Carol Jane Remsburg
A Hick Goes To NYC
So like the 17-year cicada event,
timely since they come back this year to enhance our annual cicadas, the 8th
graders annual field trip to
My daughter planned this trip for months, sold about $200 in chocolate to ensure that we didn't have to pay extra for the trip. Erin and her cohorts plotted and planned out everything. They had an agenda for a very long day. Meanwhile, as the Mom, I only had three major worries, one—I'd oversleep the wakeup alarm, two—we'd get lost, three—we'd get mugged or something equally not nice.
First hurdle over, we were up at the allotted time, but neither did any of us go to sleep early like we'd hoped. None of us could sleep, my daughter's excitement was simply too much to deal with. Once she finally went to sleep, then I couldn't. But we were UP on time. Everything had been packed and readied the evening before—from drinks in the cooler, enough hard candy to supply ALL THREE busloads of kids, peanuts, Cheezits®, and chips, and pretzels. Plus, we had books to read (which we never did), a portable CD-player for the kid with music, a cool wet washrag in a sandwich baggy—just in case, and a couple sweatshirts in case the weather turned cold. There might have been other stuff in the duffle-bag we brought, who knows but it weighed a ton. I was just glad to stow it beneath the seat, with the cooler. The heavy camera bag went into the storage compartment up top and the heavy purse between my feet.
Now I have to tell you I strongly considered about carrying not only the camera case but my pocketbook as well. I thought about stuffing my keys, license, and some cash in my pockets and being done with it. But then, if we got lost or stranded in NYC and had to have a way home, I'd need a credit card. If either of us got hurt, we'd need the insurance cards. If somebody started their period, we'd need the stashed protection I carry. If somebody got a hang-nail, I had the clippers….and so it goes. Besides, I had to stow the Nextel somewhere.
Once on the bus I was somewhat relieved but still not ready
for this adventure. Oh, the kids were
excited to say the least, but everyone was still kinda cranky and tired. That wore off before we hit
we were nearly there. The
I only had one definite stop for my kids…we were going up
Then, it was nearly another hour through two sets of security, stairs, and lines to get to the elevators to go up. I thought this had to be pretty fantastic for what we'd been through to just GET there.
Once on the observation deck, the crowds were elbow-to-elbow, just HOW they got so
many people up there was beyond me.
Finding a space at the edge to peer through the .50 cent binoculars took
some doing, and then getting the kids to the edge for a photo-op ended up a
bust—they weren't happy. One of our crew was terrified of heights and
let us KNOW that in no uncertain terms. However once up there, the
crowds kept her from worrying about it too much. (Remember we love you Elly) We snapped a couple of shots. The heat was stifling up there and the smog
made it worse. Into the gift shop we went for small items to take home. Funny thing, they had LOTS
of miniatures of the Statue of Liberty, but NONE of the
We had three teen girls, all friends, and two adults. The other adult in our party was "Miss
Sue" was one of the girl's grandmother
(step-grandmother?)—either way, she was a totally dear
woman with a sense of adventure better than mine. Miss Sue also had a better sense of direction
than I did to. I was SO relieved to have
her with us as I kept a constant head-count rolling. Miss Sue's relaxed demeanor in the face of
this enormous city was heartening to say the least, and I told her so. The kids, Elly,
Missy, and my
Once outside we held a little meeting on what we wanted to do next. Sue and I decided it would be whatever the kids wanted to do, but mostly we wanted, all of us, to EAT first.
After all the episodes of "Law & Order" I dearly
wanted to eat from a street-side vendor.
I thought they'd have something wonderful—like
the BEST hotdogs in the world. So, of course I pushed for that and shushed away thoughts of
McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's.
Silly me, we ate at the hotdog stand and it BLEW. We were hungry, so we ate anyway, but those
dogs were barkin' because they were some sad
puppies. Even BOILED Ball Parks at home
on STALE buns were better than these.
(This was my second big disappointment already.) The
The kids decided we were going to Ground Zero and I was impressed by their choice. When 9/11 happened they were much younger and for most of us that particular day will live in our memories forever and we still get goosebumps and get teary-eyed just thinking about it. So, with the handy-dandy pop-up map, a dear friend gave me before the trip, we looked it up and hit the subway.
Now Elly had been afraid of
Oh, and I found out that once you get on a subway you'd better sit your butt down quick because they don't tell you when it's pulling out. Guess what? You can fall on your ass in front of God and everyone else too. I was lucky, I fell in my seat. Didn't have to teach me that little lesson twice.
Missy survived the trip to
When we got to Ground Zero it was nothing more than a huge construction site with fencing around it. The surrounding buildings that were damaged also were being restored. But that was it. I didn't think it would "move" the kids and it didn't, worse, it didn't move either adult in the group either.
