Friday, January 11, 2013

One Hour in Manhattan


The sun was still down when Steven and I waited for our Manhattan-bound train in Albany, New York the (very, very early) morning of December 27th. I was in a mood. The snow on the train platform crunched loudly beneath my way-too-old wannabe Ugg boots I only dare to wear in public when temperatures drop below freezing, and I paced around trying to keep warm. My coat, while totally adorable, was meant for the "cold" nights in Southern California and I was not prepared to spend extended time out in the snow.  Light was just peeking up over the horizon when we boarded the somewhat outdated but comfortable enough Amtrak train that would take us to the city.

The scenery was beautiful as the train snaked its way south, running for some time along the frozen Hudson and snowy, forested hills....or so Steven told me. I wouldn't know; the minute we boarded the train I'd wrapped the scarf I'd picked up from hagglers in Istanbul twice around my face, planted the side of my head against the window and gone to sleep.

We were twenty minutes from Penn Station when I woke up again, feeling considerably less irritable (It's amazing what a few extra hours of sleep can do for you, even when they're spent sitting upright on a train!)

"We'll be there by 10:30," Steven offered after I'd woken up.  Our flight left out of JFK at 1:45 PM.

"Maybe we'll have time to see a little of New York," I suggested. "I know you've always wanted to."

Steven laughed. Then he realized I was serious.

You see, our original plan had been to stay in New York from the 24th to the 3rd. We'd spend the 24th to the 28th upstate at my family's house and the 29th to the 3rd in Manhattan, exploring and eating lots of pizza and bagels. Then, oh-so-conveniently, my two best friends in the entire world both announced that they'd be getting married. Their wedding dates? December 28th and January 2nd.  Our trip was then, of course, shortened from the original 10 days to a mere 3, and the New York City portion had to be omitted completely.

We did not have much time. One hour, to be exact, if we were to catch the train to Jamaica Station, transfer to the Air Train and arrive at JFK with enough time to check in and make it through security. So we headed out of Penn Station and hopped on the subway all of one stop uptown to Times Square. I grew up in New York and have visited many, many times since I moved away, so I wish I would have had time to show Steven some of my favorite places that are a bit off the beaten path. But with only one hour, we stuck to the basics.

We climbed the stairs up from the Subway out into Times Square. It was as flashy and bright and crazy as every movie and television show makes it out to be. I could tell Steven was happy and maybe a little awestruck, so I was feeling good. We walked along 7th, passing 42nd street, veering left to walk along Broadway towards the actual, you know, square. It's loud, it's crowded, there are highschool girls taking photos on their phones, vendors selling hot dogs and pretzels, guys with neckbeards handing out fliers for comedy clubs.

We stopped in front of the flashy signs and took a photo. We smiled. Then, we left in search of pizza.

The best pizza in New York does not come from Times Square. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the quality of pizza actually increases exponentially the further one is from the place. But we didn't have time to go track down that pizza place on the lower east side that used to be a speakeasy and makes the best white pizza I've ever had. We had twenty minutes and counting.

So we found pizza - and (further solidifying my previous statement) it wasn't at all mind blowing. It did, however, take twenty minutes to make.

"Can we get this to go?" I called nervously.

Yes, you can bet that there was a frantic young couple bolting through Penn station to catch the 11:40 train to Jamaica, armed with suitcases and a large pizza box. 

And sitting on that train, airport bound, that crappy pizza tasted pretty dang delicious.

8 comments:

Maria said...

Aw, so sad you didn't get to show Steven more of NYC, but maybe y'all will be able to get back there soon and really show him around.
xo, Maria

Sara Bell said...

I love this! I always love to see gorgeous photos of a place I haven't been, but this gorgeous description was even more satisfying. My husband and I wanted to see every state together, and to see all 50 before we move on to traveling abroad. We have both seen California, though separately, and we have each seen one more state the other hasn't seen. Otherwise though, we're all caught up now and everything from this point on will be new together! I'm so excited for all of it!

Jasmin said...

I love Manhattan! Great you had at least a little time to walk around!
Btw, I think there's a typo in the text because I think you didn't take public transport from Manhattan to LAX ;)

-Jasmin

Mo (New on U) said...

You are definitely right about the best pizza not coming from times square - I think brooklyn has some of the best pizza out there!

You paint such a wonderful picture with your words :)

Autumn said...

It was probably a million times cheaper than what you could have gotten in the airport...for the same piece of crappy pizza haha

I am excited for your college phase to start up...mainly because being married and in college was basically my favorite. Do you know what you want to major in yet?

Mimi Finerty said...

an adventure must always include food! your a girl after my own heart! :)

Sara Louise said...

This just means that you'll have to go back to NYC!

lost in travels said...

What an awesome time in New York!

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