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I Love New York

The phone rang in the office...a friend asking if I would like to go see a play she was contemplating backing. I was in the office on Long Island and thought that I would take the trip into Manhattan by car. First mistake of the day, but I wanted to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, have cocktails and dinner, plus the play. You know, a fun day and evening on Broadway.

The Long Island Expressway was a breeze; so was the mid-town tunnel. Enter Manhattan and it is now the land of Holy Gridlock. Getting from the east side to the west side and just 12 blocks up town took 1 hour and 15 minutes. Buses and cabs cut you off in a New York minute; making driving a hair-raising experience.

I put the car in a garage (there is no street parking whatsoever) and walked the 4 short blocks down to Barrymores, nerves frayed. I had an hour and a half to kill so I had a few pints before I had to retrieve the car ($12.00) and head back across town to Park and 35th. I waited in the car for my date but I didn't see her, so I walked over to the doorman to ask a question. No sooner did I turn around when I saw a towtruck issuing me a ticket. My immediate thought was, Oh well, it's a rental, as long as they don't tow me.

Another frazzling hour and 10 minutes in this God-forsaken traffic as we headed to the Upper West Side. I caught a glimpse of the tree at Rockefeller Center along the way. Finding street parking once we arrived at our destination was impossible so it was back into another garage. I mean, it's not midtown, how much could it cost?

We found this Japanese restaurant on Broadway and 74th and had a delightful and delicious meal, about 20 bucks each with a glass of wine. No cutlery. Long ago I had lost my skills with chopsticks, but somehow, I got through it. Off to the theatre.

We enjoyed the play somewhat. Fine acting by the cast. But I don't know if my ladyfriend is about to invest money into a play about incest. She asked me what I thought. I simply said, "Ya need a write-off?" Immediately, I thought, I know what's going to happen. It's going to move from Off-Broadway to Broadway and everyone is going to make a million dollars and she'll never talk to me again.

At the garage the attendent told me my 3 and 1/2 hour parking fee was $32.00 and there was a little jug directly in front of her for tips.

At 11 P.M. I knew the traffic would be a breeze going downtown. Wrong. The nightmare continued. Another hour of frayed nerves with dodging buses, taxis and bicyclists. My date says calmly, "You're almost on empty." Oh God. Just what I need.

Finding a gas station in Manhattan is no easy chore, especially at midnight, but I managed to find one, fill up and head over to the mid-town tunnel. I turned on the radio to 1010 Wins news and I'm informed that there is an hour delay due to traffic. My God. Will this day ever end?

Somehow, I headed back uptown and found a parking spot which became available and usable after midnight. I checked my watch and also read the streetsigns carefully, making sure I was not in a tow-zone. That would be the final straw.

Over to Barrymores for a pint then to Joe Allen's to try and unwind with another pint. After an hour it's back to the car for a long tedious 1 1/2 hour ride home. (this normally takes 45 minutes...yes, traffic.) For some reason, roads are closed at this hour with all kinds of detours. And I thought...It just won't end!.

I got home at 2:30 in the morning exhausted, had a Heinekin, checked e-mail, and then crashed.

That night I dreamt I was attacked by someone with mace. He was trying to spray it in my eyes and he also had a hammer in his other hand. I wrestled him to the ground, and then put my knee into his throat. He swung the hammer but I caught it and leveled the handle against his adam's apple and watched him try to breathe as I applied inhuman pressure. It was survival of the fittest. When I saw him take his last breath, his eyes rolled, and I knew he was dead. Startled, I awoke soaked in a cold sweat. And, of course, I'm late for work.

I love New York!

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