[the flatiron building - just a few streets from my new place]
It’s only been a week since I moved to New York, but I feel I’m already learning a lot. Like apparently, when people vacate your apartment, they take the air conditioner with them and replace the hole it leaves in the wall with what appears to be a cookie sheet. Also, in case anyone is wondering, it takes less time to go buy a screwdriver at the drugstore than to try and assemble complex bathroom shelving using your house key. In addition, using the house key for too long before realizing this may induce severe frustration and crying on the floor.
Or so someone told me.
But really, the past five days have been a whirlwind. I’ve already been to a trendy art gallery, a friend’s DJ show, and a delightful array of restaurants and bars. If you’re totally jealous, you should feel better knowing that my furniture has still not arrived and I’m currently residing on an air mattress that slowly deflates in the night. So there’s that.
[beautiful view of the chrysler building from one end of my block]
I also had my first catastrophic Subway experience yesterday on the way to visit a friend who lives in Brooklyn.
I was coming from Queens (which is weird on its own), so I called in the assistance of Google Maps to guide my journey. Get on the G train – it’s only steps from where you are now, and it will take you directly to your destination if you sit on it for long enough, it told me.
So I go to the G-train, but the conductor tells me I should get on the train that says it’s going the opposite direction I want to go, and it will take me where I want to go. Because that makes sense. I get on anyway, and it turns out he was right, it is going the direction I need it to. So I kick my feet up and wait to arrive.
But five stops in, this other conductor gets on the loudspeaker and tells us all to get off, or we’re going back to Queens.
Now let’s be clear – Queens is not a place I wanted to go back to as the sun was setting. So I get off and follow everyone to a train across the platform.
[even better view of the empire state building from the other end of my block]
“Is this going the same way we were going before?” I ask a man sitting down reading a book about mythical star creatures.
“Yeah,” he responds.
“Why is this so confusing?” I ask
“The G train is just fucked,” he replies. “It goes between two boroughs nobody cares about.”
He goes back to reading his book about star creatures, which apparently hold far more importance to him than both Brooklyn and Queens. I look at the pictures over his shoulder as we ride.
3 stops later, a third conductor gets on the intercom.
“Everybody off,” he tells us. “You can take the A or the C train from here.”
What in the fuck, I think. I start to follow mythical star creature man, but soon realize he’s not going to my friend’s house in Brooklyn. Google Maps didn’t say anything about using the A or the C. I try and consult it, but there’s no service in the station. As an added bonus, I see that my phone is dying.
After checking out the map, I see that this is the absolute closest any train at this station will get me to my stop. I resolve to suck it up and catch a cab the rest of the way.
But when I get out of the subway, there are no cabs to be found. There are people, but they don’t look very friendly. One of them is sitting on a street light screaming at what must have been some kind of imaginary friend. Another is lecturing someone over the phone, and I temporarily fear for whoever is on the other line.
Even though Google Maps and I are in a fight, I decide it’s my only way out. It identifies an alternate train station about four blocks away. I walk as fast as my legs will carry me, saying every Catholic prayer I can remember from Sunday school that my phone lives another five minutes and that no one decides they’d like to eat me.
As I made it to the station, I made a few important life decisions. First, I will never take the G train again. Second, I will buy an emergency battery for my phone. Third, I will carry extra food to hand out to screaming homeless people in hopes that they won’t eat me instead.
So yeah. It’s been an experience. Stay tuned for more tales, and definitely some food, later in the week.