When a friend of ours was organizing a travel group to New York City, we signed up with aggressive abandon. For a small fee we could ride a charter bus into the city, spend the day seeing the sights, and then ride back to the rural life in sweet blissful euphoria.
A few things worth noting at this point are that the bus left from New Castle, PA--a bladder challenging four-and-a-half hour drive from our home. The bus left New Castle at midnight Saturday morning. After six-and-a-half hours of drifting in and out of sleep to the sensation of our bus careening down a mountain, we pulled up at East 42nd and Madison Avenue where we were left to fend for ourselves until 8pm that night. Of course, the same bus-ride-of-terror awaited us, but got us home safely in New Castle at just past 3:30 am Sunday morning. This experience was fueled by a passion for the city, and a zealous disregard for sleep, and several liters of Starbucks.
To bring this trip full circle, we will drive another six-and-a-half hours to Indianapolis where our children are being boarded, then two hours home to Fort Wayne on Monday evening.
So why did we do this? Because my wife and I love an adventure. She'd been to NYC a few times, but this was my first. And we've decided that if either of us ever say we're too old to do something, then we have permission to slap that person in the mouth and tell them "No!"
Enough with all the rhetoric; let's get down to my main observations of The Big Apple.
1. It's really a lot like a theme park. But instead of a roller coaster at the end of the line, there's a toilet.
2. Incidentally, Greenwich Village is a horrible place to have to pee...unless you live there, I suppose.
3. Parts of it reminded me of other cities I'd visited, such as Taichung, Taiwan, and Belgrade, Serbia.
4. You're never more than 15 steps away from a Starbucks, or a fortune teller. We exploited the former.
5. Did you know Central Park has mountains in it? I did not know that. But it's true. I wanted to climb them, but I had to pee--a direct correlation with number 4.
6. Driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, I couldn't help but think about a scene from Stephen King's The Stand. Driving past several vacant lots in Manhattan, on the other hand, I couldn't help but think about several scenes in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
7. I'm pretty sure I saw Colin Farrell outside Rockefeller.
8. Apple earbuds are a popular hipster accessory.
9. While we didn't see Lady Liberty, we did see several people dressed like her.
10. The subway is pretty cool.
I think ten is a good place to stop. All in all, it was awesome. I already can't wait to go back. I'm just hoping for a better bus driver.
But now I've said too much.