Thursday, May 22, 2014
Longest post about the longest day ever!
It is no secret....I don't like to drive in (Manhattan) New York City.Twice a year is about all I can manage; once to move our daughter into her college dorm, and once to move her out again. The move out occurred last Saturday. And it was every bit of what I expected...horrendous! Due to some commitments, this was the last and only day she could move out. Unfortunately, it was also the first weekend the 9/11 museum (which is a mere few blocks away from her) was open. So more traffic, congestion, and people.
We got an early start, and the drive there was relative uneventful despite the small bridge being made smaller by reducing all lanes of traffic to one for bridge work. On a Saturday? Commendable. Between GPS and our smartphone (yes, we finally got a smartphone and moved into this century!) and the mapping out we previously did, we thought we were all set when we saw the exit marked with the street that was going to take us to her general area. A few blocks down we saw a parking spot, grabbed it and decided to walk the rest of the way. On a Saturday, you have to take a spot when you see them. Turns out, we had a 1/2 hour plus walk! We later figured the highway exit sign was a bit misleading. You could get there from that exit, but had to drive a few more miles.
On the walk there our daughter calls and says now the (one-way) street right in front of the dorm has been closed off by the electric company because they are doing work underground 1/2 a block up. Fast forward: we get there, get her stuff all packed up and we are back down on the street pondering what to do. After a polite conversation with the electric worker, he tells us to move the barrier at the end of the street, drive in, put the barrier back up, load, back down the street and repeat the barrier process in reverse to get out again. Ok? While my DH and I make the long trip back to the car, our daughter waits on the street with her belongings.
On the way back to the car, DH (who knows the streets in this area well) figures it won't be bad and we can just drive straight up the road we are parked on, make a turn or two and do the above. That would have worked IF the street we were parked on was not now closed a few streets up for a street fair. REALLY?! Alright, so a small detour of streets and we are headed back to her. Cue the next phone call....there is now a fire truck blocking the road right inside the barrier we are supposed to move and drive thru. So now we figure we should just find a spot within a reasonable walking distance and just hand carry her stuff in shifts.
After driving around with no exaggeration for an hour or more with an ever widening circle, and coming to the realization that we were not going to find a spot, we get another phone call saying he fire truck has now moved and we start heading over to execute the first plan.
If you do not know Manhattan, in this area, the streets are very narrow with cars often double parked to navigate through, so all this "local" driving in a minivan was stressful to say the least.
I got back to the area, honked to move some pedestrians out of the way, jumped out of the car, moved the barrier, and got back in the car to drive through. All of a sudden a car comes racing down the street towards me, going the wrong way, but wants to get out through the barrier. I now have to back up, into traffic, fighting people crossing the street behind me. I finally get thru the barrier and a million cars are trying to come in after me...Yeah, I was going to get out of my car again and replace the barrier. Sorry, you can't come thru?! At this point I was so frazzled, drove up the street and stopped on a corner of an alley that is usually closed. I pulled up on the curb (at the request of a nice policewoman who stopped traffic for me) literally threw the stuff in the car, backed out and was on the way to a nice meal in
Little Italy...a few crowded blocks away thru Chinatown. On the way there I saw a space, grabbed it, checked the sign twice, read it to my DH who confirmed, put my credit card in the machine, got the ticket and displayed it on the dashboard. Lunch was at an Italian restaurant that we love and have been to before, and we even celebrated by getting some pastry to take home.
Walking back to the car, we were all, especially me, more relaxed, well-fed and ready to make the drive home until we see on the windshield....a ticket! Signs are very ambiguous and it turns out we were not in a "legal" spot--to the tune of $115 plus the $9 already paid for the spot.
If you managed to read all the way through this, thanks! Can you see why I do not like to drive to NYC? And yes, I really, really love our daughter, but I am glad that she only has one more year of Graduate School to go!
Have a happy creative weekend everyone!