Glimpsing out our train’s family room window I watched as, complete with the new World Trade building’s opening that morning, the New York City skyline slowly became swallowed in a hazy mist of shrinking horizon created by the furthering distance of miles. I folded shut the book I had planned to immerse myself in, as I thought back over our last few whirlwind days as classic tourists in the Big Apple. Well, maybe we weren’t quite the classic tourists.
Having arrived for our NYC Memorial Day, we did our usual debates of whose spectacular tourist site should be first. Our parents won on a technicality, ours weren’t open yet. By afternoon, my little brothers’ heightened sense of anticipation could be visually observed with each bouncier step they took as they neared their destination, the floating museum at pier 86, The Intrepid Carrier.
While standing in line, in what we came to think of as true New Yorker hospitality, a gentleman informed us that with such a large family group we should go to pier 92 to see a similar carrier for free, instead of the nearly $200 anticipated. A visiting Naval carrier was on display for touring, along with photo shoot opportunities with crew members.
By evening, I was borrowing some of my brothers’ tigger bounce, nearly dragging their protesting bodies ever closer to my destination, the NYC Philharmonic. Technically, it was at the St John Divine Cathedral and only for an hour, but I was going and for FREE because of the New Yorker hospitality of the director, Alan Gilbert. Heart in hand, I was transported on a journey to a world only I could traverse.
The next day, we took in the tastes, sights and thrills of Coney Island before heading to my brother’s birthday celebration at the Ninja New York Cafe. Touristy or entertaining, perhaps, but for one night we had Ninja Power. Proudly sporting his ninja headband, he jabbed and swerved (ninja style) while my sister ran to the restroom before leaving.
Deciding to blend with New York, we grabbed the C subway. As we pulled up to our stop, my sister let out a gasp of agony. She had inadvertently left her cell phone on a shelf above the sink at Ninja New York. Joining Mom, my sister and I grabbed Subway C to go back for the phone. After explaining what had happened to a lady riding beside us, she informed us that Subway C North does not have the same stops as Subway C South.
Still in uniform, she offered to direct us towards the correct street. Accompanying us, she explained we were passing the fire station used for a Ghost Busters filming shot. Then she tenaciously inquired if we had enough fare to get back on the Subway.
As we explained our intent to purchase more before re-boarding, she let a bomb drop- we couldn’t purchase tickets at this end of the subway. My sister’s eyes welled up with tears as she sobbed it was all her fault. Displaying her New Yorker kindness, our helper attempted to give us her fare card as my equally persistent mom handed her some money before we parted ways.
Through my NYC experiences, I saw the dissolving of the myth that the New Yorker attitude is cold and harsh when dealing with others. I encountered only a New Yorker attitude of patiently helping out some non-typical tourists over and over again on my trip, but I’ll save the rest of the story for another time.
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