After more than six months living in Rugby, I had started to get used to small-town life. No traffic jams, everyone gives a friendly wave when they see you on the street.
Then suddenly I was thrown into a bizarro world last weekend when I visited New York City.
It was only my second trip to New York City. Nearly 20 years ago, when I was a junior in high school we went to Washington D.C., for a Close Up Foundation trip.
On our way back, we spent a night in New York before flying back to Minot. We barely spent a handful of hours, but what I do remember is sleeping in a hotel room not much bigger than my desk and being slightly shocked by the sight of a transvestite walking past me near Times Square. I also remember thinking it was really dirty. This was in the early 90s and before NYC had taken some major steps to improve its image.
I’d have to say that this trip didn’t have too many parallels from last time.
I stayed in midtown Manhattan, which is about as good as it gets for location. You can literally walk to almost anything you’d want to see, and if you want to check out the Lower East Side or Brooklyn, it’s just a short subway ride away.
For the most part, my travel companion and I did a lot of roaming. We started the first night with the intentions of making it to the Rockwood Music Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Traveling on foot, we made a few stops for food, drink and entertainment before deciding to head back to the hotel for the night.
We had intentions of going to Little Italy for coffee the next morning and hopped on the subway. Unfortunately, we were almost to the last stop on the northern tip of Manhattan before we realized we hadn’t hopped on the southbound train.
We eventually found our Italian coffee shop, but it took a little longer than expected. Before we turned around and headed south, we got what I would consider a rare treat that only New York could provide.
A trio of Mexican musicians hopped on the train at one stop, sang and played a song wobbling back and forth with the train, before jumping off at the very next stop.
We wanted to get back to midtown to try a lottery for a Broadway show, so we took our only cab of the weekend. Needless to say, the traffic in New York is pure insanity. Everyone drives like it’s the Daytona 500, and the cab drivers and constantly honking at anyone and everyone who they perceive to be in their way.
We hit a Cuban restaurant for lunch, and a Spanish restaurant for dinner, in between logging about a half dozen miles on foot exploring the city.
We hauled our bloated bodies and leftover paella to a club in Greenwich Village called “The Bitter End,” a place I wanted to go to because my personal hero, Bob Dylan, was known to play there.
On Sunday morning, we hit an Easter brunch at a place called “Southern Hospitality” in Hell’s Kitchen, which is co-owned by Justin Timberlake, and enjoyed some bluegrass music.
The music was great, and I had an eggs benedict southern style, with beef brisket instead of ham, and fried green tomatoes in place of the English muffin. Not too shabby!
Final stop of the day was at Coney Island. It was a little chilly, but it was fun to walk the boardwalk, which is a popular movie location spot.
It was a quick trip and I was back in North Dakota on Sunday. This trip was much more memorable than my first, but it’s good to be back in the land of no traffic and friendly waves.
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