I was so hot I felt like I could melt into a puddle on the pavement—that's when I saw the ice cream truck………time for relief, or so I thought. After snapping a couple of pix, I dragged our group over to the ice cream vendor. I was thinking a couple cool cones, find some shade and then we'd figure out where else we were headed.
There were exactly 3 people in line
ahead of us---it took him 40 minutes to reach us. Wanna
guess WHY? It wasn't
about complicated orders for sundaes or shakes—it was because he was struggling
with the English language. By the time
he got to us, I just handed him money—I had NO IDEA how much soft-serve ice
cream cost and by that time I didn't really care. We adults got cones—the old stalwart,
reliable stuff, Elly got a watery Strawberry shake,
Missy a strawberry sundae, and Erin a vanilla sundae with sprinkles….you'd have thought this was tantamount to a
Then we found the subway again and learned a valuable
lesson. That $2 per person ride was much
more expensive than the $7 all day ticket ride.
We grabbed for that this time around because the kids were headed to
Battery Park—the jumping off point to the Statue of Liberty. Okay, we didn't hit
the ferry for THAT trip, BUT…this was an experience. The subway ride from
Most of the vendors were from the "islands" like
We went down to the ferry, which appeared to be so
overloaded that if the inspectors came, they'd have a heart attack on the spot. When strolled over
to the WWII memorial and snapped a few photos there and then walked back. Towards the front we stopped. Elly and Missy
needed something affordable to take home to their families as gifts. We stopped at a vendor who, for $5 would
write a name in pictures for you or $1 a bookmark with a name.
It was a lovely respite. The best part of the day.
Then we took the subway back to
Besides, Macy's was the only place we'd encountered with AIR CONDITIONING the entire day thus far. So, I struck a deal with Elly, I promised her the very next day I would go 'on line' and order it and have it to her well before Father's Day when she needed it—actually I had it delivered before 7 days—feel the RELIEF!.
So, after that confab, we turned right around and went back into Macy's, we'd already picked up a couple more cheap souvenirs, but we went to eat this time. I wanted to hit the 'sit-down-and-serve-me' restaurant in the basement, but they were closed that day due to some issue—right beside it was a cafeteria style –fresh hot pasta with your choice of sauce, grilled chicken, pizza, salad bar or boxed salads, or vege bar.
We grabbed, paid, and gratefully sat down to eat nothing that was anything extraordinary. It was food. Mostly we were more interested in the cold drinks. We were parched and hot and very tired. The crush of the crowds, the noise was so loud, and the simple pressure that belied little respect for personal space was now removed. We had another hour to kill. However the all-important potty stop was required before leaving.
We opted back to the pick-up point and to
check the little shops lining the block while we waited. It was there in Strawberries that I finally found a miniature of the
Finally our bus arrived and we boarded. The other two buses were late.
We didn't care, we were just SO glad to sit down—and this included the kids. The bad part was Miss Sue and Elly didn't ride our bus so we said our goodbyes and boarded.
Missy, Erin, and I sat down and were ready to go….but sqwawks were readily heard from the back of the bus. It was evident that someone had had bowel issues that day. Thus, the coolest, of the cool who had opted to sit in the rear of the bus had to endure the pervading stench of an explosive elimination—about ˝ UP the bus….good thing we sat 3/4 the way up front. That crew—and their 'cool' parents got to enjoy that fragrance until about when we pulled into the school parking lot. Somehow, being cool didn't quite measure up to the choking I heard in the back on the way home. I guess it sorta countered the cat-calls from the back on the way up.
Finally one of the 'cool moms' told them to shut up about , then had to tell them twice with a threat of the principle AND telling THEIR mothers….
Meanwhile, the movie played on---the latest "3
Musketeers" while most of the bus slept.
It was raining when we pulled in and the truck was parked far away.
I ended up hauling nearly everything, the 40 pounds of dufflebag, the camera bag, my purse---but
Home we came—hubby was awake. When we hit the door, HE hit the bed. He had waited up and HE had to work the next day. I was up when he left before the next day.
Now you have it all, spelled out THE TRIP. Let me tell you
something, no matter how I sugarcoat it, NYC it a huge place. If we'd opted for
Yeah, let me live the rural life I grew up with—chicken manure and all. NYC holds little allure for me and any repeat trip will require glowing red tongs of torture to get me there.
You cannot take the hick out of a Shore Girl you just can't. However, if you dropped me into the Barnes and Noble and didn't make me run everywhere…I might have liked that.
But I could have done that right here at home.
The world is a small place, just know that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better—at least in my view.