Greetings from LaGuardia Airport! I allowed extra time, and then everything worked like clockwork and I didn’t need the extra time, so now I get to sit at my gate and write this for you all.
I’ll just give you the start to finish, because either you aren’t interested at all in which case the headline should have turned you off, or you are interested in EVERYTHING.
So Friday afternoon, all the plans finally came together, the way they do with these things. And here was the miraculous part, once all the plans were in place I had exactly 3 hours unscheduled, I emailed my cousin who lives in Brooklyn on a random “why not” whim, and she was available at that exact time!
Saturday morning, flight landed at 9am, and I took a Lyft (first time ever!) over to my cousin’s, where she gave me breakfast and introduced me to her very nice friends who happened to be staying with her, and then we walked around her neighborhood for a bit, and finally her and her very nice boyfriend walked me to the slightly farther train station so that I could take a surface train and see the city. They even used their passes to go wait on the platform with me and put me right on the correct train, thank goodness.
I have to say generally that I found New York very easy. I’ve lived in Chicago for 16 years now, and at a certain point all really really large cities are kind of the same. Same kind of stores, same kind of people, same kind of public transit. I wore my flexible city coat and my good walking shoes and I got to use my “I can stand on a train without holding on to anything and read my book with one hand” skills. BUT! The New York public transit maps would have defeated me. Thank goodness for my cousin telling me “get on this train, right here, and get off when the sign says –“.
Anyway, followed her directions, and ended up walking 4 blocks between the regular train and the Jersey train. And as I was walking along, I saw a sign that said “Christopher Street” and went “Hey! I know that name from, like, History Books! I’m in Greenwich Village!” So, yes, I was in Greenwich Village for a total of 4 blocks and 5 minutes, which I think is enough time to say, for the rest of my life “oh yes, I’ve been to Greenwich Village”.
Took the train to Jersey City, got off the train, and promptly walked 5 blocks in the wrong direction, but finally redirected myself and walked backwards the 5 blocks, and then the like 2 blocks in the right direction to my WEIRD WEIRD hotel! You know the hotel rooms you sometimes see in movies? That are just like a cot and a fridge? That was this place. Nice desi family ran it, the room was definitely clean, just very very empty. Anyway, once I had checked in and felt oriented, I texted Emily-from-the-comments and we met up and she took me over to her local movie theater, plus had already arranged tickets for Thappad. I felt like such a guest!
Thappad was good (as you know from my reviews), but about halfway through my whole body suddenly gave out, after the whole freaky early and very strenuous day. So Emily very nicely gave me a ride back to my hotel, and then I was tucked in for the night. Embarrassing confession, when I got back to the hotel I was too completely wiped to go out again, but also realized I had to eat something between now and the next morning. So, while staying at a hotel in the middle of an Indian neighborhood, and more generally located in an exciting different city, I ordered Dominos pizza to be delivered directly to my hotel room. And it was DELICIOUS. It tasted exactly like the Dominos pizza I get at home.
Ate my pizza, and was asleep by 8pm. And then awake again at 2am (thus the weird Thappad reviews in the middle of the night). And then back to sleep at 4:30am until 8:30. At which point I actually got dressed and went outside to one of the many many Indian groceries and bought a bottle of water and a bottled lassi for emergency breakfast. Back to the hotel, slow wake-up, packed my bag, and then downstairs to check out.
Got a coffee on the way to the train, and then a very proud moment, saw the train on the platform as I was going down the stairs, and actually threw myself and my bag between the closing doors to get on it. Wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d missed it and waited 15 minutes for the next one, but there’s a real honor to pushing those doors open to get in, right?
Took the train to within two blocks of the museum where I was supposed to meet Molly and Carol, and promptly got turned around and walked a block in the wrong direction again. But finally met up with them and we had an amazing wonderful coffee chat that lasted literally hours. And then we did the whole museum in a tight 45, because we are very efficient people. Anyway, it was a super cool museum! Which I am going to go ahead and promote so you all know about it for your next trip, the Rubin Museum. It’s all Himalayan/Buddhist type art, very soothing and beautiful and interesting.
Then Molly and Carol, because they are SAINTS, took me all the way up to Jackson Heights so I could get an amazing Indian meal, and also be right by the bus that goes out to the airport. It really was an amazing meal, and I’m not going to say the name of the restaurant because it is very tiny and I don’t want more people to know about it. Anyway, great meal, and then they walked me all the way to the bus and put me on it (seriously, this is what I need for NY transit, a personal person who gets me all the way to the actual door of what I need to be on). Bus was super easy and took me directly to the terminal I need, breezed through security, and now I am writing this while my phone charges.
All of that was amazing, and I can’t pick a second best part of the trip (meal with Molly and Carol, watching a movie in a sold out theater with Emily, etc.), but I know that the best part will be when I walk through the door of my apartment again. Isn’t that a blessing? To have a life I enjoy so much, and a home I enjoy so much, that I truly like coming home from vacation? That’s not really related to anything, but it’s a feeling I’ve had for the past few years every time I come home no matter how amazing the trip was, and I am feeling it come on me again now and thinking “wow, I really need to acknowledge how lucky I am that this is true”. Most people after a wonderful trip probably wish it could just last and last, but my whole life is equally good, if not slightly better, to a really wonderful trip.