Over the weekend, I went up to New York. The reason for the trip was to visit Yankee Stadium, and take it off of my list of MLB ballparks, which I can happily say that such was mission accomplished. Otherwise, the rest of the trip was more or less a whirlwind of cabs, trains, booze, chicken fingers and cash flying out of windows.
I guess it could be said that I had a pretty New York experience, and I have no regrets about anything. I look back at the weekend fondly, and naturally I’m writing about it now, which says something too.
As for Yankee Stadium, I’ll get more in depth of what I thought about the place as a whole when I write about it for my ballparks page, but when my friend and I had planned the dates out for this trip, we didn’t even think for a second about the fact that this was the start of Derek Jeter’s final homestand. Not that either of us are remotely close to being Yankee fans, I have to admit that is something cool about having been there for a little bit of what people are perceiving as somewhat historic. Needless to say, tickets were pricey and the crowds were massive, for what essentially were games between two non-contenders, and I thought the vaunted Yankee Stadium was pretty okay, overall.
But it’s really the city experience which made me feel like writing, because as much as I like to imagine myself as a fairly well-traveled individual that can kind of fit in anywhere I want to fit into, it’s places like New York, that as cliché as it may sound, make you think that you had to have been here more than a handful of times before you can really not feel so out-of-place.
Long story short, the biggest lesson learned about New York is that asking cabbies to go from one borough to another is the equivalent of asking them to drive across the ocean to Zimbabwe. But for enough money, they’ll still do it.
It came to a surprise for me when my friend and I hopped into a cab in Queens, and asked to go to Grand Central Station, only to be met with a dumbfounded look, and then being asked for an actual address. At first, I thought he was kidding, but then he was queueing up the address input on his GPS, and I realized that he was serious. It didn’t occur to me this was because he was a Queens cabbie, and going to Manhattan was like asking him to go from Italy to France.
The same thing happened again later, when I asked a Manhattan cabbie to take me to Queens, and was met with incredulous resistance, and then an eventual compromise to simply take me back to Penn Station, upon realizing that my end goal was to end up at a Long Island Railroad station, since my friend and I were staying way the fuck out in Long Island. And then it was at Penn Station where the most costly of lessons was learned, which was that after a certain point at night, the LIRR reduces their service to large gaps of time, and when we arrived, the next scheduled departure was at 4:53 a.m., with an estimated arrival time of 6:35 a.m. So we ended up negotiating with a cabbie to take us back to Long Island for like the cost of a Sega Genesis in 1995. Ultimately, it ended up being worth it, considering by the time we got back to my friends’ uncle’s place, the LIRR would have departed, saving us basically two hours in which we could get some rest.
But all of it adds to the narrative on what I thought turned out to be an awesome trip overall. I accomplished my main priority in checking Yankee Stadium off of my list, but on top of that, I had a great time road tripping with a friend, met up with some other friendly faces, and had a stereotypical New York City night of bar hopping, Asian Karaoke, 3 a.m. pizza, and then getting stranded in the city until springing for the most expensive cab ride ever.
All to the soundtrack of a butchering of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York.