The car is packed in the most stressful manner you could imagine. The person in the back seat is in a cave of pillows, blankets, silverware, backpacks, books, plastic cups and chargers of all sorts and does not have the ability to see out the back or the opposite side window. From the backseat you only have the front window and your own open for you to see out of and you have to sit with two laptops on your legs, Joey’s wires, my Nalgene bottle and Tom’s notebook on top of that, which all together are pretty heavy to have on your lap and because you’re surrounded by all that stuff and the sun coming in you get really hot. But this story is about New York City.
I was looking at our site from my laptop in the backseat. I had anchored everything in the car down as well as I could manage to reduce the possibility of it falling on my head. It was dark and raining. It had been raining all day which made it a pain to drive for an extra long time (especially since I drove us way out of the way…). My attention was suddenly drawn to an influx of light coming from over the top of my laptop and outside the only two windows I had access to. New York City! I was surprised at how excited I was right away to see those city lights.
Friday night had been taken up by driving to the wrong state, and then into the city, so once we got to Tom’s friend Noah’s Manhattan apartment and our backs hit the couch we weren’t going anywhere. Saturday was much better. We slept in which was really nice. First things first we drove to Brooklyn, which is lesson number two for us here at America in 100 Days.
Lesson one: Do Not Move Unless Everything Is Just Exactly Perfect. In other words, don’t let the GPS direct you anywhere if you don’t have the full correct address plugged in.
Lesson Two: Public Transportation Is There For A Reason. Use It. As in do not attempt to drive your car from one parking spot to another if you intend on having fun. If your purpose is to really mess up your day then driving in the city is your best move.
The GPS has trouble in the city. So not only are you bombarded with a ton of people who are absolutely positive that you’re in their way, but the GPS is frantically telling you to “turn left, turn left, turn left, recalculating, turn left.” By the end of the trip we were sure there was something screwy with the GPS since the only apparent way to drive anywhere in New York City’s five boroughs was left. The boys playfully mocked my GPS (named Mrs. Wellington and set to have a British accent) by adopting the accent and female voice and repeating the hated phrase, “turn left, turn left.”
On Saturday, after a long drive to Brooklyn and a great picture moment under the Brooklyn Bridge, we headed straight for the Brooklyn Museum. What a place. I have a feeling you’re going to be reading a lot about it elsewhere, so I’ll leave the details up to the boys. What I enjoyed the most though, was the room full of wavy black lines. It wasn’t the lines specifically but the way they made the walls seem like they were flowing around you. If I had a couch, a bean bag chair and a window, that might be my favorite room. After the museum it was time for a late lunch at Grimaldi’s. Tom was driving (thanks again, Tom, city driving is a tough job) but parking is a task and a half in the city. Eventually Joey hopped out of the backseat to hold a place in line. Tom and I looped around the block a few more times and after a while I hopped out too and ran across the street to stand with Joey while Tom idled somewhere around the corner.
The line was long. The sun was staring down at me and my pale, already burnt skin in this line and it was getting hot. Soon after no apparent line motion at all, a tall older man with white hair popped his head out of the door like a groundhog might on their designated weather prediction day in February if not for being pulled out already. This man called in as many people as had just walked out and the line inched hungry forward. We were just taking our food to go rather than eating inside, so I went to investigate the sign on the door to see if it mentioned that people like me could order faster. Not the case. The sign clearly read that people eating in the restaurant and people taking food out without sitting were to stand in the same line.
But as luck would have it, this elderly line manager eventually did call on people who wanted to order take out and allowed one in the party to brave the inside. Joey was the lucky one in our pair and made a good call of ordering not only the traditional cheese pizza but also a white pizza and each slice was more delicious than the last.
From here we were pretty tired of trying to driving around so we headed over to another of Tom’s friend’s houses and parked the car for the night. Once we had sat for a little bit inside and regained our sense of motivation Joey convinced us all to head over to the new Studio Square beer garden in Queens, and Tom’s friends Kelsey and Bill (shown here) gladly led the way.
What a fun place - as soon as you walk in you see a long stretch of sunlight coming from on top of a set of stairs across the room. We ordered our drinks and followed that light to a busy seating area outside. Dozens of long dark brown benches stretched out before us in neat rows and hundreds of happy people talked with their friends under the lingering early summer sun.
We dragged ourselves away after a few hours of hanging around and hit the couches at Tom’s friend’s Paul’s with heavy heads. Sunday was our museum tour day and then we were off to see my parents. I was getting very excited to get to the South Hadley stop on our trek across the U.S. It was time for a relaxing day, and remember that car problem I was telling you about?… it was high time we fixed that.
Until next time America.