October 16, 2016
This is the continuation our adventure into New York City for the day. If you haven’t seen Part I, I highly encourage you to read that section first.
After lunch, we hopped on the subway again to go a few miles up to Central Park. We stood out as tourists, especially with two school aged boys in tow in the middle of the week. “Would you like a carriage ride?” “Look, Look! I can take you to all of these wonderful places!” “Have you seen_____?” I had well learned from my inner city college days to never give eye contact or talk, but look ahead to where we were headed. It was futile. The badgering continued on. “Excuse me, excuse me…”
A firm reply to the persistent ones finally left us in peace walking past the entrance. We began to stroll along the trail to get a feel for what this place was truly like. My youngest’s eyes lit up. He was surprised to find large rock hills as we walked along. This place was more than just trees and beaten down grass. ‘Mom, can I go climb up one?” Excitedly, he ran ahead and masterfully conquered the rock in a couple of seconds. Once at the top, he stood up looking around. I could only imagine he was trying to scout out the next rock hill to take on. I am ever amazed at the amount of “fun energy” stored in a little boy for such occasion, regardless of how far we had previously walked.
We were curious to see the more of the park, but knowing a lot more walking was ahead, we cut through to Fifth Avenue. We were beginning to grow more tired as the day wore on. The boys’ attention was waining, but they were still being troopers. Unlike us adults, they had never heard of Saks Fifth Avenue, seen the movie “King Kong” (for the Empire State Building), or watch the New Year’s Ball drop from Times Square. However, they were familiar with Donald Trump and took a greater interest in going inside Trump Tower. Now, at least when Grandma says, “What do you think this is, Grand Central Station?” They will know how she is referring to the busy-ness of the place.
As time blurs my memory, certain attributes continue to stand out. Black suit coats with blue jeans and dark shoes. Ambulance sirens, constant humming of motors, buses, and construction generators. Congestion, yet personal space. Advertisement lights flashing within the shadows of skyscrapers. Cookie Monster, Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, Trump motorcade, police officers, naked women with body paint, a cowboy guitarist in just his underwear. (Where were the cops for the indecent exposure?) Pausing for the walk sign to turn versus running to beat the light change on the next block. People walking out in front of cars. Is it safe to cross? Hurry to wait.
After the Madison Square Garden, we declared ourselves done. New York City conquered in a day. We did it, or almost. We only had to navigate our way back to our truck and head to our camp in Pennsylvania. The time was 5:00 pm in Penn Station. We asked two transit workers advise us on the best way back. At least it was still fairly early and several trains should get us to where we needed to go. We boarded the first train, knowing we would need to transfer on the way back. Joel asked the conductor lady what train to take next. She directed us to get off at the next stop and take a certain number train at a certain time. Once we climbed out and checked the schedule board, we quickly realized that particular number nor time existed. Did we hear correctly? Nothing even close. Oh no. Turning to local commuters, they were all very helpful in figuring out the next course of action. Just as a different train was pulling away from the station, we then realized we missed a direct ride back to Mount Arlington. Bummer. Well, at least there was another train connection we can take and transfer again later.
We made the connection and arrived at the next station slightly closer, however, it was behind schedule by over 15 minutes. Disembarking, we quickly made our way to the schedule board. Did we make the connection to the next train or would we be sitting at the station for an hour and a half until the final train passes through? The sun was setting and it was growing darker out. Is it safe out here, wherever here is? Anxiety and thoughts about being stranded were creeping in. What if we did not make the next train connection? The board showed the train must have gone through 5 minutes before we arrived. Fortunately we found a lady headed on the same train. She reassured us the transit system would wait for any late train and it should be arriving soon. She explained that two weeks prior, a very serious train accident had occurred killing 1 and injuring over 50 people. Because of this, all the trains were rerouted and had additional stops, messing up the entire system. Sure enough a couple minutes later, the desired train arrived and we made our way back to Mount Arlington finally.
At 8:30 pm, we were at our truck and headed back to Pennsylvania. We made it to our camp after 9:30pm and went to sleep right away. We slept for over 12 hours that night. What an experience!
Until we meet again,