My alarm clock unkindly lets me know that it is 4:30 in the morning, and I need to get out of bed right now, or I’ll ruin my trip to New York. I begrudgingly roll out of bed in a dark room having gone to bed just five hours before. Ah well, I catch some Zs on the bus ride to the Big Apple. I get myself together to race out of the door to begin my journey.
I’ll admit, I am a great planner, but I put this trip together rather backward. I needed to park at the train station, take a train to the bus depot, and then, I’d be on the road to New York. Like I said, a bit backward. Unfortunately, my train was delayed, which would have caused me to miss my bus. Urgh! Now what I do? Thankfully, there was one lonely cab outside of the station, and he was willing to take me to Union Station. Good thing I took out some cash the day before since he doesn’t accept credit cards. He got me to Union Station with 20 minutes to spare. Great! I have time to grab a danish and coffee before heading to my bus.
I have never taken the Megabus before, but I was familiar enough with the fleet to know which bus to look for—the blue and orange double decker. The line was long, but it went very quickly. It was a typical commuter bus albeit the second deck, which also had a sunroof. I thought that was a nice touch. I could take in the morning sun while drinking my coffee. It was also the first commuter bus I noticed that had and advocated the use of seatbelts, so two bonus points for Megabus.
The bus ride was smooth and uneventful, just how it should be. As we entered Manhattan, the sunroof allowed me to take in the height of the buildings. They appeared to tower over the bus like goliaths; I will never get used to how tall buildings are in New York. For me, they are uncomfortably tall.
The bus disembarked, and I met up with friends shortly after. I don’t have a plethora of friends, but the ones I do have I hold dear, so seeing them after a long hiatus was refreshing. We have eight precious hours to enjoy New York while enjoying the company of one another, so we’re off.
First stop, pick up the boat tour tickets from Ripley’s Believe It or Not and, then, off to the boat. As we get the tickets, we see a strange Harry Potter show. Just for sh*ts and giggles, we inquire about the show price. Oh, it is just a mere price of $300 per ticket with the matinee being a steal of only $100. Thanks, but we’ll pass. We make a beeline to the pier to find our cruise ship. It is too early to board, so we grab some sandwiches as we wait.
One is hard pressed not to notice the number of homeless people juxtaposed against the ritzy Manhattan backdrop. Where on the same street there are studio apartments starting at $1.3 million. Yes, you read that right $1.3 MILLION. But, I digress.
All aboard! They usher us to line up to begin boarding. We head to the top deck and grab some seats. I thought it might be cool on the water, but the day was sunny, so it helped to balance the coolness from the wind. Just across the water was New Jersey. Hey, New Jersey folks! The New York and New Jersey waterfronts were looking noticeably different.
The cruise was pleasant. It took us around the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island. I would have liked to stop and tour both islands, but we didn’t have enough time for that type of excursion. Enjoying the views and having great company was enjoyment enough. About an hour later, we were returned to the pier to continue our day of fun.
We headed back to Ripley’s to tour the museum. A wonky museum of doodads, thingamajigs of the eccentric, eclectic and the weird. Ripley's met my expectation of the odd cool & freaky. Shrunken heads, illusions, replicas of the tallest people, smallest cars or two-headed animals. It was awesome!
With time winding down, we decided to head to Bryant Park to chillax. The park consisted a small plot of grass surrounded by concrete walkways and bistro tables. At first, it was a bit odd not seeing people sitting in or playing on the grass, but, then it made perfect sense. Manhattan is trying to preserve what little greenspace it has, so the best park visitors can do to enjoy the grass is to look at it as if it were an animal in the zoo. Funny!
We grabbed dinner from the Whole Foods across the street. New York is one of the unique places where you’d find an organic two-story grocery store with a full restaurant and bar. Go figure. We decided to eat outside and to be like the other New Yorkers, by enjoying the grass by watching it as we sat at our bistro table.
The sun was beginning to set, and my train home would be departing soon. We packed ourselves up to head to Penn Station. The timing was perfect because I was getting tired of the throngs of people seemingly everywhere. Within ten minutes of our arrival, my train had begun to board. We said our goodbyes, and I was off. I grabbed a window seat in the quiet car, and watched the sunset as the train made its way out of New York.
It was a great trip—short, sweet and perfect. But, if only I had time to stop at Juniors for a cheesecake. Ah well, next time.
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HI. I'M AWET.
A simple soul who likes to engage the world in meaningful ways in the hopes of inspiring others.
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