In The Company of Strangers

Yesterday my daughter in law and I spent the day in NYC. I love that in this part of the country we can bebop to big cities and enjoy all they have to offer and then return home to our quiet farm on the same day. We had a delightful day. My DIL had not been to New York since she was in middle school and it was fun to watch her experience it as an adult.

Our goal for the day was not the usual touristy things, although we did stick our heads in Saks and Tiffany’s (I mean, really…..she hadn’t been in NYC as a woman and we like that kind of stuff. Can’t afford to shop there, but love to look!)

I showed her my favorite place for a healthy, cheap meal in Midtown—Trump Tower’s basement grille. (NYC Tip # 1) We went to FAO Schwartz and I’ll just confess it right now….we did some dreaming about when we’ll bring my grandbabies there to see all the toys and walk/jump on the big piano (from the movie BIG). One of the many things I love about my dear DIL is that she goes there with me…dreaming about the babies to come!

We spent most of the day in Lower Manhattan (my fav part) in Greenwich Village for a few hours and had lunch there at a new place called Umami Burgers. (NYC Tip #2) Fabulous gourmet (meaning not cheap) burgers…I was the oldest person in the place. (But I walked with confidence over to the wall outlet to plug in my iPhone-so hey, I’m cool!)

Well, as cool as someone my age can be wearing a hammer toe orthotic with my Born sandals.

We had reservations for a two hour walking tour of SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown to start at 2pm. It was fabulous- I learned so much about my favorite area of Manhattan and now will be a dedicated groupie to the Free Walking Tours (you tip after tour) of wherever I roam in this world. Along with 23 people from 7 countries we pounded pavement –a fabulous way to really see and understand these neighborhoods. (NYC Tip # 3)

OK, so far in the day…so good.

Here is a BIG tip from me for the next time you are in NYC. (And I should know this one, because it happened to me about 4 years ago as well.) Never, ever, ever…..for as long as you can possibly help it—-EVER get caught in Lower Manhattan after 4pm when you need to be on the bus at Rockefeller Plaza to head for home at 6:00. ( NYC Tip # 4)


My DIL and I started about 4:30 trying to hail a cab…pricey, but I HATE the Subway during peak hours. HATE. IT. Trouble was, there were no cabs around. Not even cabs already in use. NO CABS.

After 10 minutes of waiting to spy a cab, this black, beat up Lincoln Town Car pulled up, the driver trying to convince me he is really a cab. I am wary (remember I’m just a country girl) and something inside just said “Don’t do it.” He asked where I was going and I told him Times Square. He said “35 dollars to Times Square.”

Well, that made it easy. N to the O. NO.

As he drove off, a man came up to us and said “You did the right thing. Don’t use those cars-they will rip you off.” (NYC Tip #5) He asked where we were headed and we told him our dilemma. He and his wife, were from Cape Cod and he asked if I had ever used the bus to get around.

Now don’t think I’m a snob. I mean I got on a bus for 3 hours to get to NYC, but I never consider MTA buses….anywhere…ever. He thought it would be a great way for us to get to Midtown to meet our departure (it is now 5:05pm). This kind man and his wife walked with us to the bus stop, found out from a MTA official what bus we should take and where to get off and talked us through how to pay, etc. Then they left and went on their way.

While we are waiting for the bus, a kind lady asked what bus we were waiting for..we said the #5 bus. She had been waiting over 30 minutes for the same bus and was convinced that something was going on with the MTA system..she worked in Lower Manhattan, but lived uptown. She said that she was going to give up waiting for the bus and take the subway. It was 2 blocks away, but faster and she offered for us to go along with her. As we walked to the subway, I learned that her name was Lorraine and she worked for the Office of the Aging, had a son who lived in Northern Virginia and wanted her to come live with him, but she loves NYC and gets crazy in VA.

(Remember I’M SOUTHERN…..we talk to everybody. There is a reason that the CIA is in Virginia—we know how to get intel from folks!!!!)

Lorraine was precious in every way. She helped us purchase our tickets, sat with us on the claustiphobically crowded subway (and it got worse every stop closer to Times Square), told us where to get off and how to get to our bus. As we parted I said, “Lorraine, I pray that someday, someone repays to you the kindness you have given us.” She was our NYC angel.

My DIL and I got to the street level in Midtown at 5:40, stopped by a deli, grabbed a chicken wrap to share and 2 pieces of New York Cheesecake. (We’re late, not crazy.)

We made it to the bus with 10 minutes to spare, so thankful not to have missed our ride home. My sweet DIL made this observation as we left, “Well, New York is a lot different than I remember it, and there are some really nice people here.”

(NYC Tip # 6)


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5 Responses to In The Company of Strangers

  1. Terry Cox says:

    Wow – sounds like a great time AND God took care of you. No surprises there!!

  2. Pam says:

    You are a great tour guide! Lets go again!

  3. heidi diegel says:

    Next time take me with you 😉 The only time I was ever there was on a trip with Milligan, oh…about 16 years ago.

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