Mar 2014
Bobby Becker

Surviving New York City (pt. 2)

Bobby continues sharing his adventures in the Big Apple

After a quick power nap, we were starving and what better to eat than some delicious New York pizza! We left our hotel and started to walk the short distance but quickly withdrew when faced with a temperature in the 30s and high wind speeds. We weren’t making it on foot so we returned to the hotel and asked them to call us a taxi. The taxi took us to the restaurant, which was a little less than a mile from the hotel. The driver said the total bill was “sixty dollars.” After asking for some clarification, Ryan and I discovered he was actually saying “sixteen” but his New York accent was interfering with the pronunciation. Sixteen still was pretty steep for a mile ride but whatever.

Some quality New York Pizza

Some quality New York Pizza.

After demolishing a 16″ pizza, we needed a way to get to the nearest subway station. A taxi was clearly out of the question due to the high fee associated with the prior experience. So the city bus was our alternative. We braved the cold and waited as numerous other buses passed by on the cross street. Our bus finally arrived after about 20 minutes of waiting in the cold. We attempted to board but found out credit cars and cash were not acceptable forms of payment. We had to either have coins or a prepaid metro card. The bus driver realized we were not from New York and a kind gentleman on the bus paid our fare. Well, he paid one of them anyway but the bus driver said not to worry about the other one.

We then reached the subway station to head towards Manhattan. We paid our fare and made a train transfer. It was obvious we were from out of town and a nice couple on the bus asked us where we were headed and assured us we would be there shortly. Arriving at Penn Station was a very overwhelming experience. It is pretty much the center hub of the whole subway operation. There were so many different ways to exit and we were never quite sure where we were going. Tons of restaurants, shops, and everything else you can imagine as well as numerous Amtrak trains. We followed the signs for Madison Square Garden and finally we exited a set of doors and it was waiting on the other side of the street. It truly felt like a miracle.

The world's most famous arena.

Madison Square Garden: the world’s most famous arena.

We made our way to our seats way up in the mezzanine. It was a great view of the arena but the only downside is we couldn’t see the scoreboard. After sitting for a few moments, a lady came up to us and asked if we were interested in a seat upgrade. Naturally I responded by asking if it was free. The moment she said yes we popped up out of our seats and made our way to lower bowl! She gave us free t-shirts and we appeared on GARDENVISION during the first timeout. After Creighton’s 84-62 win over DePaul we headed back to the subway, then took a taxi the rest of the way to our hotel. A busy day called for some much needed sleep.

One World Trade center standing tall for freedom.

One World Trade center standing tall for freedom.

The next day was pretty chilly but we met up with Annemarie and ventured to the 9/11 Memorial. Unfortunately, we were unable to actually see the memorial because it required advanced tickets. We admired the beauty of the new tower and headed to Central Park. I mistakenly got us on an express route on the subway and we ended up miles north of the park. A gentleman on the train asked us where we were headed and told us how to get there. He then welcomed us to “the express train.” We finally made it to the park and explored a small portion before we had to head to Creighton’s semi-final game.

Once the game concluded, we immediately headed for the subway. It was approaching midnight and we knew the subways ran less frequently has it got later. After dealing with planned service on the train we needed to take, we finally made it to the last station. We then waited and waited for a city bus to arrive to take us back to our hotel. We waited nearly twenty minutes for it to come. It drove right passed us without even stopping. I was very angry and started running after it. The bus never stopped and we ended up calling a taxi instead.

In my next and final post about New York, I’ll wrap up my trip and share my takeaway on such a big city.