Our trip to the big city was fantastically marvelous and there are many stories to tell, so rather than burn holes in your eyes by forcing you to take in one epically long post, I’ll break it up into parts and give you time in between to get a snack, take a nap, go for a walk, visit the toilet…whatever you feel the need to accomplish before settling in for another walk around the writer’s block. See what I did there?
Part One – Arrival
We purchased our plane tickets for this trip back in June while Southwest was having one of those super sales with $40 – $80 fares, literally minutes before the sale ended. Shockingly, we weren’t the only ones on the interweb at the 11th hour scurrying to book a trip, and the favored times for flying were disappearing fast, so what we wound up with were one stop tickets that landed us in NY around 8 PM. Layovers are the pits and we’d of course have preferred to arrive a bit earlier since we knew an 8 PM landing meant not getting to our actual apartment until close to 10, but a penny saved is a penny earned and $100 saved is at least three cocktails each at a swanky NY bar. Even with some extended taxiing due to inclement weather, we still arrived on time and so began our first city adventure – the M60 bus from LGA.
A cab from the airport to anywhere in Manhattan costs about $50 plus tip. The M60 bus from our terminal to exactly three blocks from our apartment costs $2.25 each. For your $50 plus tip you get privacy, fairly comfortable seats, limited stoppage time and door to door service. But for $2.25 each you get one hell of an experience.
A handful of folks boarded the bus with us at LGA and off we went. Through Astoria/Queens the ride was pretty uneventful, but then at the last stop, before we crossed the bridge into Harlem, a family of five joined our coach – mom, dad and three small children, the youngest of which couldn’t have been more than a year old. It was about 9 PM at this point. Now, I’ve seen babies at the Mebane bowling alley past 10 PM (I judged those parents too) and I accept that I have no idea what this family’s situation was or how common an occurrence it was for them to tote the troop around town late at night, but I’d say the next round of happenings didn’t do much to help my opinion of the matter. Mom sat with the two older kids in one row, dad with the baby right behind her. Mom mumbled something to dad about helping keep the kids under control to which dad replied “don’t worry, I’ve got my son!” I’m not sure what his definition of “got” is, but little one-year-old-late-night-bus-riding-baby was climbing all over the place and standing on the seat and dad certainly had no form of grasp on him and if you’ve never ridden a city bus before, one good word to describe the ride would be jolty. Pete and I both sat there, directly behind this show of fine parenting, just waiting to catch a baby in our lap. Then mom started turning around to give dad the evil eye (not sure why) so dad began intermittent smackings on the back of her head. Nothing I would call abusive, more like a sibling rivalry style provocation. Mom “requested” that dad stop and when he didn’t, she whipped around and shot him the evilest of glares and said something like boy, you better quit that shit right now. Dad just went “ohh ho ho! Mom’s goin’ gangsta on us!” Good times.
A stop or so later our driver puts the bus in park, grabs his gear, and gets off the bus. Ummmmm. It’s after 9 PM and we’re in the middle of Harlem and our bus driver appears to be walking home. But wait! He starts walking back in our direction. He steps inside and is about to say something when an automated bus announcement begins – something about staying alert for your safety and reporting any suspicious behavior – okay, sure no problem. Announcement ends, bus driver starts talking again – “so yeah, my shift is over and my replacement’s not here, so um, I’m just going to go and if another bus shows up before he gets here, you should get on that one.” Awesome.
Thankfully another bus pulled up within minutes and we exited bus one to head toward bus two. As the doors closed on bus two and we started to pull away we heard someone outside yelling “HEY! HEY! WAIT! STOP!” and we looked out the windows to see a young dude chasing the bus with a folded stroller in his hands. The bus driver chose to ignore his pleas and carried on which apparently had quite the affect on this young man. Let me just take a moment here to point out, in case you missed it a sentence ago, that he had a stroller, read: he too was traversing the city with his young children late at night. Anyhoo, the driver’s failure to stop and wait prompted the young man to heave his stroller a good 15 feet down the road. No the baby was not in there. He then abandoned said stroller, and I assume his family as well, and proceeded to high-tail it a couple blocks to catch up with the bus at its next stop. The driver started to open the door, saw that it was the same dude, closed the doors in his face and began to pull away. Young dude, anger mounting, moved around to stand in front of the bus and shout and cuss at the driver through the front window. Driver paused briefly and then veered into the lane of oncoming traffic to get around him. Young dude smacked the windshield with all his might and then got out of the way, with a few more f-bombs and the like thrown in for good measure. Again, awesome.
A few stops later we pulled up to 106th and Broadway, grabbed our luggage, breathed a sigh of relief to have somehow made it and began our few block walk to 330 W. 108th Street on the Upper West Side of New York City.
Tune in next time for our little apartment anecdote.
Elderland out. XO.
PS Norah did not go with us on the trip, but we did bring back this shirt for her and she does look mind blowingly adorable in this photo.