We successfully made it to New York City and back, without being shot. Yikes! Shocking news this morning… Scary, even. We were right there, 24 hours earlier. I don’t much care for it.
Anyway, the trip was fairly hectic, but I think everybody had a good time. We had two must-do items on our list, and were just going to wing it from there. But both boys sprung their own ideas on us, and it complicated matters.
Our mistake, you see, is that we don’t go often enough, and everybody wants to do something in a different part of town. As usual, we vowed to correct that problem, and go every couple of months. I hope we actually follow through this time. I love NYC, and wish I’d lived there when I was younger. It’s an amazing, energizing place.
I’m just going to give you a few bullet points on the day, if you don’t mind. Just briefly hit the highlights… Then I’m going to switch gears and write about 1981, for the book project. I’m jumping from time period to time period like some portly time-traveler with Bert Convy hair.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
- We have two methods for getting to New York: take the commuter bus that leaves Scranton every hour, or drive and leave our car at a Park & Ride in Secaucus, NJ. We chose the latter yesterday, and it was fairly painless. There are about ten turns you have to make during the last seven minutes, and it’s kinda stressful – one mistake and you’re riding through the Lincoln Tunnel with a granite-hard sphincter. But GPS helps, and we had no problems this go ‘round. The bus was crowded, though, and we had to stand and hang on, the best we could. There are no straps or anything, so we were basically gripping the lip of the overhead department. I’m sure the people in the seats enjoyed having strangers’ armpits pressed against the sides of their faces.
- We walked from Port Authority, straight to the Empire State Building. We bought our tickets on the internet, which turned out to be a wise decision, because the lines were enormous. We were allowed to bypass all that, and go straight to another enormous line, deep within the bowels of the operation.
- I’ve been to plenty of touristy places in my time, but the Empire State Building has to be one of the most aggressive with the up-sell attempts. You’re funneled through two gift shops, almost forced to have a souvenir photo taken (we had one taken, but didn’t buy it or even look at it), offered a pre-recorded headphone “tour,” offered an upgraded ticket that allows you to go higher than the standard 86th floor observation deck, and badgered (in many languages) about various restaurants and shops in the building while riding down the elevator. It was just a non-stop attempt to separate us from our money. You know, on top of the $100 we’d already paid.
- I thought there would be a lot of Japanese tourists there, for some reason. But it was mostly Europeans: German, French, and Dutch, as best as I could tell. It was like a freakin’ league of nations up there, and I heard very little English. Not a complaint, mind you, just an observation… There was a whole lot of talkin’ going on, but I couldn’t understand 99% of it. It’s probably how dogs feel.
- While riding in the tightly-packed elevators (you have to switch at the 80th floor for some reason), I wondered what would happen if someone let loose with an oily cauliflower fart around the 7th floor. It’s a LONG ride, and you’re mashed in there with German asses pressing against you. You know that’s happened a million times. It’s a public farter’s paradise: the Mount Everest of anal escapades.
- It was kinda hazy yesterday, so the pictures aren’t the greatest. I snapped about 40, but they all look pretty much the same. Here are a few of them, which is enough. I don’t like heights very well, but you’re well-protected up there, and I didn’t feel that weird sensation in my wiener region. I was a little concerned the older boy was going to drop his iPhone off the building, but that was about the only anxiety I experienced.
- We spent about 40 minutes on the observation deck, and went back down. Some woman was talking to a fussy baby in a stroller and kept repeating the phrase “cinnamon on top,” over and over. WTF? Any ideas what that might mean?? It was making me crazy, and also confusing the hell out of me.
- We walked to the West Village, after forcing ourselves to yawn and pop our ears, following that crazy elevator descent. We had lunch at a place called Sammy’s Noodle Shop, which Toney and I discovered years ago. Actually, I think we read about it in an “off the beaten path” guide book, or something like that. It’s a Chinese joint in a cool neighborhood, with good food and sensible prices. We’ve enjoyed every meal we’ve had there, and yesterday was no exception. I ate myself all the way up to the brink of a blackout.
