Last week a good friend of mine, S., who lives in TX called to chat, mentioning she’d be traveling to NYC for the week with her adult daughter. Miracles of miracles, her trip north coincided with the one free weekend, nothing on the calendar, I had for the next couple of months. So, Tom and I hopped the Accela this weekend for a trip to Manhattan!
It was a BLAST! We all had so much fun!
We haven’t seen each other in person for I think bordering on 5 years now, but it didn’t matter. We catch up on the phone frequently, and she is such a hoot. Tom and her guide dog, Estrea, seemed to remember each other instantly, again despite not having seen each other in years, they both thoroughly enjoyed the trip as well.
So where to start, well let’s start at my roll the eyes ‘Still the same’ experiences of Penn Station. Penn Station is a hive of a station that I have a very, very, very tenuous understanding of it’s layout. As such I requested Red Cap assistance upon arrival to help me figure out how to get to street level. Red Cap assistance consisted of, “You can do elevator?” yes. “Here” as person shoves me onto the up escalator (which by the way isn’t an elevator, you know. 2 totally different pieces of machinery). I get to the top of the escalator. Red Cap person has disappeared, and I am definitely not at street level. I ask a fellow passenger, some Australians who have as little clue as I do. Then on a stroke of “Trust the dog” I say to Tom, “Tom, find outside, outside, find outside.” This is one of those parts of guide dog relationships that always amazes me. I have no freaking clue where ‘outside’ is. Tom hasn’t been in Penn Station in at least 4-5 years, and yet I ask, “Find outside” and he takes off with purpose. Brings me to an escalator, we go up, he takes me through a crowd, weaves around a bit, before choosing another path with purpose, up another escalator then magically we are indeed outside at street level just where we need to be. Granted, he sometimes does take liberties with this level of trust, as you’ll see later in our adventure, but for the most part he uses his skills for good.
After making our way to our hotel and meeting up with my friend, S. in a mass of excited wagging dogs and hugging humans, we decided to brave the on and off rain so she could show me some of the surrounds. S. has traveled to and through NYC significantly more than I as her daughter comes up a couple of times a year for her work and S. often tags along for vacation.
We visited St Patrick’s Cathedral where there was a mass taking place. The organ music was beautiful. The priest’s homily made me smile, he was a character.
We walked around Rockefeller Center with the skating rink and fountains.
Then off to the Roosevelt House for a tour. Which was fantastic. I highly recommend. The tour guide was awesome. He clearly loved the history, was a great story teller, and incredibly knowledgeable. A very fascinating historical place to visit.
Sunday we went to The Met for a while. Tom is not fond of museums. He’s about as fond of them as he is shopping. Which is to say on his list of places he’d like to go, they are pretty much lower than low. He would prefer we either go or we stop, the museum travel of stop go stop go stop go he thinks is nonsense.
So when S. and I reached a point of disorientation and confusion, Tom saw his chance. He knew we had no idea where we were or how to get where we wanted in the museum, so he took off with purpose. As he’s usually rather honest, and I’ve learned if he takes off with purpose to trust him and follow his lead. He was very tricky though so not to be found out. Just thinking about it I’m sitting here laughing as I type. He weaves us through crowds, turns through a few galleries, is working methodically, he’s not in any rush, he’s working like he does when he’s comfortably on task, yet the whole time unbeknownst to me at the moment, he’s trying to pull the wool over my eyes of where he really is taking us. Again I’m laughing right now as I type. As next thing we know, I realize “No! He’s taken us to the exit!!” LOL Which is of course where he’d rather go, he wants us to leave this boring place! I tell him as I try not to laugh, “No, we’re not leaving. Around!” He sighs. Turns around, and with obvious displeasure leads me back into the main hall of the museum. Nice try buddy, nice try. I commend your efforts and attempt.
Lunch on Sunday, let’s just say Google Reviews did not disappoint! S. has a very similar diet to me, and gluten free is a requirement. She found this place Senza Gluten in the West Village through Google, and we figured we’d give it a try. Oh. My. Gosh. it was fantastic. Food was delicious. I haven’t had tiramisu in years. It was to die for. Seriously. So good! S. had GF veggie pizza with goat cheese for her main meal, again fantastic. I had pasta with meat sauce, super good. We each pilfered from the other, both of our plates were excellent.
Despite the rain, we decided to walk some of the way back from lunch. Which was fun. We had a general orientation direction of where we needed to move towards, but everything else was rather fuzz. We decided to go for it and that’s why there is the backup of GPS and the beauty of smartphones. As we were walking through the West Village, I suddenly felt like I was in Boston. Then we moved through an area that felt like Quincy. And I realized, why on Saturday I had felt so disoriented as a whole in the areas of Manhattan we had traveled in that day. Those areas didn’t smell like a city. How that is possible, I have no clue. They smelt of nothing. Surrounded by nonstop bumper to bumper traffic, noise, rain, construction, and people, the streets smelt of nothing. It was the weirdest thing. No smell of exhaust, no smell of welding, no smell of dirt, or humans. The smell of nothing. Yet we get to the West Village and I instantly felt at home, it smelled like a city, like Boston. It was the weirdest thing. A city that had no odor. Very disorienting.
A few hours later found Tom and I back at Penn Station to start our travels home. Where 15 minutes before our train was due to arrive, the announcement that “Due to power outages in Penn Station, all trains are delayed.” I had to laugh. How is that possible? In the major train hub in the middle of down town NYC, how can there be power outages to the point that every single train is delayed, ending in most of the local ones being canceled and Amtrak trains being delayed close to 1.5 hours? It was comical. The new station a couple of passengers around me were discussing sounds like it can’t be built soon enough. Regardless we made it home safe and sound, after a fantastic trip and visit.