Ithaca to New York City
It was a mad dash to the Ithaca bus station after class ended on Friday but after five hours on the bus, I was back in New York City and it felt great to be there. It took about half an hour to walk to my hotel, which was on West 47th between Seventh and Eighth. I was disappointed that the room was tiny! There was a single bed, a TV and a sink. That was it. The shared bathroom was along the corridor, which was fine except that the hot water supply was cranky. But I can’t complain, it was right in the center of Times Square. I was kind of tired from the craziness of the week so I grabbed some dinner before I called it a night.
New York City to London
Had a great night’s sleep, slept way longer than I should have and panicked when I realized I had 20 minutes to checkout but it took me 25. Left my luggage in the lockers and went out to source for tickets to A Chorus Line. The discount booth was way too crowded; the queues open at 10 and it snaked around the Marriott. I managed to get tickets for the matinée and decided to walk around a bit before show time.
A huge crowd was gathering at one of the junctions on Times Square and I walked over to check out what the fuss was about. Turned out it was Uma Thurman in the midst of filming a new movie, I think it’s called Accidental Doctor. I stood there observing for about fifteen minutes and they did almost ten takes of her crossing the street. In between takes, she graciously waved and smiled for the cameras.
I was initially at the back of the crowd, but I inched my way forward to get better pictures. Someone in front of me shouted, “Uma, you’re so beautiful! Could you look here so I can take a photo?” She obliged, of course, but no flash photography was allowed once the cameras started rolling. There was a stand-in for her and when they talked in between takes, it was like seeing double!
A Chorus Line was everything I had imagined it to be, and more. I had watched the film version, but nothing beats seeing it live on stage. You know how sometimes, the hype might leave you a tad disappointed, but no, not this one.
Took the Wrong Train and Missed my Flight
On a high, I got out of the Schoenfeld Theatre and proceeded to look for some New York City souvenirs for Mike and his parents. I had one eye on the clock because I had to be at JFK by 6 pm and I gave myself an hour or so to get there via subway. I went back to the hotel to collect my bag that I had earlier placed in the locker. Made my way to the subway station at Port Authority, and I made my first booboo of the trip.
I did ask the subway staff for confirmation of the train that I should be taking – the A line towards Queens. And so I did, but I boarded the one heading uptown, instead of downtown. I have to say, the NYC subway is rather confusing now that I have been to London and Paris. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, but it is easy to get onto the wrong train. It’s especially so when you are alone and unfamiliar with the area, and on the way to the airport to catch a flight.
So I was on the wrong train going uptown, instead of towards Brooklyn and eventually Queens. After I realized my mistake, I got off at Harlem and hopped on the right train. Replaying the whole incident and trying to reflect on what went wrong, I was on my way. It was a race against time, as I later also found out that the subway takes way longer than an hour. There is a faster alternative, the Airport Shuttle, which costs $13 and would have taken 40 minutes. The subway costs $2 for a single trip. So the attempt to save money backfired on me.
I had a million thoughts running through my mind while on the subway. Would it make sense to get off and hop into a cab? Would there be a cab? Would it be faster than the subway? Why is the subway so slow? Why didn’t I take the shuttle? Now that I was about to miss my flight, how much more would I have to pay just to save that $11?
Feeling rather stupid and my confidence at a low, it was 7.30 pm by the time I made it to the airport and my flight was to leave at 8. I went straight to the ticket counter to ask if I could get a seat on the next available flight, and thank God indeed, they put me on the next one, which was leaving at 9.45 pm and at no extra cost!
And so, that was that. I missed my flight trying to save $11 and getting in the wrong direction. There and then, I resolved not to make any more mistakes for the rest of the trip and that I had to be on top of every situation.
To come, Part Two: London