- While having lunch, there was a guy standing on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. He was putting off a distinct “drug dealer” vibe, and eating Cheerio’s from a freezer bag. We started speculating about him. “Yeah, go see Cheerio’s, in front of the Chinese place. Cheerio’s has got what you need,” I joked. And some Bill Clinton impersonator overheard my little performance, and looked at me with confusion.
- After lunch the younger boy wanted to go to Bleecker Street Records, which was like a trip straight back to 1975. I could’ve spent several hours there, but we needed to keep moving. Here are a couple of interesting albums I spotted. Heh.
- While walking to the subway, we stopped at a corner and waited to cross. And some local walked up to us and said, “Do you folks need directions somewhere?” Grrr… Was it THAT obvious we were tourists? We were just standing there. Deeply offensive. I know New Yorkers are encouraged to help out-of-towners, and they’re much nicer than the stereotype implies. But I don’t like being pegged as a rube from a hundred yards. Ya know? I’m still stewing about it, if you want to know the truth. Maybe it was my Sean Hannity fanny-pack?
- We rode the train uptown, and were planning to go to a store that Toney wanted to visit. But everything descended into chaos, and we ended up just walking around for a couple of hours. We stopped in a bakery and had some really good red velvet cupcakes, then spent a half-hour in Times Square. Wotta gigantic cluster-copulation! I don’t know why we feel like we have to visit that area every time, and I’m going to lobby that it be eliminated from all future visits. Way too many people… I felt like throwing punches within three minutes.
- While walking around we passed a massive dump called the Hotel Carter. I asked Toney to remind me to look it up on Trip Advisor when we got home, and here’s what I found. Rooms cost $99 per night – in the heart of Times Square. Be sure to read the reviews and look at the pictures, some of them are hilarious. That property must be worth many millions of dollars. Why is it still a shitty dump? It’s very confusing.
- Eventually we were exhausted and rode the bus back to beautiful Secaucus. I felt like I was covered in SARS and AIDS, and various other disease spores. But it didn’t stop me from digging into a sack of Chips Ahoy we’d brought along. Traffic was pretty horrendous, but it eventually broke free and we were headed home.
- We stopped somewhere along the way, and had dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was pandemonium in there, and about twenty kids were having simultaneous hissy-fits. Just wall-to-wall blood-curdling screams… It sounded like a scene from Saw. But I washed my hands, and had the chicken and dumplin’ dinner. Both hit the spot.
- There was a massive traffic jam in the middle of nowhere, and we actually had our car in park for about ten minutes, at one point. It was infuriating. The estimated time of arrival, on our GPS, kept clicking higher and higher, along with my blood pressure. Finally we made our way through it (road works, as usual), and within fifteen minutes we were the only people on the road. Where did all those other thousand cars go?? It was bizarre. Almost unexplainable.
And that was our big day out. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be back on Monday, my friends.
See ya then!
Now playing in the bunker
Treat yourself at Amazon: US and Canada
You were their when the shooter was getting fired from his job.
Joey Jo Jo says
Hey Jeff, when you are, for example, wrist-deep in a traffic jam with the Secrets in the car, do you curse, or censor yourself? My dad used to send me into laughing fits that I never thought I’d recover from, hollering at everyone, fucking old biddy, cocksucker this, shitheel that… And I do the same thing. In the car, every other word is obscene. No kids, but I’m great at censoring my talk because I work with (sigh) The Public on a daily basis.
I have a friend exactly like that. One time I was riding withhim and his wife, and something set him off into a swearing tirade. When he went in to pay for the gas, his wife said to me, “I don’t think there was a non-swear word in his entire paragraph. I looked at her and said, you’re right. But it’s kinda weird how it all made sense!”
Great Update. Glad you made it out of town in one piece.
“what dogs hear”…………… ROTFLMAO!
So simple, yet so profound.
Not Oprah says
Hey Jeff, thought of you first thing when I heard of the ESB terror this morning. Glad your back safe! I`ve been to NYC a few times but really noted that people just run into traffic – maybe if you actually wait for a proper signal you are a tourist.
