Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day Trip to the Big Apple

Esteemed Reader,

In the last post, I spoke of seeing the Twin Towers Light Memorial as we landed at Newark Liberty International. We loaded our tired carcasses in the Golden Touch Limousine that FedEx contracts with and set off for the Woodbridge Hotel and Conference Center south of Newark in Iselin, NJ.

Enroute to the hotel, the FO I am flying with – a really good guy – says these fateful words: “I heard that you can get on the train near the hotel and go to Penn Station in New York City. We oughta go have lunch there tomorrow.” It was with more than a little internal horror that I heard my voice saying: “Sure, sounds like fun.” So, Esteemed Reader, we got to the hotel around 0300 am, set our alarms for 1100 and got some rest. The hotel gave us a ride over to the Metropark station of the New Jersey Rail System and off we went to the Big Apple on an impromptu lark.

Gentle Reader, as I have reported before, I am always alert for new things to report in these travelogs. Reputable sources – people I know and trust – have reliably informed me that there are picturesque and beautiful vistas to be found in the State of New Jersey. While I can not vouchsafe that belief, I can confirm that the train from Metropark to Penn Station does not pass through any such areas. It appears to me that the train windows are heavily tinted, not to protect from the sun’s glare, but from the hideousness that is the railroad right-of-way in the vicinity of Newark, NJ. Esteemed Reader, I shall say no more and I highly recommend that you not use your imagination to fill in any details…….

We really had no goal for sight seeing in NYC – we just wanted to find a place that would sell us a nice lunch and an adult beverage. Penn Station is right underneath Madison Square Garden. Here’s yours truly posing.

Not seeing any place that excited us enough to give our patronage too, we decided to walk towards the Empire State Building (ESB) in the hopes that something would turn up.

Just underneath the ESB, we discovered Jack Dempsey’s Grill. Who can pass that up? So, we promptly entered and feasted on a fine lunch of German Sausage, sauerkraut and red cabbage. The FO actually had a Manhattan for lunch, just because he was – well – in Manhattan.

After lunch and on the spur of the moment, we decided to walk across the street and take the ESB tour. Esteemed Reader, I am sad to report that this was an error. We spent most of the tour waiting in line with bajillions of other tourists in ugly hallways and construction areas with no view outside. Once we achieved the pinnacle of the ESB’s observatory, we discovered that it was raining like – well, choose your favorite rainy cliché and insert it here - and it was windy and we spent very little time enjoying the view of midtown Manhattan from the observatory at the top of the Empire State Building.

I would not – in good conscience – recommend a tour of the Empire State Building to you, Gentle Reader. At least not until the “Under Construction For Your Viewing Pleasure!” areas are completed.

Gentle Reader, I know you can not help yourself but wonder about King Kong. Your curiosity is allayed.

Walking back from the ESB to Penn Station, I noticed this store.

Gentle Reader, I hope this does not shock you, but this store did not sell the delightful little yellow marshmallow chicks often found in Easter Baskets and microwave ovens. It would be best for us to turn our thoughts away at this juncture and give this no more attention.

At Penn Station, we discoverd that the next train was soon to leave; so we divided our efforts to great benefit. The FO went to purchase the train tickets while I went to the ubiquitous Starbucks and bought two Mocha Fraps. We returned to the lovely Iselin/Woodbridge NJ area around 5 pm that afternoon nicely caffeinated and refreshed. Esteemed Reader, while I am sure that the Big Apple has much to commend it to travelers and tourists; I found it to be an unpleasant place on a rainy and blustery day. Just thought you’d like to know in the event you need to plan a trip there.

The next morning at 0450 am, we entered another Golden Touch Limousine and were conducted to the American Airlines Terminal of the Newark Liberty Airport and from there we deadheaded to Chicago. Chicago was even rainier than the Big Apple and was also a big bust for material for one of these travelogs. I remained in my room, mostly catching up on sleep during the short layover yesterday and have nothing to report that you would care to hear.

Now I am in MD11 N613FE somewhere west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on the way back to Anchorage and Ilona’s. Tomorrow I operate to Oakland, CA with a new FO. If anything reportable occurs you will be the first to know.

I remain,

Dad / Geoff

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