We made it to New York City last week with no problem. If you read about my predicament with my expired license, you might be relieved to learn that I was not subjected to a strip search.
Or you might be disappointed, depending on where you fall on the weirdo spectrum.
I won’t tell you where I fall on that spectrum. A lady doesn’t tell all of her secrets!
And neither do I.
Did you know that in New York City, the blocks between avenues are three times as long as the blocks between streets?
Or that the blocks between streets are three times as long as the blocks between avenues?
I never did get that straight.
Does it really matter? All you really need to know is the following:
- From 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.: one block = 1/10 or 1/4 of a mile, depending on whether it’s a street or avenue
- From 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: one block = twenty-two miles, give or take three feet.
- From 2:00 p.m., until eternity: one block = WHO CARES. DON’T EVEN TALK TO ME. I HATE EVERYONE.
While in the Big Apple, we took various modes of transportation and I thought it would be nifty to give you my opinion on some of them, because I care about my readers. That, and I want to try my hand at pontificating.
Pontificate can also mean to speak in a pompous manner, for all of you who are sitting there, wondering why I’d want to impersonate the Pope.
Not that I want everyone bowing down and kissing my hand. Just my family. And warranty companies of all kinds. As well as all insurance companies. And banks.
And Anderson Cooper.
HOOFING IT, FIGURATIVELY:
Walking is a truly wonderful way to see New York City and that’s why we opted to walk approximately 3,967 miles. My advice to you is take along three extra pairs of feet and legs, as well as additional tendons and muscles. And an extra vertebrae or two wouldn’t hurt either. Oh, and a pack mule.
HOOFING IT, LITERALLY:
We took a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park. I believe it was $34 for twenty minutes. A little expensive, but we really enjoyed it although next time, we’ll choose a carriage with a roof as it was slightly drizzling and we got a bit damp.
Did you know that when I was seventeen, I was in France with my best friend Traci and we went horseback riding and I was required to wear a helmet, having never ridden a horse? And it was ugly? The helmet, I mean? And that the helmet became my new best friend when the horse, without warning, broke into a wild, uncontrolled gallop and threw me into the bushes? And that Traci swears up and down that the beast was trotting and I slid off sideways onto my head? And that she’s a liar?
Now you do.
We took a taxi from JFK to our hotel. It was a flat fee of $45 plus a $5 toll plus tip so all together, it cost us about $60.
The overpowering smell of urine inside the taxi didn’t cost anything extra.
Either did the wrong turn into the United Nations and having a pack of bomb sniffing dogs surround us.
Who says you can’t get anything for free nowadays?
Even though you occasionally feel like you’re walking down into Buffalo Bill’s pit a la Silence of the Lambs, the subways are not bad at all. They’re pretty clean and everyone is friendly and by friendly, I mean that everyone keeps to themselves and ignores you unless you board while yelling ARE YOU SAVED? COME TO JESUS in which case everyone gives you a slightly wider birth and then ignores you. This boarding tactic comes in handy if you have personal space issues and forgot your plastic bubble at home.
Not that I would I know.
Once you get the hang of the subway system, it’s a fast and convenient way of getting around the city. If you don’t know how to navigate the system, just do the Subway Shuffle, which we did no less than 187 times as we were getting acclimated:
- Allow your husband to be in charge of the subway map, as if you actually had a choice in the matter
- Go down the subway stairs into the abyss
- Jump on an uptown subway called ARE YOU SURE THIS IS THE RIGHT ONE?
- Look suspiciously at your husband as he studies the map, looks perplexed and then turns the map upside down
- Jump off
- Climb back up to street level
- Race across the street
- Climb back down into Hell
- Jump on a downtown subway called DO YOU KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOING?
- Jump off at FOR GOD’S SAKE! WHAT ARE WE DOING IN VERMONT? which, as the name clearly implies, will be nowhere near your destination.
After a few rounds of the Subway Shuffle, either your husband will know exactly how to navigate the subway system or you will know exactly how to navigate his spleen. Either way, it makes for a pretty unique experience.
Oh, and you just might just see a celebrity or two while running amuk underground. We saw Lisa Bloom, a CNN contributor. As we were running down the steps, Nate said Hey look, there’s Lisa Bloom! over his shoulder and I said WOW! Cool! as I tackled the nearest bystander and begged for directions. It was kind of surreal.
Sometimes we didn’t feel like climbing into the earth’s core and feeling like nuclear holocaust survivors so we rode the buses. Nate and I opted for the One Day Fun Pass Metro Card which was $7.50 each and allowed us unlimited rides on the subways and buses. Helena didn’t need one as she rode the subways for free and sometimes the buses as well, depending on whether or not the driver was wearing a shirt that read YEAH, SOMEBODY PEED IN MY CHEERIOS. SO WHAT? SHUT UP AND PAY $2.
I liked the buses because they were above ground and had big windows through which I could see the city. However, sometimes they took forever to arrive and by the time they did, we could have gotten lost at least twice on our own, three times if Nate was feeling particularly macho.
This was perhaps one of the best deals we encountered. It costs nothing to ride the Staten Island Ferry. Did you know that? I didn’t either. A very cool experience, passing right by the Statue of Liberty.
Remember Tess from Working Girl? Going to work via the Staten Island Ferry and daydreaming? The one with a head for business and a bod for sin?
I had a total Tess Harper moment in my head while on the ferry. Good thing I didn’t have it out loud because I have a head for sin and a bod for business and it just would have been all sorts of wrong.
And for those of you who never saw Working Girl, how does it feel to have never thoroughly experienced the eighties?
We decided to use a car service for our ride back to the airport. We did this for two reasons: (1) we didn’t want to risk another ride in a taxi that smelled like 67 cats lived under the front seat; and (2) we didn’t want to risk another ride in a taxi that smelled like 67 buffalo with weak bladders lived under the back seat.
The car was a black Lincoln and it was clean and comfortable and the leg room alone almost made up for the Mexican Muzak blaring out of the speakers in surround sound.
I think of all the methods of transportation we took, the car service was my favorite. It felt nice to be chauffeured around for awhile.
Now I know how my kids feel every single day.
Except that I didn’t get the opportunity to periodically shout YOU SUCK THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING to the back of the driver’s head.