Last Wednesday, I took my three daughters into Manhattan for fun and I rode the Staten Island Ferry and the subway for the first time in 12 years.
That’s right, 12 years. I used to ride it daily when I commuted to college in the late 1980s and then less frequently, but still regularly in dental school, when I lived in Manhattan for four years.
I was a little nervous the night before, hoping I’d be able to navigate some of the changes made since I was a daily straphanger in my late teens to early 20s.
At the end of the day, we made it into Manhattan and back home unscathed, using mass transit, but not before I jotted down some thoughts in my yellow notes icon on my iPhone4.
Although many items only New Yorkers will “get,” use your imagination and think of me in case you ever visit the Big Apple. So here it is. Enjoy.
Gracelyn’s 50 Random Thoughts While Riding the Staten Island Ferry and New York City Subway:
1. John F. Kennedy ferry boat looks precisely the same as it did 40 years ago.
2. I miss the shoe shine guy.
3. Why do people think it’s OK to vomit on stairwells?
4. There is no better view than Manhattan from the ferry.
5. I miss subway tokens with the cool New York cut-out in the center.
6. Commuters are unabashedly apathetic.
7. A real New Yorker does not look like the ones depicted on television.
8. New Yorkers are a very sleepy folk. Look at them. So peaceful.
9. Rector, Chambers, Franklin, Canal. I had this memorized all the way up to 138th a million years ago. And the time it took to get to each one.
10. I wonder if anyone else besides me reads the ads above the subway seats?
11. Do not lean on the doors. So it says on the doors, which I can barely read because six people are crushed up against them.
12. Zooming subway sounds are rhythmic, almost soothing.
13. Nobody makes eye contact.
14. Be concerned if anyone DOES make eye contact.
15. If I swabbed a sample of the subway pole onto a petri dish, would I be horrified?
16. I need to give this guy across from me my business card. Heck, I’ll even do it pro bono.
17. I always imagined in a parallel universe I’d have two kids and name them Christopher and Sheridan. If you rode the #1, you’d know where I got that idea from.
18. Walking down the stairs to the subway platform, I was a little nervous. Sitting down on this orange subway seat, I feel like my old New Yorker self again.
19. They should pipe in music in subway cars.
20. Memories of mending my broken heart while sitting on the #1 with my Walkman blaring in my ears are flooding back to me right now.
21. I miss Walkmans.
22.The hot smell that wafts in when the subway door opens is … umm … interesting.
23. The Sbarro’s at the 34th Street subway platform used to be very good, as unappetizing as an underground Sbarro’s sounds.
24. The touristy couple across from me are in love. Ahhh … young love.
25. Some New Yorkers are very fit. Note to self: Go jogging tonight.
26. The 23rd and 28th Street stops are too close together. What, you can’t walk 5 blocks?
27. The “man purse” has become very popular, of late. And it’s European!
28. Senior citizens are really quite the hip demographic in New York City.
29. If one of my flip-flops ever flopped onto the rails, I’d be doomed. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to walk on this icky platform barefoot. OK, maybe you could.
30. Note to self: Don’t lose Metro card. 30a. Where is my Metro card?
31. Can the announcer guy be more muffled, please? I can’t understand a word you’re saying and you’re just distracting me from writing these notes.
32. Everyone has an iPhone. Or an iPad. Or both. I think that baby is downloading a Barney app right now.
33. Zombies, every last one of them (… as I type this furiously into my iPhone)!
34. Gnarly, skeevy wooden benches on the subway platform that I would never be caught dead sitting on in the above-ground world are a major coup in the depths of the city subways.
35. Bloomberg needs to stop regulating soda size and start mandating deodorant use on hot days.
36. Stepping off the express and hopping onto a waiting local is akin to hitting Lotto.
37. I’m pretty sure this guy at 9 o’clock has lice.
38. The time I fell asleep on the N line and woke up in Brooklyn was frightful when I was in college. Note to self: Stay alert.
39. What, no free Wi-Fi?
40. I love how Europeans dress. And I love this gal’s outfit, sitting across from me.
41. It used to be only the first five cars opened at the South Ferry station.
42. Subway car hopping is very dangerous. And fun. I’m glad all 10 cars open now.
43. I really love New York.
44. New Yorkers take New York for granted. Why isn’t everyone wearing a camera necklace?
45. Why did they have to stop allowing cars on the ferry?
46. In 40 years as a New Yorker, I’ve never used the ladies room on the ferry. Ever.
47. Melanie Griffith used to be very pretty in “Working Girl.”
48. Lady Liberty never gets old.
49. My children will never know the old Manhattan skyline. Never forget.
50. New Yorkers are the coolest people in the world.