Welcomed to New York, Gifted with a Reminder
Since I was in fifth grade, I can remember always wanting to go to New York City. Through all the phases of my life, New York had been a constant. In middle school, I wanted to be a fashion buyer. My room was filled with fashion magazines and I even had a binder full of my favorite advertisements and snipped together outfits I created. The original pinterest, if you will. In middle school, I remember kids making fun of my clothes and my dreams all through school. ‘You’re not gonna be a dumb fashion designer!’ one kid screamed at me in English class. The teacher, who for some reason had a distaste for a 11 year old (that being myself), allowed this boy to continue. I corrected him, ‘No, fashion buyer. I choose the clothes for the company to sell.’ He said he didn’t care. I wasn’t going anywhere. I was dumb for thinking any different. He obviously did care. I think that he was concerned that a kid his age was so passionate about something and he wasn’t yet. I went on to read the gossip girl novels. Surprisingly, they were set in New York. Although I still dreamed of a big life, that little boy’s words made me stop dressing so nice and bringing my binder of dreams to school. I admit, I wanted to being the laugh of the class anymore.
Gossip Girl became a tv series, then there was Devil Wears Prada, Maid in Manhattan, so many of my favorite movies and shows were based out of this place I was longing to go to. My senior year, I decided to home school to finish the year quicker. My mom said since I wouldn’t have a senior trip, we would go to NYC. We went to Chicago instead. I look back and it’s like I was constantly NOT allowed to go to the ONE place I wanted so badly to explore. My recent trip to NYC was no different….
My husband Jonathan and I will be together for TEN years on March 1st and as part of a Valentine’s/Anniversary combo, he surprised me with a trip to NYC. He knew going to NYC was a bucket list moment for me. He funded it all, planned every bit… even a really special dinner too. But two days before our trip, our 8 year old got the flu. The day of the trip, our son got the flu. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t even get mad that they were so sick but I knew the flu was coming for me. The trip was non refundable… so we took a chance and went to NYC anyways.
The day of our flight, I couldn’t tell if I was nervous or getting sick. I was nauseous. I couldn’t eat. But I truly thought I was so excited to go and was talking myself out of this being a flu symptom. We had two flights to get to JFK Airport and when we finally got to the hotel. Once we got there, I was ready for a shower and food. But when we got out on the street and started walking, I started to feel sick. I had fatigue that I had not felt since my first pregnancy, my stomach was such a mess and my chest was BURNING and felt like I had five cinder blocks on my chest. We got to Grand Central Station and walked around for five minutes and had to go back to the hotel. That whole walk felt like a blur. I remember bits and pieces. The ceiling of the station lit up with the mural, homeless men growling at me, and droves of people.
The next day was spent in the hotel. That whole night into the next day was AWFUL. It wasn’t until day three where I thought I might be better, or at least well enough to see ONE thing on the trip. We had so many plans. Ellis Island, Chelsea Market, Little Italy, Trump Ice Cream Parlor… We chose the closest thing to see first, Times Square which was about 5 blocks from the hotel. We took the walk slow because my chest was still burning but I did feel a TON better. Times Square was just, surreal. You just see so many pictures of it over your lifetime that when you’re standing there, filling the neon lights glow on your face, you aren’t really sure if it’s real or if you’ve dreamt it up.
For the situation we were dealt, we made the trip what we could make it. To make this a bit faster to read, here are some highlights of other parts of the trip:
BUY FROM THE CRACKHEAD:
When we were in Times Square, a guy was selling tickets to a comedy show. I was BEYOND cautious to go to some random comedy club with tickets a guy was selling on the street. Jonathan of course bought the cheap $30 tickets and we ended up walking up this dark stairwell into an actual comedy club with a bunch of other people. You had to buy to drinks and for someone with a dry sense of humor, the show was actually really good. So, if some crackhead looking guy offers you tickets, buy them.
Our hotel bellman usually got our cabs for us. All of our cab rides were good except ONE. The day we were flying back, a cab driver went 35 THE ENTIRE DRIVE from Manhattan to JFK. People were flying by us right and left, honking and cursing… it was awful! So after the ride, we pull up and start getting out and the cab driver’s credit card system isn’t working. He forced Jon to try SEVEN times, getting snippy about it. I ended up having to become a bitch. I said ‘Listen dude, your fucking machine doesn’t work!’ He yelled at me ‘Go inside to ATM!’. Jon then tried to use his app system. That wouldn’t work either. Jon had a $100 and asked for change and the guy said he didn’t have any (WHO HERE WANTS TO BELIEVE HE DIDN”T HAVE CHANGE?! Yeahhhh rightttt!) So I pulled out all my cash Jon didn’t know I had and I said ‘Here you go. $61.02 and fuck your tip! This guy was beyond rude, shoving and yelling… like hell I was going to give him a tip! So, be sure to have cash on you and beware of sheisty cab drivers!
Our hotel’s food service was so expensive. We explored different delivery options while sick since we couldn’t walk anywhere. Postmates charged us $40 for two crappy hot dogs, soggy fries and a 40 minute wait for delivery. Jon then tried Grubhub. That was the app winner for us! We got a coupon for signing up and so our Pizza and Cheesecake was like, $15! And the guy delivered so fast even in the rain!
On our few walks around town, NYC was really my kind of town. I’m a no bullshit type of person. This is why I am not one of those women to be able to flourish in women’s groups. I don’t make shit flowery or overly happy. I’m very ‘it is what it is’. Jon pointed out that he had to stop himself from being ‘happy to see people’. And he was so right! You don’t have to say excuse me, nod or smile at people. In New York, we all understand we are here, doing whatever shit we need to get done, and we don’t have to be anything other than what we are. Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t meet nice people but I can tell you, I was BEYOND relieved to not have to act like something I wasn’t there. I dressed how I wanted. Looked how I wanted. It’s such a mix of people, you aren’t anything they haven’t seen already. I LOVED that!
Before we arrived, I wondered if I was going to be able to handle the anti-Trump bullshit. NYC is painted as one of the most liberal places in the world! But I was SO SO surprised at how popular Trump was there. The gift shops had SO MUCH pro- Trump stuff. The comedy club had more pro-Trump than anti-Trump and when the anti-Trump joke happened, people started booing! Even in the airport there was pro-Trump candy and such. The news stations there were surprisingly less toxic than I thought they would be. I think the media wants to hold NYC as this place of hatred for MAGA country but really, I found a lot different! It almost seemed like they were proud he was from New York!
Gifted with a reminder….
The remaining reminder that I left with, and that I get from every trip I take, is that I am not stuck. I feel that way a lot of the time. Same people, places, routine… it becomes a little uninspiring. Living in a smaller community, you feel like the same 15 people are all you’re ever going to know. But when I was on the streets of New York, I was brand new. I have to remember that outside the borders of Knox County, there is more. I could move anywhere, at any time, and be anything. I am not stagnant. I do not always have to be the same person doing the same things. With that being said, stay tuned because I might have something a little shocking in store that I hope everyone will be happy to receive with love. What we are working to plan has been a dream and hope to share more soon.