I already wrote about my time in New York, I know. However, I wanted to expand on it a little in more of a story form, hence the second post! I’ve also included a handful of images from my trip that I haven’t shared before now. I hope you enjoy!
I’ve visited my fair share of over-populated cities. However, being the type of person who prefers company with four legs opposed to two, my opinion of these crowded centres isn’t typically one which will sell travel guides. So, when my husband Aaron and I told our families the next trip we were planning would include half a week in New York the look on their faces was nothing short of confused.
“Ok…” my mother said hesitantly, “but, why?” Our response, “Well, why not?” We figured, while we’re ‘in the neighbourhood’ we might as well see what the city has to offer. Plus, there was a sandwich shop that Aaron promised me would be worth the trip. What I didn’t tell him was that I was just as excited to see a location where a scene from National Treasure was filmed. We both had a mixture of good intentions, ulterior motives, and a sense of adventure.
As part of our trip, we decided to take the train from Boston to New York. Watching the coastal views breeze by our window above the rails would be romantic. In reality, the majority of the scenery conjured up images from 28 Days Later opposed to When Harry Met Sally. “It’s all part of the experience” I told myself; and it was.
We left Boston and a few hours later our train pulled into Penn Station. We quickly gathered our belongings and made our way above ground. The lights, traffic, and skyscrapers swallowed us. It took mere seconds to surmise what this city was all about. It screamed its intentions loud enough so that even the hard of hearing couldn’t mistake it for being quaint.
We claimed our precise three inches of personal space and joined the masses in the ever growing lineup for a taxi. Nearly all movement in New York is done in the form of lineups. Bodies of flesh and metal sardined together, shuffling and jolting like characters from The Living Dead. And for those who were wondering, hailing a taxi isn’t always as eloquent of an experience as it appears in Sex In The City. There are individuals who I’m pretty sure would gnaw off an appendage of anyone who dared to skip the line and try one of Carrie Bradshaw’s fancy moves.
After a $40, eight block taxi ride, we were deposited at our hotel, the lights from Times Square glowing in the background. The first thing on the agenda was to check out the neighbourhood. Aaron and I are relatively well-travelled adults, but I don’t think it’s possible to prepare for Times Square in any other manner than to simply experience it. I’ve seen photos and videos, but I must say, it’s comparable to dressing a pig in a bowtie. No matter how colorful that bowtie is, it isn’t going to mask the foul-smelling mud the pig has been rolling in all day.
As Aaron predicted though, the sandwiches, beer, musicals, and shopping did indeed make up for the scent of hot, rotten spinach rising from every sewer grate our feet crossed. We combated the filth with copious amounts of hand sanitizer, and the crowds, we let them carry us, making the task of walking the hectic city just a tiny bit easier on our weary feet. We completed the obligatory boat ride out to Lady Liberty, ate our fill of cheesecake, and shopped the 5th avenue boutiques. After a warm afternoon in Central Park the city was starting to grow on me. It wasn’t until later that evening when we began to experience exactly why it has been giving the nickname of ‘the city that never sleeps’ did my opinion slide steeply downhill.
I didn’t realize it was possible, but the number of shocking events that can happen while walking no more than two New York blocks is considerable higher than I thought. We witnessed an age-old transaction taking place with little concern for the very public corner they were standing on, an elderly man entering into both a verbal and physical altercation with the front of a city bus, and a trouble youth, assuring me that “It’s all happening again”, I was ready to return to the safety and slow pace of my small-town home. A quick glance toward Aaron and I knew he was thinking the same thing.
Hand-in-hand we quickened our pace back to our hotel, made our way through a lobby crowded with flight attendants and tourists, all seemingly stuck in a never ending checking in and checking out cycle, and pushed through to the elevators. We found sanctuary in the golden box and just as the doors were closing, separating us from the chaos, a woman’s voice yelled, “Stop! Hold the doors!” I should have known our escape wouldn’t come that easily. I rolled my eyes at Aaron and then pushed in the ‘open door’ button to hold the elevator for the passengers too desperate to wait for the next lift.
A teenage boy pushed his wheelchair-bound mother over the threshold and onto the elevator. I smiled at the pair and inquired which floor they were headed too. With an exasperated sigh the woman responded, “I don’t even care, as long as it’s away from all of… that” she flipped her hand toward the hoard of people outside of the elevator. “I tell ya,” she said to me and Aaron. “This city is beyond ridiculous.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” I replied with an empathetic smile.