Long, long ago … when 1990 was the old year and 1991 held all sorts of potential, Carol and I and our friend Tracy trekked to New York City for the weekend. Carol had been there several times and one of her best friends lived in Manhattan. Her friend Carolyn, was back in Iowa for the holidays, so we had an apartment to stay in, making the trip very affordable. I’d never seen the city and couldn’t wait for the experience. I wanted it all … and I got it.
Cockroaches … I’d never seen anything like it, but they scattered when we entered the apartment and turned on the light. People were everywhere … honestly, maybe the cockroaches outnumbered the humans, but I’m not sure. It was intense.
We got there on Saturday, December 29 and had two and a half days to grab as much of the city as we could. From morning to night, we moved. I got to see the top of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Battery Park. We ran through the Metropolitan Museum of Art (so sad), checked out Macy’s and ate at some fabulous restaurants. We had tickets to see “A Few Good Men” on Broadway, went to Sardis and had homemade wine coolers. The bartender was awesome. We were there while it was practically empty because the theaters had yet to release all of their patrons. He was entranced with three silly girls from Iowa and gave us glass Sardis ash trays … as well as matches.
Since it was cold, snowy and ugly weather, most street vendors were safely tucked inside their homes. I did miss out on all of that, but I purchased an inexpensive necklace for a friend of mine and stuck it down in my coat pocket. Now, I was enough of a paranoid young woman that I carried very little. My wallet was tucked in my jeans pocket and trust me, if anyone could get it out of that pocket with those tight jeans, I was going to have a heckuva thrill. My cash was in my bra, which would lead to yet another thrill if someone attempted to find it.
However, when I got home and reached in the coat pocket to pull out the necklace, I realized that I had been pickpocketed at some point during the day and I just laughed. It was a $5 necklace and the opportunity to have that happen in NYC was worth the five dollars. I had a story.
We braved the crowds on the subway and made it to Times Square for the dropping of the ball on New Year’s Eve. The only problem was that the crowd was so overwhelming, there was no possibility of getting closer than about eight or ten blocks (NYC blocks) from the action. All we saw was a tiny little ball of light off in the distance. We were packed into the area like sardines in a can. Carol, Tracy and I held on to each other with all that we had so we wouldn’t get lost. Carol was carrying a bag of amazing bagels that were smashed to nothing by the time we got back to the apartment. I had more people’s hands on my body that night than even imaginable and I just laughed at the joy of our crazy decisions.
We rode the subway back to our stop. It was quiet, people had stayed downtown to party or were already home and asleep. We crashed until the next morning when we packed and headed for the airport and our trip back to a more sane and quiet world.
It’s hard to believe that was over twenty years ago. I was such a kid then (I’d just turned thirty-one, are you kidding me, Diane?). I’ve never been back.
I don’t know if I need to go back. I loved that trip. I loved the experiences. I loved shopping in Greenwich Village, getting lost in Soho and having a cabbie haul us out as fast as possible. I loved being lost on the old 42nd Street and feeling a little fear at the people who were watching us. I loved knowing that we stuck out as tourists – there was no way we could fit in as natives, we were so innocent. But, everyone we encountered was wonderful and helpful.
I don’t need to go back. It’s now a memory and a few great stories, but I’m glad that there is a New Year’s Eve in my past that is filled with adventure and fun.
Happy New Year!