Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New York - the "subways and statues" edition

On September 15th, we had to be on a train to New York at 8.30am. We figured we'd just get a taxi from the hotel to the station rather than trying to get there on public transport. Upon checking out, a man appeared from the depths of the hotel, asking if we needed a cab. I can't speak for Kat, but I assumed he was a bellhop or similar who would hail a cab for us, and replied in the affirmative. Instead, he led us outside and began loading our luggage into an unmarked, black town car while gesturing at us to get in the car. We did so somewhat apprehensively, and then looked at each other with some small degree of concern. 

Thankfully, it appeared that he ran a car service from the hotel, and we soon arrived at the train station. After the purchase of candy and trashy magazines essentials and wandering around the terminal for a while, we boarded the train. Getting a 20kg suitcase up a flight of train stairs is an...interesting...experience, to say the least. Thankfully, the journey was rather less strenuous. We had originally thought about taking an express train, but it was only half an hour shorter and $150 more expensive, so we went with the local train. And it was rather fun - we went through Baltimore (which despite looking not particularly pleasant from the window of the train caused me to spend the rest of the train trip singing "Good Morning Baltimore") and Trenton (which had me immediately texting Megan with "Train is going through Trenton. Cross your fingers that Morelli turns up!!!" #janetevanovichfans). The trip seemed pretty short, and we arrived in New York right on schedule. I was rather grateful that the platform was level with the train doors in New York, saving a reverse performance of the suitcase debacle. 

We made our way upstairs into the truly unpleasant delightful Penn Station, and set about searching for Sara. The reunion with my BFF went something like this:

We're so cool. 

We headed out into the rain and had lunch at an Irish pub. Of course, just as we left the pub, the rain turned from drizzle to something more substantial. So we attempted to hail a cab. EPIC FAIL. So we ultimately decided to take the subway. After struggling a little with the ticket machine (and with attempting to convince the employee to let us use the disabled entrance so we didn't have to take our suitcases through the turnstiles), we made it to the train. And then had to change lines at Times Square. That was...interesting. Let's just say they weren't kidding when they said the ramp isn't wheelchair accessible. Finally, after much dragging of suitcases up flights of stairs (which, OW), we made it to Grand Central, and the half a dozen blocks to the hotel. 

Kat and Sara loitered about in the lobby while I checked in. Which took FOREVER.
Hotel employee: Sorry, we've just had the system upgraded and it's kind of slow.
Me: Um. Okay?
Hotel employee: How many keys would you like?
Me: Two, please.
Hotel employee: Sure, not a problem.
[Three minutes later]
Hotel employee: Sorry, we've just had the system upgraded and it's kind of slow. How many keys would you like?
Me: Two. 
Hotel employee: Okay, not a problem.
[Two minutes later]
Hotel employee: I don't know what's going on with the system today, it's very slow. How many keys would you like?
Me: *head explodes*

Eventually, we got checked in and up to our room. The evening was spent wandering around Times Square, eating at the world's largest Applebee's (clearly, they were very proud of that. It was plastered all over the walls), and visiting M&Ms World.

The following day, we declared it time for actual touristy stuff, and caught the subway down to Battery Park. Somehow, Kat thought I was navigating and I assumed she was, given my total inability to navigate, and as a result, we walked to Times Square rather than catching the subway from Grand Central. #fail We met Sara at Times Square (she stayed at a hostel up near Central Park while we stayed at a hotel in Murray Hill), and made our merry way downtown. On the way, this happened:
Me: *inspecting subway map to see how many stops we have to go*
Old man on subway: That won't do you much good. Know why?
Me: Um. No idea.
Old man: Because it's not to scale. And because the guy who designed it was colour blind!
Me: Huh. Interesting.
Old man: If you need any help, you just let me know!
Me: Thanks, but I think we're okay.
Kat: *quietly* Does he have an onion on his belt? Because he totally reminds me of Grandpa Simpson...

Sadly, he didn't have an onion on his belt. 

Once we reached Battery Park, we bought tickets, and spent more thrilling time standing in a queue for security. This time, there was a dude playing the steel drums keeping people amused. He'd ask where they were from, and then play something relevant. No moment to think, no pause. Just instantly into the national anthem or a well known song like Rule Britannia or Waltzing Matilda. Incidentally, Waltzing Matilda doesn't exactly work on the steel drums...

The Statue of Liberty is the Statue of Liberty. Everyone's seen it, everyone knows what it looks like. 

Wolverine wasn't there, and it didn't come to life courtesy of pink slime and "Higher and Higher". Sad, really. We spent most of the time laughing at the poses other people were making in front of it.

From there, we made a quick stop at Ellis Island, where we had a very unexciting and overpriced lunch. While there, this happened:
Serving wench: Would you like fries or onion rings with that?
Kat: Neither
Serving wench: But...you have to!
Kat: But I don't want them.
Serving wench: *dithers*
Kat: Fine. Onion rings.
Serving wench: *heaves a sigh of relief*

Dear America, this is why you have obesity problems... Love, the rest of the world.

From there, we wandered briefly around Ellis Island, and then it was back to Manhattan - we had a date we couldn't miss. With Ground Zero.

Up next, the 9/11 Memorial.

K xx


  1. Oh my gosh, I totally had that exact same reunion when my best friend came to visit me this time last year! In the middle of the airport...

    I want to go to M&Ms World!

    Sound slike you had an awesome time... except for the creepy old man and the dumb service people.

  2. Sounds like a great time. (And I love that clip from Friends!)

  3. Sounds like so much fun! I've only seen the statue of liberty from afar - can't wait to see the rest of the pics and hear the rest of the stories.


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