I`m so cheap (being an accountant and all) I`ve probably stayed at Hotel Carlton or worse. Going to read the reviews….
Nice to read your grimy report on NYC. My favorite part of visiting the empire state building was on the way out…seeing the Asian tourists at the souvenir picture stand, taking pictures with their cameras, of the souvenir pictures taken of them on the way up. Take that, money grubbing fuckers.
Second favorite thing? Seeing a driver getting a blowjob coming out of the Lincoln tunnel. My 14 yo daughter will never forget that parting shot of her first trip to NYC.
Swami Bologna says
“There was a whole lot of talkin’ going on, but I couldn’t understand 99% of it. It’s probably how dogs feel.”
Now, that’s funny! Though I hate when people write “LOL,” I LOL’ed.
The Qweezy Mark says
Why does everyone assume Jeff might be the shot instead of the shooter? He’s given everyone every reason to believe he designs women’s accessories………………..or is it the just the drugs kickin’ in?
Okay Mark, I at first expected the worst, but then thought, “Man, I hope Jeff wasn’t the trigger man!”
Glad you and your family weren’t shot full of holes!
Timing is everything as they say.
Jeff, I’m glad it worked out OK. That sort of realization is very freaky. Like the time I drove past the Pentagon on a sunny Tuesday morning in September 2001, just a few minutes before an airline flight came to a bad end.
Next time you’re in the West Village and looking for a bite to eat, I recommend Famous Roio’s pizza at the corner of 6th Ave and 11th St. The owner was the original “Famous Ray” from the 1970s, who had that name stolen by some Johnny-come-lately. It’s the quintessential NY pizza, sold by the slice and awesomely good. Slice-folding is encouraged, if not required.
RIP Neil Armstrong. Another one of the greats is gone.
Buzz in Wheeling says
FYI, the Bleecker Street Records web site sux. The links don’t work plus I got a big fat SQL server error. Crashed the site.
My bad (but not really.)
And I will second that RIP Neil Armstrong.
Phil Jett says
I get that weird sensation in my wiener region any time I climb to a height greater than 10 feet. I never thought to describe it that way, but will now for the rest of my life.
Now it comes out that of the nine people shot at the Empire State Building (aside from the perp) ALL OF THEM were shot by the cops. All of them. So the cops showed up, shot the perp and in the process shot nine other people. Fucking wow.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Sounds like a great day in NYC! The ESB is good touristy fun IMHO, and Bleecker St Records is always worth a visit. I agree that you should steer clear of the Times Square area unless you are going to a show and cannot realistically avoid it. Next time you go to the city, you might consider Rockefeller Ctr and environs as part of your city trek. Also, you might be interested in going way downtown and checking out the 911 memorial and the new tower at that location. You can walk over to the Woolworth Bldg and out onto the Brooklyn Bridge very quickly from there.
The ESB is one of those midtown Art Deco gems that I can’t get enough of. I think its fun just to walk around that part of town sometimes, and look at some of the many other buildings from that era. I have also always liked the Madison Square park area, with the Flatiron Bldg just to the south. I still think the best chicken and/or tuna salad sandwich in town is served out of that old dumpy Eisenberg’s diner located there.
…and you know: Everyone’s your friend in New York City….
Everything is beautiful
When you’re young and pretty.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
The best thing about NYC is….
you and me
Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry, Co-op City, Katz’s and Tiffany’s
Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, The Empire State where King Kong lived
Coney Island and Times Square, Rockefeller Center
Wish I was there
Here are the nice young ladies from Vancouver who wrote the song….
I would cross off “Co-Op City” from that list. It’s gotten kinda scary. But, if you do want to see a part of the Bronx, a forgotten little jewel is City Island. Best seafood at cheap prices. Beautiful area!
I’ve been to the hotel carter maybe 8 years ago. Was with the girlfriend on a barhopping excursion. Decided driving the 90 minutes north to orange county was a bad idea so we went looking for a last minute place to stay. That shithole is as bad as the reviews say it is. I felt like I’d be shot in the lobby right after the club footed hooker offered to “take both of us on”. Place is a fucking nightmare.