vaccination status, we did not ask. We hope to do even better with hybrid meetings moving forward—perhaps a few cell phones in the room, so that those at a distance can hear and be heard better. It is a work in progress, and we enjoyed being together in person while retaining the freedom to call in as desired. Watch for upcoming meeting announcements, and join us on Facebook and Twitter, for updates.

NJ Transit took one of our suggestions last month, and worked with the Department of Health to open Secaucus Junction, Newark Penn, and Atlantic City stations for vaccination sites for the transit-dependent. Our members checked out 2 sites, and reported generally efficient programs, not overwhelmed with people, but patronized—and an unfortunately heavy militaristic security presence. There were in both Secaucus Junction and Newark Penn—and we presume, but do not know for sure, in Atlantic City as well—many guards visible, in both police uniforms and fatigues. This surprised us, as we have seen a much smaller security presence at other “supersites”. We suspect that this might have turned off some possible “customers”, as we surmise that some might be hesitant already at this late date. However, we do appreciate the effort.

Progress continues, slowly, on our new Web site and on a new station-inspection form; keep watching for details!

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