Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 07 January 2011 00:00
On a recent holiday trip to New York City with my beautiful wife Lorraine, we were confronted by a few problems, which we overcame by sheer fortitude.
Let me explain.
We took the Long Island Rail Road because we saw on TV that the streets had not completely recovered from the most recent devastating snow and windstorm. We were going to visit my son Gregg, who lives on 83rd Street near Park Avenue.
As we emerged from the bowels of Penn Station onto 7th Avenue, we were shocked and disillusioned. The taxi lines were almost two blocks long on both 7th Ave. and 8th Avenues. What to do? What to do?
We decided to walk eastward to Madison Avenue and either get a cab or take the bus. Avenue blocks going east were much shorter than blocks going north. Every cab was either taken or the drivers were going off duty.
We jumped on a Madison Avenue bus and thought we were saved, but we didn’t have a Metro Card. The driver refused my paper money and stated “Only coins or Metro Cards accepted.” A puzzlement! An enigma!
Thinking quickly, I spied a nice lady and offered her $5 to loan us her Metro Card for two swipes, worth $2.25 each. She stood to make 50 cents on the deal. She assented, and we sat down for a 49-block bus ride to 83rd Street. Outside, it was freezing and windy, but on the bus we were snug and comfortable. A case of NY smarts!
After our lovely visit with Gregg and his family, we had to return to Penn Station. We jumped into a cab at 83rd and Park Avenue and headed south. The drive was just fine when the cabby decided to try 5th Ave., a bad move. Hundreds of yellow cabs crowded the avenue. We sat in one place for 10 minutes and the cab advanced just one car-length. The meter rang up $3 as we sat helpless and did not move. I handed the driver $10, and we left his cab.
We walked about 12 short blocks and stopped a Pedi-cab. He said “$30 to Penn Station!” I said “$15 to Penn Station.” We compromised on $20 to Penn Station.
The driver was Turkish, and he said in broken English “I am from Izmir, Turkey, but New York is crazy city!” We spoke with him as he peddled furiously down Broadway.
We arrived safely at Penn Station and we gave him $22. On the train to Hicksville, we chuckled at our day in NYC. We had faced the rigors of a wintry day in the big city. We were now heading home to the safety of the suburbs.