I Went to Visit My Daughter
I got back last night from visiting my daughter in New York City. She moved there last August when she started grad school at NYU. Before helping her find an apartment twice last summer, I had never been to the big city. The last time I went up there, I had to leave her and her roommate to continue on, hunting for that elusive inexpensive apartment. So I had no seen it yet.
Some people think that getting from JFK airport into the city is a nightmare. I found an easy way. Last time I took the AirTrain into Penn Station. That’s not so bad, but just getting to the AirTrain was a mini pain. This past week I decided to take the bus. Doesn’t hurt to try.
I flew on Delta for the first time and really enjoyed it. I know every airline has a horror story, but I didn’t have one. The flight took an hour, which is much shorter than the almost eleven hour trip I took there by Amtrak. I love trains, but a one hour round trip flight for $175 is pretty good.
As soon as I got off my flight at JFK, I immediately found the Ground Transportation sign and went outside, where I knew there would be people in bright green jackets. You pay them $12.50 and just wait for the bus to Manhattan. That simple. The bus was very clean and comfortable and the ride only seemed about thirty five minutes to Grand Central Station on 42nd Street. Sure, you could take a taxi, but it would have been $45 for the same ride, only with more people. I would have an extra $32.50 and that sounded better for me.
On this route, I was able to see new things. I saw where the old world’s fair took place. I assumed that’s what it was. I saw a huge globe and a tall structure with two flying saucer-like disks on the top. I plan to google that in a bit. I also passed several cemeteries, which I plan to write a blog about. They were amazing.
As soon as you get off in front of Grand Central Station, there is a door that says, “Subway.” I was amazed at how easy this was. I went downstairs, bought a Metro ticket for $2.50, and hopped on the Local 6 train uptown to Alex’s apartment.
“Mom, take the local 6 uptown train. It will be a green 6 with a circle around it. “
How easy. I asked a guy standing on the platform just to confirm my selection. I did make one error on my way. I was supposed to call Alex before I got on the subway so she could walk and meet me at the subway where I was to get off. When I walked to the platform to tell her that her fantastic mom was on her way, I had no bars on my cell phone. Uh oh, my bad. I didn’t think about that. So, if you go to New York, you won’t have cell phone service while underground. Well, my AT&T didn’t.
Maybe I’m the only one, but I just love riding the subway. It’s a little grimy walking down the stairs to the subway, but I love it. It’s like an adventure for me. And I love to watch people as they enter the car. One woman was sleeping. Another one was coughing up a lung. Some of the men were wearing nice suits. I always go to the shoes to see if they match the expensive suits. They did. I was having so much fun.
I called my daughter after I climbed the steps leading from the subway.
“No…You don’t have to meet me. Let me try to find your apartment. It will be like an adventure.” I laughed.
I am all about trying to do things on my own. So, off I went to find her apartment. I had already “walked” on her street with google maps, which is a fantastic tool. Just take the little man over to the map, plop him down, and you can travel on the street, veering left and right. I google walk all the time, especially vacation areas. So, I sort of knew how to get to her apartment from the subway station, but this is still New York, and it is huge.
There is a lot of construction work going on near her apartment. They are putting in a new subway line. They start at exactly 7a.m. and end at exactly 4pm. Noisy jack hammer work and the walkways are diverted through a temporary maze. And from the sign posted, it looks like this will be going on until the end of 2013. Sucks for people who don’t wake up until 8am. Well, they won’t wake up that late anymore. It’s very noisy. The walk was nice.
Fruit stands, like this one, are all over the city.
So, I had to go down, take a right, take a left, and voila, I am standing right in front of her apartment building. I am good. I walked in and had to punch a button so she can unlock the door. I have never done this before. I have watched people do it on Seinfeld and other tv shows, but I have never ever buzzed. I was excited. I walked up the one flight of stairs and she was at her opened door, welcoming me with a big smile.
She lucked out. Her apartment was small, as most New York apartments are, but hers is not teeny tiny. It has two bedrooms, a living area and eating area combined. Her kitchen is small, but hell, it has a dishwasher, so life is good. The bathroom is a nice size for NYC also. Hardwood floors. I immediately liked it. And not bad for $800 a month. I did research before we started looking at apartments and thought that she would be paying around $1,200 for her share for an upper East side apartment. She did great.
