Allyn and Trinity in my old bedroom
The first time I ever went to New York
was in June 2005, two months before I started working for an airline. I thought I might never go there again, so I took lot of pictures of things like railroad tracks and acted like a tourist. It was also what you might call a TravBuddy success story, minus the fact that TravBuddy did not exist at the time. You see, many years ago, before the invention of the term "blog," I wrote what we then called "a web page" which today would probably be called a left wing blog. It still exists out there somewhere, but I don't like to tell people where it is, as I am afraid I might be fired from my job if anyone were to discover it. But I digress! It was a pretty successful web page, and I met a group of friends who were also web page authors because of it, many of whom I have since befriended "in real life" and all of who I still consider my friends regardless of having met in person.
Nobody steps on a church in my town!
One of these people was my friend Allyn (who for years I had called Alan, but eventually came to find out was actually uh-lyn). It was May of 2005, and the two of us spent our time at our then respective office jobs, e-mailing one another back and forth about topics like boys, American Idol, and chinese food. One day, I was planning my trip to Boston, when I suddenly decided that I was indeed going to New York during this trip as well. "I'm coming to New York!", I wrote, "I'm going to sleep on your floor!". "You're coming to New York!", she replied, "You're going to sleep on my floor!"
And so, Trinity and I bought some train tickets and packed a backpack (and Trinity's stroller, that's how little she was!) for our side trip out of Boston, to New York City.
The Ghostbusters Firehouse!
The man who took my tickets on the train asked me if I was running away. What he didn't know is that I already ran away nine months ago, and this was simply one more way of distancing myself from my marriage. The train arrived at Penn Station and Allyn had told me she would meet me on the platform. At first, I didn't know if I would recognize her. The train was going slower and slower into the station, and Trinity and I were looking out the windows to see if we could find Allyn. Suddenly, she appeared in my window and I yelled out "There she is!" and I knocked on the window. It was hilarious because she saw me at the same time and she knocked back and started chasing the train, and people on the train were laughing at us. We got off the train and Trinity said "What's that smell?" Allyn said "I don't smell anything.
" And I said "That's New York."
The first thing I saw in NYC was a man crawling across the ground. It was weird because earlier that week, I saw a story about him on CNN. He was crawling across Manhattan on his hands and knees as a spiritual quest because it was the equivalent of climbing a mountain. I don't remember the details because it was so long ago. I just found it very strange that I was in the biggest city in America and the first guy I see is this guy I had seen on the news only hours earlier, crawling across the street. We headed back to Allyn's apartment and it was raining, and of course, I had no umbrella. But we had to go to K-Mart anyway, to buy myself and Trinity a quilt and a sheet so we could sleep on Allyn's hardwood floor! Hahaha.
That's as close as I got got, like I'm going to wait in line for three hours!
To this day it remains the craziest thing I've ever done. But as I said in the first paragraph, at the time, I thought I might never get to see NYC otherwise. We bought a Simpsons comforter as our mattress and a sheet to use as a blanket because it was really hot. It was not until we got home that we realized we had accidentally bought a fitted sheet. So there we were. A hardwood floor, a blanket, a fitted sheet and no pillows. Let me tell you, New York City was fabulous so far!
For dinner, we went to Mars 2112, which is a space themed restaurant for tourists and/or small children. It was actually really neat, for a one time visit. I do not recall the food being good. Or bad, which is good, because believe me, I remember when I've eaten bad food. You enter via a "spaceship" where you watch a movie with cartoon aliens and then exit on the opposite end, where you end up underground into a world of alien waiters.
That night Trinity fell asleep on the hardwood relatively early. Trinity could sleep on a bed of nails and not wake up for ten hours. I envy her, I am also glad she has this ability, because I can take her anywhere and she will get a good night's rest. I, on the other hand, can drink large amounts of caffeine. I do not believe I slept at all that first night, and I'm sure when Allyn's roommate walked in in the middle of the night, she looked at a body covered up with a sheet next to a small snoring child and thought "WTF."
The next day, we saw Ground Zero, Battery Park, and that bull statue that tourists like to take pictures in front of. But our main venture was Central Park. Allyn wanted to show me the John Lennon memorial and also, I'm a tourist! The most exciting part of this was that as we were walking along Central Park West, I spotted it.
Trinity in Central Park
Dana Barrett's apartment building! I should interrupt the story here to also explain that one of the main reason why Allyn and I became such good friends is that we are both obsessed with the movie Ghostbusters. When she moved to New York, I made her swear that she would never go to the Ghostbusters firehouse without me. Anyway, back to the building! I saw it entirely on my own, that's how much of a Ghostbusters nerd I am. It was unmistakable, at least to my eyes. I immediately took a million pictures of it, and then called my sister to tell her I was standing right there in front of the building, right there in the exact spot where the dog statue ran out and almost tackled the doorman who said "A bear in his apartment!" And guess what else, the church next door, the one the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man steps on, and Peter yelled "Nobody steps on a church in my town!"? The name of that church is Trinity Church! The world revolves around me, obviously.
oh, how cliche!
We proceeded on through the park, went to the zoo there, to the memorial, and to a playground which I recognized as being the same playground in which they filmed a scene from the 1970's classic show Free To Be You And Me.
But it gets better than that! I believe I actually slept that night, by some miracle. And the next day, we found out the exact location of our mecca: the Ghostbusters firehouse! It is a real firehouse and is still currently being used. I understand this is insanely dorky, but I truly love Ghostbusters, and seeing the firehouse was amazing to me, and I was glad to have another person there with me who understood it's significance. I loved being able to see it, and stand in the street, right in the same spot where Egon yelled "Your mother!" to Walter Peck, of the Environmental Protection Agency.
A urinal. I mean, a NYC subway car.
At the time we got there, there was no one home, nor was there a fire truck parked inside. This was either good or bad. It was bad because I would have liked to go inside. It was good because if they had been there, I would have gone inside, and surely made a complete ass out of my myself. Anyway, it is still one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my travels, seriously.
The funniest part of this trip to New York was going inside the Toys R Us, and reading the names of the Cabbage Patch Kids. I always enjoy reading the names of Cabbage Patch Kids. I remember when they first came out and their whole marketing thing was that no two Cabbage Patch Kids were alike. But then they made billions of them, and so, the only thing that separated any of them were their names.
Now, they've run out of names, so they have ridiculous first and middle name combinations. So there I am, in the Toys R Us in Times Square, and I see her. Ashanti Karen, the whitest girl in the cabbage patch. This name was absolutely hysterical to me, and I was literally rolling on the floor laughing. I mean, Ashanti is not what I would call a white girl's name, and Karen is my sister's name, so the two names together put me into a fit of hysterics. I actually began crying it was so joyful to me. Alas, I could not buy her, because it was too much crap too lug all the way back to Boston.
I have since returned to NYC, but I have never found a funnier Cabbage Patch Kid.