All aboard ………..
Dear Readers….haven’t been to New York City for nine years and after the last three days ….it might be nine years from now for this writer to take another shot at it! …. Scenes from the Jack Lemmon/Sandy Dennis “The Out -of-Towners” ….(the one before the Steve Martin/Goldie Hawn remake)….came to mind at throughout the 72 hours we came …we saw…we experienced…and we left!….
We arrived on the 1:32 pm Acela Amtrak train from Philadelphia…. A first for us …after a recommendation from our daughter who had used it a few weeks prior…We pre-ordered two Business Class tickets at $198 and were allowed two carry-on bags as well as a few smaller totes each… We arrived at the 30th Street Station downtown which is a beautifully maintained historic building worth the time to explore and take in….while watching the old fashioned time board flip its updates and waited for the info on what gate and track were ours…Once it was revealed we lined up and again waited to descend down to the tracks for the fast train and our seats which were the last two available when we searched them out…The train this Friday afternoon was pretty well filled and we quickly had to find our “train-legs” as we balanced carry-ons and mastered the aisles between train cars as we moved along the tracks to find both seats together and storage….Not quite the early boarding seating we were accustomed to on frequent plane trips that’s for sure!… We had an uneventful ride of an 1:46 to Penn Station with two stops before and stood among those ready to get off in the aisle as we prepared to enter Penn Station….Hmmm ….not quite on par with the the one we left in Philly….It was crowded…quite confusing with lack of signage ….and eye-opening to see swat teams and armed forces placed at every angle we glanced at as we looked to see which was was out!…. Once out we were met with more crowds than we experienced while below the city sidewalks requiring us to weave in and out juggling luggage to get a cab which should have been easy…especially in the sea of yellow taxis that took up the traffic landscape….Two blocks away from the station and across the street we hailed one…He asked “Where to?”…We responded Trump International Hotel and he shook his head vigorously and said”No!”… “No?” we said to each other as we were both caught off guard….never having this experience either!…. Another three blocks of navigating among the landlocked sidewalks and crossing another major crosswalk ….we found more yellow taxis lined up and found a driver that had no aversion to taking us to our destination….even as he told us he was about to clock out for the day…. Gratefully, we made it worth his while with our tip and the feeling we were now about to start our 35th anniversary weekend celebration for real…Or so we thought!…. Nine years ago we stayed at the Trump International Hotel and fondly recalled the excellent room and service which had led us not to look elsewhere when booking this weekend jaunt…. Although we requested early check-in we were told that was not to be…..So we unloaded the luggage to storage and left for a bite to eat nearby as we waited to get our room…. The crowds were now a given…… inside and outside as we ventured thankful we were unencumbered by carry-ons this time!… One shared sandwich and multiple deserts devoured in a half hour …..we again made our way back to get in the room….Still not ready we were told….We waited some more and watched as the front desk service agents talked amongst themselves on the actual status of the room and if it had been inspected and signed off for us to get in….The word came in fifteen minutes more… ….All ready… Hmmm…. We had booked a city view and what we got was a city roof view look at the tops and their machinery and some less impressive buildings ….not the city views we envisioned….but the thought of yet another wait seemed worse than dealing with this lack of views …. Unpacked in smaller room than we had prior visits in New York and Chicago Trump establishments…..we quickly found the “inspection” had definitely not occurred as key items were M.I.A……. Later on was the first of two booked Broadway plays… The ride in another Yellow Taxi took us around and about the city due to both the crowds and the incredible amount of construction on every block…..Structural platforms abound in front of old buildings….not old buildings and wherever there seems to be a space between buildings!…. Bike riders were weaving in and out between buses…taxis…Uber and those that dare to drive…. The ride itself is like an interactive play!…….
Kudos to ‘Beautiful’ the play about Carol King…. It was wonderful and reminiscent …well worth the time and the money and the preceding troubles of the day….
On Saturday we chose to not follow long…long lines that despite the colder weather and rain spilled out from the major museums steps and around the blocks to get in ….Instead we visited the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum located in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion which has interactive use that can be downloaded to your computer after your visit with your ticket….Then on to the J.P. Morgan Museum to see his library which house a plethora of first editions housed on three levels in wood paneled rooms with extraordinary wood carving with huge carved fireplaces and although some are well worn and in need of restoration significant ceiling murals adorn each wing along with encased artifacts …. Marble and stone columns and marble carvings make up the center entry ….A docent informed another visitor that the collection is so large that every ninety days the books are cleaned and rotated with those kept in unseen areas…. Greek diners were on every block offering great food ….again without the lines and wait….
Saturday we also decided to cut our trip short and change our return back to Philly to noon rather than later in the evening on Sunday due mostly to worse weather coming according to the forecast ….. We changed our Amtrak Acela tickets and went on to our second night of Broadway ….’An American In Paris’ ….Right in the heart of Time Square… We made our way there in yet another Yellow Taxi and were astounded with the massiveness of the crowds that were in place in Time Square at a little past seven pm….despite the cold and wet….We entered the Palace Theater lobby and made a call to our younger daughter to inform her of what we saw outside the lobby doors……Bleachers were almost full of people taking in all of what Time Square had to offer …the crowds… the marquees …and the lights all around…We hung up as the doors to the theater were opened and found our seats…. The play offered all it promised and more with a first -rate cast and magnificent choreography that made the two plus hours fly by just as theater goers hope to experience……. We headed out a side door and took the taxi back to our hotel still basking in that enjoyment … That changed in record time though …..as I looked at updates in the news while we were occupied….. I was absolutely shocked to see the photo above showing the very theater we were just in and the very bleachers we had just described as full…. looking totally empty and deserted!…. A bomb scare had taken place within minutes of our leaving the lobby to go inside !….People were removed and the patrons at the theater across from us were moved to the basement to be safe…….All the while we at the Palace Theater were totally oblivious!…. We could not believe we were faced with yet another near miss on day two in New York City!……..
Sunday, April 3rd….it’s morning and we are ready to finish up this trip and get to the Amtrak train…. I admit I was a little hesitant about entering Penn Station again ….still thinking about the slasher incident so close in proximity upon our entering the city …. With time to work out at the Trump gym and be pleasantly surprised that the Trump management sent us some breakfast offerings for not being up to par ie the lack of inspection…… Not bad I thought ….that is ….until….’Breaking News’ came across on the Sunday morning news shows… All Amtrak trains to Philadelphia have been suspended!….A train derailment with deaths and injuries!… OMG!…. Sure enough ….it’s another day in New York City…. producing yet another hair raising situation …..definitely too close in proximity!…. We cancelled the train online ….and called down to the front desk and secured a car ride ….to get out of town!…….This writer really started to breathe easily again….. as soon we left the confines of the Lincoln Tunnel with the high winds whipping all around that were impacting New York as well!….. From all we read throughout the day….we were not only lucky to not be on that Amtrak….but lucky to have found a quick getaway….as others were faced with a mess …..
Home Sweet Philly Home …. A good rest of the day….in more ways than one!….. We had just a quick walk from our front door to a great meal at a favorite local restaurant with no need for a Yellow Taxi!….
Today, with front page news in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the Amtrak tragedy and ads for the Broadway plays we had seen popping up on every site I surf online ….. as well as Trump…Trump….Trump…on every TV channel …. We get mail…. email from….the Trump Hotel….to take a quick customer service survey of our stay…. Ok….I thought….I would partake …only to find….
No survey response was to be received….’at this time’….”error” or so they said!….
And….just when it seemed it was finally time to put the past three days to behind us…. yet another Trump email arrived…. the bill pdf!…..
More to come…..