I'm in New York right now for blogher, but this is not my first time in the city or even the first time that Jon and I have been there together.
Way back when Jon and I were barely out of high school my parents let us tag along on a trip to New York City. They were there for a wedding but they pretty much just let us run around the streets and explore while they wined and dined. In retrospect, that was pretty cool of them. So thanks my parents, for doing that one thing one time with your teenage daughter and that guy who was just her boyfriend.
I had only one specific goal for our trip and that was going to see the original Sideshow at Coney Island. I don't really know how it in my head that this was very important, but seeing real freaks in a sideshow sounds pretty awesome so that's probably why. Also, teenagers. Also, some things never change.
The second morning we two poor, misguided young people went down to the concierge desk at the hotel and asked him to call us a cab. When I told him what we wanted to do he kind of gave me a funny look out of the side of his eye. "Ah- you want to go where?" but I insisted, and then I insisted again, and lo and behold ten minutes later we were in a taxi speeding out of town on a bridge towards my best vacation ever.
I had no idea where Coney Island was in relation to Midtown, because there wasn't a googlin' maps then, so we drove and we drove and we drove and the meter went up and up and up but whatever, I was living the damn dream. Finally we pulled up along an empty street near the beach and he tossed us unceremoniously out of the car. He took approiximately a guhgillion dollars from my pockets and drove off without another word.
It was a cloudy afternoon and Jon and I walked along the boardwalk checking out the empty beach. We ate Nathan's hot dogs and then we went to the Sideshow. Yes, it was everything I dreamed it would be. I mean I guess, it was just a big wooded room with weirdos in it, so if that's your dream, dream it baby. But we were not disappointed to see some good old fashioned fire eating and nail-bed walking and fake-mermaid skeletons – I MEAN REAL MERMAIDS – and dudes liftin' stuff with their balls. This was more than ten years ago, so I can't vouch for it these days, but hey it's still open, so go see for yourself.
After trucking around the New York Aquarium for an hour we had seen all the boardwalk magic we thought we could see in one day. It was time to head back to the isle of Manhattan. Except we couldn't anywhere, for the life of us, find a damn cab. And waaaaaaay back in the beginning is where all the New Yorkers said, "Oh god." because there is no way in satan's hell that you're going to find a cab willing to drive you back into the city from Coney Island.
We wandered aimlessly around the streets and I grew increasingly panicked about ever reaching the HOOOOO fucking hotel again HOOOOO and we'll never get home HOOOO and I needed to stop and HOOOOO breath into a paper hotdog bag.
We walked in circles and called cab companies and poked around alleyways and I even thought about calling my parents back in Midtown but I'm not sure exactly how they could have helped. Finally we found the 60th Precinct of the New York Police and went inside. Actually, Jon went inside and I stayed outside because I'm terrified of strangers. Then he got to utter every tourist's most feared statement, "SO uh, hey, we're lost."
(Lost is really incorrect, because I knew exactly where we were, so really more like trapped, TRAPPED LIKE RATS IN A FAR-AWAY CAGE.)
"You... uh... you took a taxi? Out here?"
"Oh there's no way anybody will take you back, not at this time of day. You could take the train. Hey, Jimmy, what train should they take to get back to Midtown?"
"The N? Or the F?"
"I thought it was the D."
"Well, try one of those. Good luck!"
It was very reassuring. Really. The laughing was too.
Luckily the train station was just up the corner and luckily it's fucking easy to ride a train. We zipped back into the city without any trouble, because turns out we can read signs like a mofo. Signs! Helping Yous! When we finally got back to the hotel it was just enough adventure to make us feel like adventuring adventurers and also idiots, so the perfect amount.
Meeeeemories, do do do do do do do.
In any case if you need me to meet you somewhere I'll be on the subway. Taxis are for suckers.