Archive for September 2013

Spring Break in New York City…part 2: The Waiting

September 8, 2013

It started with a suspicious item noted in an x-ray during a security check at 5:58 am on April 1st.  Metro Airport was evacuated, flights delayed, a bomb squad called, bags searched, scare called off, security heightened and planes taking off again…..all before our arrival at 9 am.  My daughter and I were off to New York City for four days during our spring break.  It was a trip that had been in the planning for weeks.  And the plan was to fly out at 11, arrive in NYC at 1, explore our hotel and surroundings, meet a dear friend for dinner near the theater and be in our seats for ‘Matilda the Musical’ by 8 pm.

That was the plan.

But as I said in an earlier post, God laughs in the face of all of our planning.

We arrived two hours early for our flight as recommended by the airline. We were able to kiss the obliging hubby/daddy and check our bag at the curb. Security was heightened as expected. There were people everywhere….watching. Our trip through security was faster than expected. We slipped our shoes back on and stopped at a shop for a bottle of water and a magazine. The we headed toward the gate to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Our plane was delayed for takeoff until 12. No biggie. We’d still be in New York by 2 pm. Plenty of time to settle and make it to dinner and then the play.

So then we were delayed until 4 pm. Yikes. That would be pushing my schedule a bit. The speaker then announced that our flight was delayed until possibly 7 pm. Something was wrong with the plane and the team needed to repair it was coming from Chicago.

In a car.

They were willing to have us change carriers in order to fly out sooner. We stood in line and received both a food voucher and a certificate to present to another airline that had a flight leaving at 3 pm. It was now 1 pm. We retrieved our bag, raced through the terminal and checked in with our new carrier (with a new destination – Newark) and then raced to that gate.

To wait.

In the mean time I tried to talk my daughter into using the food voucher for some…..food. She wasn’t hungry and too excited. She found a spot near a plug and recharged our phones while I went off to find something that would be easy to carry on the plane to eat. I didn’t trust her ‘not hungry’ mode. I purchased four large cookies and two bottles of water. And gum.

“Ma’am, this voucher is for twenty four dollars. Are you SURE you don’t want anything else?” I shook my head and headed back to the waiting area for our flight. I placed a call to the service that was to transport us from LaGuardia to our hotel and switched the service to pick us up in Newark instead. We finally boarded the new flight at 2:45….excited to be on our way.

And we waited.

The plane actually pulled away from the terminal and we were waiting for clearance to leave. The announcement was made that we were waiting for clearance from Newark to fly out. That there was a storm system moving in. I sent a text to my New York friend who laughed. She said the weather was sunny and actually quite warm. Not a cloud in the sky.

We waited.

We waited some more…..on the plane. Pointed toward the runway.

The pilot made the announcement that we were going to taxi back to the terminal for more fuel. Apparently two hours in a holding pattern sucks a lot of fuel.

Two hours……on the plane.

By this time I had been texting my friend in New York to cancel dinner plans and then realized by the time we arrived we weren’t going to make the curtain for ‘Matilda the Musical” either.

Rats.

I called the theater to see if we could exchange the tickets for another performance. Not through them, I was told, as I’d ordered the tickets through a web ticket service. Oh…great! Because I had also – accidently – purchased the insurance in case we couldn’t make the performance. So I placed a call to them…..from the plane….refueling at the terminal in Detroit.

Heh. In order to use the ‘insurance’ (which cost an additional $30 per ticket) they needed three days notice. Three days. What? A VERY polite and VERY condescending operator expressed her regret that we were not going to be at the performance that night but there was really nothing they could do. Purchased insurance or not. I asked them to call the theater and tell them they could GIVE THE TICKETS AWAY to anyone that came to the box office. GIVE them away. Again, deep regrets were expressed and I hung up. I was angry. And frustrated. And hot. And cramped.

I basically paid $277 for two Broadway balcony seats of…..air.

For a play I REALLY wanted to see.

Sigh.

My friend in New York sent a text to say that she had spoken with the concierge at our hotel. They were prepared to hold our bags in the lobby so we could leave right for the theater immediately after we checked in. She said we could be seated late and see just part of the play. Lots of people do that.

Sweet friend.

As our plane took off from Metro Airport three hours after boarding our new flight which was supposed to leave four hours after our original flight which was supposed to leave two hours after our arrival at 9 am….I sat back in my seat and relaxed. My daughter and I decided to salvage the whole theater thing by stowing our bags in the lobby after checking in to our hotel and going to stand outside on the sidewalk of ‘The Lucky Guy’ official premiere. With its cast comprised of Tom Hanks, Maura Tierney, Courtney Vance, etc. surely there would be some star wattage coming out. Right? That would be fun.

