Yesterday I took Jess to NYC to get the bus. The bus to Pittsburgh departs once a day, at 5:30pm.
Plan A was to take the train from Huntington to Penn Station, subway to Chinatown, walk 2 blocks and get to Division Street where the bus stops.
Plan A got screwed up when I misread the train schedule. There was a 2:06 train, and a 3:06 train, but in between them I saw a 2:42 train, which is the one I wanted to take. I figured it would get us there in PLENTY of time.
Turns out the 2:42 train coming in from Port Jefferson didn't continue on past Huntington.
Had I looked down the schedule to the right I would have seen little dash marks for all the west bound stations meaning no stopping there, all the way to Penn Station, which would have registered in my bear of little brain head that this train did not move past Huntington.
That train turned around and went to Port Jefferson again.
We arrived just as the 2:06 train was leaving. It had taken me forever to find a place to park because all the empty lots were marked "residents only" or "non resident with sticker only." Empty lots, all over the place... and nowhere for an outta townah to stick her vehicle. Luckily I know the neighborhood, found an on-street spot two blocks away, and after dropping Jess and her luggage off I walked back to the station.
I bought our tickets and we were sitting in the waiting area, when I looked up at the digital sign and saw that the next train to Penn Station was at 3:06. So I asked the lady about the 2:42. She informed me that I was mistaken about what that train would be doing, and Jess and I opted to enact Plan B.
Plan B was to drive into Chinatown.
Now, I've never once driven into Manhattan. Hell, I've only ever stayed on the interstates and bypassed it, or taken the train in. I had no idea what I was doing but figured "How Hard Can This Be?"
So after establishing Plan B, we discussed plan C, which would be our calling the bus company and seeing if she could use her ticket tomorrow (meaning Wednesday) and she'd just miss the first day of classes. Plan D was getting a flight out of LaGuardia or JFK that night. Plan E was getting a flight out in the morning today (if plan C was not a go). And plan F was "F--k it, we're driving to Pittsburgh!"
Plan B being enacted, we called Doug so he could Google Maps us into our destination.
While on the phone with him, I realized we were in the wrong lane on 495 (LI Expressway) when we got to the 278 (BQE). Not knowing how to correct that, I figured I'd just take the Midtown Tunnel. I got on 2nd Avenue at 34th street, and we started our Southward trek... I missed the turn for the FDR Drive because one cannot get from the right lane alllllllll the way over to the far left blocked into its own protected lane lane if one isn't prepared to do so, but I knew there would be another left to take us over there eventually.
No Worries, I got this.
We followed the signs to the FDR Drive, got on, and were cruising right along when I realized that the exit I wanted for Chinatown was blasting past us (I realized because I saw the tiny, itty, bitty, wee, little "Chinatown" road sign as I passed a truck in the right lane).
No Worries. I got this. Seriously, you guys. I got this.
I got off at Battery Park and figured all I have to do is go north a little bit, and turn right. And Bada Bing Bada Boom, I'm on Canal Street. I've walked this area for a long time. I've been to the south end of Manhattan a billion times. I know my way around.
LIKE I SAID! I GOT THIS!!!
Thing is, all the stupid roads down that end of the world are one way and are no longer on an east/west, north/south grid like the rest of Manhattan. One knows that if you cannot make a left at this numbered street, go up a block, then turn left, then turn and you're right where you want to be. One cannot get lost in Manhattan when one knows how to count, and knows the road numbers go down as you head south (east west) and go up as you head west for the north south numbered avenues.
The southern part of Manhattan does not obey any of these rules, the roads being built when the colonial period was thriving. So, when you're walking, you can walk any which dang way you want to, but when you're driving it is a whole different story.
And at this point, I now have to pee. Very badly. Four giant cups of coffee and the lease was up on the liquid. I contemplated illegally parking in front of a hotel, leaving Jess in the car and running into a hotel to pee, but there were cops everywhere, and busses, and cabs.
I contemplated pulling over and telling a cabbie to take her where she needed to be, because he would know better, and I would just get the hell out of dodge, but that wasn't gonna happen either.
My sister called me as I was being forced up Trinity and past St. Paul's and the WTC site. Doug called Jess' cell phone to check on us and he was giving her directions too. Linda pulled up Google Maps and she and her boss got me over to Bowery, which got me under a bridge, which got me to City Hall, which got me to Jessica yelling "OH MY GOD I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE! TURN RIGHT ON EAST BROADWAY AND THEN LEFT ON RUTGERS!"
And there we were, where Division and Canal and Essex meet, that is where she needed to be.
A cool hour and a half hours before the bus was leaving, and by my estimation, a good hour before the Plan A option would have gotten us there if we had waited for the 3:06 train.
Insanely, there was on-street parking right in front of the building. We had enough quarters to feed the meter. The bus office let me use their bathroom (thank you God and the chinese bus desk lady).
Our friend McKey lives a few blocks away so he walked up and met us and hung around with us until 5:15 when I opted to leave, give him a ride back to his apartment so he could get his dog settled in and get to rehearsal by 6pm.
I then sat in traffic for 2.5 hours getting to my sister's house. It was insane. I don't know how anyone in their right mind would drive into Manhattan (and out) on a daily basis. But for all intents and purposes for us, it worked out well. She got her bus, and we didn't have to try out the other Plans C-F to get her back.
She got in close to 1am, and didn't have a class until 11, I don't think... so she got plenty of rest and is back at it for the semester.
As for me, I now need to start the trek home. I was contemplating a ferry but I think I'm going to wing it and head up on the highway. Cross your fingers for me that I run into no traffic. I figure if I leave an hour ago, it'll be fine...