Guest Author - Brenda Potter Reynolds
Or, Planes, Trains and Asking Directions
Life is funny. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never been to NYC. Now, within a month, I’ve been there twice!
The first time was a pleasure trip, to see the city with my husband and brother and his family. This time, I had to take my nephew to JFK to catch a flight. My 16-year-old son went with me.
I was waaay to timid to even attempt driving within the city, so we drove down to Yonkers – which turned out to be a nice little city – and took the Metro North Train to Grand Central Station. So far, so good.
We got to Grand Central Station, asked what train we could take to the airport, and the nice I Love NY Tourism guy told us to walk outside, go a few blocks left, and take a bus from the bus station. OK, still no problem. Well, we walked and walked, in 90+ degree weather, and did not find a bus station. Finally I asked someone else, and they said, oh no, you have to walk the other way.
So we trudged back the other way. The boys enjoyed the tall buildings, the crowds of people, and the crazy traffic. But no bus station. So I asked yet again. A nice lady directed me to go a few more blocks, and then go left. Guess what? No bus station.
There were several people loitering around, so I asked about a bus station. Another nice lady looked surprised, and then directed me back to Grand Central Station. Hmmmm.
We were losing time so I approached a woman who looked like a native New Yorker, and asked, “How do you flag down a taxi?” I know, I know – I must have sounded like a hick from the sticks. But she told me, plus she and her friend offered some other helpful advice, including the fact that it was between shifts, so it may take me awhile to get one. (And she was right.) Her advice was all good, though, and I am forever grateful to her and her friend.
A very nice taxi driver stopped for us, and took us on the ride of our life, getting to JKF in about an hour. Wow! That place is the size of a small city! He dropped us off at the terminal, and we got in line to check my nephew’s baggage.
We got to the gate, and waited. We were early, but the plane arrived late. It didn’t even start boarding until after 7:50 pm – the time it was supposed to leave!
After my nephew boarded, I found my son, and we followed the signs to the Air Train. JFK has an air train that circles the airport, dropping off and picking up travelers at each terminal. It also stops at two stations, Howard Beach and Jamaica. We got off at Station C, where you catch shuttles and pick up rental cars.
We grabbed a shuttle to our hotel, checked in, and collapsed on the beds.
The next morning, I felt a little more sure of myself. We caught the hotel shuttle back to the airport, and got back on the Air Train. Getting off at the Jamaica Station, we got on the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station. Once again, so far, so good. At Penn Station, I asked a nice young man how to get to GCS. He asked, “By subway or walking?” I wasn’t sure I was ready for the subway system, especially when he started talking about taking Subway E cross-town to a shuttle to the A line (or something like that) so I picked walking. He told me where to exit, walk five blocks to the right, and cross the street.
Well, he was partially right. After six blocks, I asked a woman on the street. She told me to walk to Park St. then cross. “You can’t miss it,” she said. OK, sounded like we were almost there. We did that, but apparently, we were missing it, because we didn’t see it. So I asked another woman. She told me we had to walk seven more blocks! I am so glad that it wasn’t as hot and humid as it had been the day before.
We entered GCS at the same exit we had used the day before. It felt good to see something familiar. By now, I felt (almost) like an old pro. We did have to ask how to get to the trains, but we found the tracks, got on, and were seated with plenty of time to spare.
Back in Yonkers, we walked up the parking garage and retrieved our vehicle. We got back on the Sawmill Parkway, and then hit the Thruway. Seven hours later, we were home. All I wanted to do is rest and relax, but all my son could do is talk about how he wanted plan another trip…back to NYC!