Unfortunately, this time around I’d have to say my trip to NYC was a bust. I probably shouldn’t be blogging about it yet as I’ve only been home for 1.5 hours and should use more time to clear my head, but here’s my summary:
The night before heading to New York City I noticed that my nose was running. By the time I went to bed, my throat was a wee bit sore. Being the trooper that I am, I woke up Tuesday morning, took some Sudafed, and caught my Fung Wah bus to Manhattan.
There were so many people in line that there were TWO buses departing at 10AM. I was the last person to get on the first bus. On the plus side, it left 15 minutes early (since it was already full). On the negative side, the only seat available was the back row…right next to the bathroom door.
Then the heat came on…and stayed on. It was a bright and sunny day so people were pulling down the shades. But there was no shade for the back two rows. The entire ride I (and my Fung Wah neighbors) were blinded by winter sun. I swear that by the time we arrived in Manhattan (nearly 5 hours later…please note that other times it’s only taken 3.5 – 4 hours) it must have been over 90 degrees in that bus.
Making matters worse, my plans were to hang out with my friend, Chris, all day on Wednesday since the friend I was staying with, Kirk, was working and then seeing a Broadway show. But while I was on the bus, Chris left me a voicemail that he was sick and not going to NYC. That’s okay, I thought, because I was also hoping to catch up with somebody I’d been chatting with on-line for coffee (coffee for him, water for me).
Anyway, once in Chinatown I jumped on the 6-local subway and went uptown 3 stops to Astor Place and met up with my friend Kirk. He’s got an AMAZING apartment in the East Village overlooking St. Mark’s Church.
Looking to the left you can see the downtown skyling (where the twin towers once stood) and to the right you can see the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.
Kirk graciously listened to me vent about feeling sick (and feeling worse as a result of the non-air circulated steamy bus), and then we headed out to walk around.
Our first destination was Soho where we be-bopped into countless shops. Oddly enough, I bought nothing but he managed to find some incredible finds for himself at Club Monaco. That night, we went to dinner at B-Bar (or Bowery Bar, I think is it’s full name). The food was quite good, despite being in a converted gas station.
Exhausted, we called it an evening and went back to the apartment and talked until bed time.
On Wednesday, with Chris sick and Kirk working, I ventured out again. I explored the East Village, Soho (again), then Greenwich Village before returning back to the apartment empty-handed. I then heard back from the other friend I was hoping to meet up with: he was sick, too. He’d left me an email the day before, but I didn’t have email access while in NYC. ugh.
When Kirk got home, we watched a bit of TV before heading out to see Brokeback Mountain. But we got to the theatre only to find that the newspaper listings were wrong and there was no showing at that time. We headed back to his place, ordered a pizza and planned to go to the showing 3 hours later. We arrived back at the theatre but now that show was sold out. It was just not meant to be.
Feeling sick, exhausted and with two failed attempts at hanging out with people and two failed attempts at seeing a movie, we watched the DVD of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, ate delicious confections and then went to sleep.
This morning, we woke up to pouring rain. Nasty day. We went to Vesulka (spelling?) – a Ukranian deli – for breakfast. YUM. A really cute bus boy had a shirt that read “love slav” on the back (get it? slavic?). Then Kirk went off to work and I bought a t-shirt I could wear on the bus in case it gets too hot to wear my button down shirt.
I took the subway down to Chinatown and managed to get on the 1:30PM bus (as opposed to the 2:00PM bus I had purchased a ticket for). I should have been suspect when the bus didn’t say Fung Wah on it. And the driver was African-American instead of Asian-American.
So, the bus departed…but instead of taking the Williamsburg Bridge as EVERY OTHER Fung Wah driver has done for me over the past few years, this guy drove up 1st Avenue the entire length of Manhattan (into East Harlem). Then we went into the Bronx…but instead of jumping on 95 EAST (to Boston) at the G.W Bridge, he went on 87 North…to Albany. WTF?
It gets worse. At first, I was thinking he chose this route because he knew of some horrific traffic problems on the other routes. So, I figured we’d have less traffic driving up 87 and then taking the Mass Turnpike the entire length from NY to Boston. And I was right…there was no traffic. Until the driver got off Route 87 and jumped on the White Plains Thruway (or something like that) that brought us back to heavy traffic on Route 95 …still in NY! UGH
We bypassed NOTHING. But then, because of his delays, we approached Stamford and Bridgeport, CT in peak rush hour traffic. Three hours after our departure we were only in New Haven, CT. THREE HOURS.
Now, this is where the idiot driver pissed me off. Instead of taking Route 91 up through Hartford and then onto the Mass Turnpike (the most direct route), he stayed on Route 95…following the entire Connecticut coast line, then Rhode Island, into Providence, then into Massachusetts. This made the trip last nearly 7 hours. SEVEN HOURS! I could have flown to San Francisco or Paris in that time.
I decided to reward myself by taking a taxi from South Station to the North End (instead of the subway). I jumped into the cab and told the driver I wanted to go to “(insert name of street here) in the North End”. He was on his cell phone (I’ve not taken a cab in the past year and a half where the driver wasn’t using his cell phone) and mis-heard what I said and started heading to the SOUTH END instead. Frustrated, I got a bit nasty and confronted him on this (I had no patience after that bus ride). He actually apologized, canceled the fare and started it from scratch again from the South Station area.
There you have it. Two of the three people I intended of hanging out with bailed on me, I was sick the whole time, the bus rides in both directions were from hell, and I bought nothing in my attempts to shop. On the plus side:
- My sole celebrity siting was Michael Musto. He’s taller than I thought he’d be. And, like with John Waters in Provincetown, Mr. Musto and I locked eyes for an awkward few seconds before moving on.
- Because of the East Village’s large Jewish population, I got to witness the Menorah Mobile! We saw a truck with “Menorah Mobile” written on the sides park on the corner. Then, like clowns in a circus, all of these Hassidic jews (complete with black outfits, yamulke’s and curly strands of hair) started jumping out and offering menorah candles to jewish passers-by. They asked my friend, Kirk, if he was Jewish. But since we weren’t Jewish, we didn’t get a candle.
- Which reminds me, the one saving grace of this trip was Kirk. So, if he’s reading this, thanks for making this trip bearable! I felt so bad that I was such dead wood the entire trip. I had no energy (damn cold). I kept apologizing because I’m not normally this bad. Hopefully he remembers how much more energetic I was the last time we were together in August.
AHH – that was therapeutic. I feel a bit better. Now I need some sleep.
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