NYC - Day 1 :: Friday
Well.. After getting a somewhat late start at about 1800, we finally arrived at our hotel in New York City.
We ended up not taking the PA turnpike but followed Interstate 80 across the state and the directions given to us by AAA. This would turn out to be a mistake. Driving I80 wasn’t bad. We stopped at a McDonalds for a late dinner around 2130 and went back on our way toward newark. Once we got off I80 is when the problems started. We became increasingly confused over the directions given, ended up making a few wrong turns that had us end up in the slum section of Newark. Oh yeah, and we were pretty much out of gas and frantically trying to find a gas station that was open at 0100 on a Saturday morning. We tried to stop at some gas stations off of 280, but the pumps were shut off for the night. Is there no way to get gas at night anymore?
Anyways.. So there we were driving somewhat aimlessly through the slums of Newark, past projects and shady-looking characters while looking for a gas station. I knew pretty much how close we were to running out because of my record keeping. We decided to follow the hospital signs that were around just to get to someone who could give us directions to gas. Suddenly, at the top of a hill while we were getting closer to the hospital, there was a gas station. We turned into it, a full service pump, and a very nice gentleman began filling up our pump. I then asked him if he could give us some directions. He not only saved us from breaking down in the middle of a not-so-great part of town, but also saved us when it came to finding our way. While he was giving us directions, some lady came up and asked me for change, so I gave her what amounted to maybe $0.75 just to get her to leave and get her coffee/crack/whatever. But in the end, I forgot to tip the man who saved the day. I feel very, very bad about it and I kind of want to go back and give him something for helping us.
So after we got back on track, hit up the Jersey turnpike again and got onto 440, we ended up on Victory Blvd. This is the road which leads directly down to the ferry. But since I’d only been there on wheels once before, I wanted to check to make sure this was the right path, so I called my friend Ed who helped us get down to the ferry. With a little bit more confusion at the parking lot and a lot attendant sleeping on the job, we were parked and on our way to the Staten Island ferry on foot.
After the ferry ride, we made landfall and hailed a cab to take us to the hotel since I’m not familiar with this end of town. The man sounded as if he knew very little English and acted as if he knew even less about the city. It took us about four U-turns and maybe three times of us re-stating where we were going: The Holiday Inn, Wall Street. Which is on Gold Street. I’ll give him some credit that it’s a confusing name and address, but it really wasn’t all that far from the ferry after all and we could have probably walked to it in the same amount of time or a little more. One high point of the taxi trip was when we got stopped behind this driver in a back alley who was getting into a heated argument with people outside the car. Voices were raised, death threats were given. Great fun. After they finally scurried off, we got to our hotel.
We reserved a hotel for 2 people (to save money) with one queen-sized bed, but we were able to get a room with two single beds for the same amount of money. We got up to our room and I ordered two days worth of internet connectivity through their lan for $9.00 a night. Not bad, I suppose. So here I am; Sleeping on the floor, typing this entry up. I will have a bed tomorrow night. I swear to it.