I took the 6:30am flight as we had plans to go to the Bronx Zoo. It was cold though, and thoughts of walking from cold exhibit to cold exhibit did not sound appealing. Where the hell did the promise of warm weather go? So, I told her I wanted to see her neighborhood. So, we took a walk. We went to eat lunch at Ray’s pizza, which was next to her Rite Aid and laundromat. As a mom, I liked being able to now place where these things are.
“I’m heading to the laundromat.”
I now know where that is in relation to her apartment. I have places down dark secluded back alleys, so it is nice to know I have an active imagination.
We then walked all the way up to Fifth Avenue to see the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. She runs to Central Park and then jogs around the reservoir. It’s beautiful.
Jackie Onassis Reservoir
After taking pictures of this area of Central Park, we decided to push stuff over because that’s how we roll.
Ok, just kidding. I thought the leaning lightpost made a good photo opportunity.
After walking around, petting dogs that people were walking, we ventured into the Museum of the City of New York. I don’t know. I was a bit confused. I thought I would get to see the history of New York. I wanted to follow along from the time the Dutch started the place through prohibition to the tragedy of 9/11. Instead, there was a huge exhibition of the grid system of Manhattan. And it was set up in neighborhoods, not dates. I wanted to see the history of New York. A permanent exhibit. I thought it was a waste of $16.00. But, I like going to museums. Next time, I will try another.
For dinner, she talked me into going to a Thai restaurant down the street from her apartment. I immediately balked because I am picky. But, I thought I should be more open minded. She took me to an Indian restaurant and now I like Indian food. So, we went to the Andaman Thai Bistro on 1st Avenue in Yorkville. Oh, glorious food! The shrimp/chicken dumpling was to die for! Curry puffs don’t sound so good to this picky person, but they were delicious. If you are in upper East Side and looking for a good restaurant, check it out.
We were beat by the end of the night. We went to bed early and got up to go to the Bronx zoo. She made me breakfast and off we went. We took the BxM11 express bus from 99th Street. It goes directly to the zoo. A zoo bus. It was a comfortable ride for $5.50 a person. I haven’t been to a zoo in years. I usually ended up feeling sorry for the little animal in its cage, but things have changed over the years. I was looking forward to going to this zoo, as it is the largest metropolitan zoo in the world.
It didn’t disappoint. I will be writing a blog post just on the zoo, but I will just say for now that my new camera loves the zoo.
We were at the Bronx zoo all day. It is large and most of the animals are in their natural habitat. So, we walked a lot.
We got home and went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. I wasn’t impressed, so I won’t mention where it was. We needed to be at her neighborhood bar for Trivia night. Oh, how I wish we had something like that in West Virginia. I would surely drink more. Her friends compete against other bar patrons, the winners receiving shots and drinks after the contest is over. I contributed, as I was pretty good with the “presidential hometown” category. I sucked at current events. And I knew that the Soprano’s won an emmy in 2008 for Best Drama. I didn’t even feel old or out of place and managed to sing “Hey Jude” at the top of my lungs with everyone in the bar at the end of the night. Fun times at Biddy’s Pub on 91st. It is considered an “Irish pub” because, well, it is owned by Irish people. It is itty bitty, only one room, but was packed for Trivia night. So, again, if you are looking for a pub in the upper east side, try either Biddy’s Pub or Off the Rails.
We were going to go to the “Top of the Rock” before my flight left, but my daughter found out at the last minute that she had a summer job interview, so I took off early to take pictures of Grand Central Station. I got on the bus, got on the plane, landed in Pittsburgh, and drove the 1 1/2 hours on an empty gas tank. Well, anything less than a quarter tank makes me hyperventilate. I made it back to Fairmont and went right to bed.
I am so excited that my daughter is living in New York City while attending grad school. Will she remain there after graduation? It is too early to tell. I think she would like to head elsewhere.
I can’t wait to go back after school is out in June.
New York City, I heart you.
See also New York City Subway Newbie, All Aboard Amtrak, and New York Crazy