Our plane landed in Newark around 8 pm. We found the desk for our transportation service and confirmed that we were ready to be picked up. We settled into seats for what we were assured would be a short wait and sent text messages to the hubby and the friend and my mother. We meandered around and people watched….and waited.

For ninety minutes.

Our van finally arrived. It was packed. My daughter climbed into a back seat while I scooched into a front seat. Forty minutes later we were finally deposited at the front steps of our hotel.

It was busy and loud and full of people. We found the desk, checked in and I asked if room service was still available. It was. Until 11 pm. I checked the time on my phone. We had 25 minutes.

We dashed to the elevator, found our room, dove for the room service menu and ordered a hamburger and bowl of soup from room service.

In New York City.

So it was thirteen and a half hours after the hubby deposited us at the curb of Metro Airport’s departure terminal.

We were exhausted.

Sweaty.

Hungry.

But we were in NYC……and all was good.

2013-04-01 23.28.50

Especially when the food arrived.

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Another ‘New York Adventure’

September 7, 2013

I posted this blog entry four and a half years ago.  It’s a detailed account of my first solo adventure in New York City.  I have wanted to go back.  Dang.  Who wouldn’t want to back to a place that has fascinated them since the age of eight?  In March…..because the Princess has been in the dumps and banned from her sporty life due to a surgically repaired ACL tendon….and because the financial gods were smiling for once…..and because Daddy had been 100% supportive and said ‘Go!’……my daughter and I planned a four day adventure to New York for spring break.  Just the two of us.  Okay…so I did the planning and I gave HER numerous choices.  I picked a play and she picked a play.  I found some restaurant choices and some activity choices I thought would interest her and organized it all on the internet. 

I like to be organized.

The very first thing that I did was look into Broadway play tickets.  I ordered two tickets for a Monday evening performance of ‘Matilda the Musical’ which was MY play of choice. From there I started searching for hotels and bed and breakfast availabilities.  I opted for a small (cheap) hotel across from the south end of Central Park.  Fortunately, I have a friend who lives in the city who could check things out for me.  She assured me it was a ‘small place that catered to people who wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in their rooms.’  The area was definitely safe and close to what we might be doing.  When I turned my attention to airline tickets, Price Line offered a great deal if I booked both the airline and the hotel reservations with them.  So I did.  My friend deemed the change in hotels to be a definite upgrade.  So we were booked to fly in and out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport  on American Airlines and to stay at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. Next I purchased tickets for her play of choice – ‘The Lion King.’

The plans were made and over the next few weeks things began to arrive and were saved in an ultra thick plastic envelope. Our itinerary was changed and rechanged. I added addresses to every place we were going….or might go. I even found a website that would give you approximate cab fares to each of those places just so we would have enough cash with us at all times. I found a purse and backpack that suited each of us and mentally packed and repacked the luggage we were planning to use.

Being the theater semi-geek that I am, I really struggled with that extra night we’d set aside for a ‘nice’ restaurant and the day we’d set aside to shop and walk around. My favorite actress was appearing in a play written by a writer I enjoy with an actor I always liked so maybe we should…?? But reviews of that play mentioned the profanity in the dialog and the darkness of the story so maybe not with my 17 year old. Ticket prices were WAY out of our range anyway. Another play maybe?? ‘Annie’ was good….but we’d just seen a high school production of that. A good friend recommended ‘Peter and the Star Catchers’ but the timing was off for that one. SO many other musicals that looked good……

But I decided to relax and let go. She was more interested in experiencing the city than sitting in a theater anyway. Our itinerary was good. Our four days were actually pretty full.

I was a very good planner.

However, April 1st loomed and we still hadn’t received what I’d been waiting for the most – tickets for the first play I’d booked. Panic time.

I tried tracking them down with emails and phone calls. The delivery had apparently happened weeks before. In an unmarked envelope. Ugh. I truly thought $300 in tickets had been pitched as junk mail. And then my daughter was cleaning out the car and found an unopened envelope with a New York postmark. ‘Matilda’ tickets. Yes! Into the bag they went and we were good to go. Everything was in its place. Every carefully planned move was solidified.

New York City…here we come!

But, as the saying goes, people plan….and God laughs.

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