Thursday, November 05, 2009

I Heart New York

I Heart New York

So I headed to NYC today to see my pal MYQ Kaplan perform stand up for a comedy central taping. In the past, I have had success parking at a Metro Station in Connecticut and taking the train in from there, about an hour ride. I have been to NYC before, so I came prepared.

I was somewhat dreading having to be in New York at this particular point in time, marinating with obnoxious, gloating Yankee fans on the verge of another world title.

Remove all Red Sox paraphernalia from sight in vehicle- check

Scatter trash in backseat to reduce likelihood anyone would expect to find anything of value in vehicle- check.

Remove cash (except three bucks to make it look good) and credit cards (except expired BJ's card and an old library card) from wallet- check

Tape credit card to inner thigh- check

Put money in sock- check

Slip shiv inside right shirt sleeve- check

Hand sanitizer- check

Ready to rock- check.

The train ride was pretty mellow, but as we got closer to New York City and Grand Central Station, I could feel it- the presence of NYC. I would have to be on guard. I wisely had left any Red Sox and/or Patriots gear in Massachusetts, so I thought as long as I kept my head and didn't pronounce anything with an “r” in it, I cold pull this trip off safely.

Arriving at Grand Central, I walk with brisk purpose even though I had no idea where I was going. After covering several city blocks only to wind up back at that same spot, I approached the information booth carefully. Speaking to the clerk in broken english, I managed, “What freakin' train do ya take to 10th and 59th? The head gasket on my freakin' Camaro is pissing oil and my old lady tells me to take the freakin' train, if you can believe it.”

The clerk eyed me, but bought the act hook, line and sinker.

“Take the shuttle to Times Square, yeah, heh? Then the one train to 59th and 8th and ya can walk the two blocks.”

I grabbed my package and half grimaced like I had bad sausage earlier in the day- so far so good.

I hopped on the shuttle, but being unaware that it was one stop, back and forth, I ping ponged a couple times before I whispered to an elderly woman, “Is this Times Square?”

I proceeded to get on the one train, but again didn't realize it was only an express train and 59th street was the first stop. I went to 66th, then reversed direction and made it back to 59th in no time. Exiting the building, I noticed there was a 58th street running parallel to 60th street, but no 59th. Was it a trap? I wasn't sure, but it didn't look good. I asked a kid with a skateboard for directions to 59th street.

He fumbled around and brought up Columbus Avenue, so I figured he was from out of town or had sustained brain damage riding the skate board. He apologized and sat on a stone bench. I read the bottom of his skateboard which had his phone number and “if found please call.” I now saw my mistake. This kid was obviously from pout of town. No New Yorker would be fool enough to think a skateboard would actually returned if lost. Secondly, if you somehow misplace a skateboard, I might side with the Big Applers and refuse to reward such stupidity with a skateboard.

I found a policeman who informed me that 59th street ended before the station. He pointed me in the right direction. I am almost there, I am early, and as yet, no major mishaps or trouble. Walking toward 59th, I spotted a Philadelphia Phillies fan coming the other direction, brazenly wearing a Phillies hat. You had to admire those Phillies cats- absolutely fearless.

He had chewing tobacco in his lip and a bulge under is jacket that said AK47. I think it was a tad big for a saw off shotgun and too small to be an uzi or some sort of bazooka. He met my eyes as I gave the slightest nod from behind my cornea, visible only to another navigating through enemy territory. He returned the nod, but it was visible. I was filled with admiration as I thought, “you crazy bastard, you'll give me away.

I maintained my cover as I made my way toward Gerald Lynch Auditorium at John Jay College, where the taping was being held. I stopped for hot nuts on the way. I hate hot nuts and have actually never eaten hot nuts, but they help you blend in. The mistake I made last time was failure to discard the nuts
when they grew cold. No "real" New Yorker would ever let his/her nuts cool.

I had time to kill before the show. making my way up to a Starbucks. As I entered the establishment, I held the door for an elderly woman behind me.

Without thinking, I had blown my cover. The old broad read I was from out of town, but from the look of fear in my eyes and her years of savvy and experience, she rightly guessed Boston. She clicked her heel, and reflective of a James Bond flick, a sharp dagger protruded from the front of her right shoe. I got my foot up for the block and she swung it toward my knee, the poisonous tip inches from breaking the skin and injecting me with instant death.

I thrust downward at the crest of her ankle, relishing the crack which preceded her groan of agony. Feigning a downward swoon, she swung upward with the tip of her cane, also seemingly tipped with some sort of of poisonous substance. I barely evaded the cane assault, gripping the shaft and twisting it around, ending her attack by thrusting the javelin-like cane into her ribcage.

There were about forty people in the Starbucks, but luckily no one noticed as they were either retrieving or ordering lattes or focused on cell phone conversations.

I left the hag's now limp body on the floor and got in live for a beverage, trying to act natural. the next few patrons casually stepped over the cadaver and stood in line. I had maintained. I ordered small mocca with one pump of chocolate. When I went to pick up my order, I absently said, "thanks". You guessed it- cover blown. the barista dropped a pumpkin spice latte and hurdled the counter. I loosened the cover of my steaming latte, hurling toward the face of the charging coffeeman. buying myself a few seconds, I fled toward the door, hoping the old lady's body on the floor had not yet garnered attention.

As I wheeled around the corner, I reduced my pace to a steady gait, blending in with the foot traffic east on 59th street. I had escaped a fatal situation with ease. Perhaps a little too easy, I thought. Easing toward the theater, content to wait in the lobby at this point, I began to relax a bit the farther I got from the donnybrook in Starbucks.

With about a block to go, a heard a strange sound coming from a side street not much bigger than a narrow alley. It stopped me in my tracks. "Was that a baby crying?" I wondered. Curiosity and concern got the better of me and I headed down the slim side street to investigate. The sound seemed to be coming from behind a discarded cardboard box. I rounded the box and was stunned to see an abandoned baby carriage. The cries were consitent. As I closed on the carriage, a fluffy pink blanket appeared to cover the baby. As I peeled it back, I realized a moment too late that I had been set up.

A small tape recorder played the soft cries of a baby over and over. I did a double take as the baby sprang to its feet, not a baby at all, but rather a midget wielding a home made weapon. The angry dwarf lunged at me with the home-fashioned shank. The device appeared to be comprised of the handle of a pacifier attached to a bic pen welded to a toothbrush handle. The toothbrush had been melted down, then honed into a spike to form the business end of the weapon. I snapped to a bit late, as the thrust winged my cheek.

"I'm gonna send you back to beantown in a bawdy bag, punk."

I thrust forward a palm-heel to the forehead of the fake baby, rendering him unconscious. Using my latte napkin to pad the blood from my cheek, I quickly exited the alleyway and headed toward the theater.

The show came off without a hitch. At some point during the warm, I recalled George Constanza's strategy of looking annoyed to appear busy. I wondered if I could use the same strategy to blend in as a native New Yorker. As I walked to the train, I remembered all the incoveniences of the trip: not being able to park at the first train station I went to and having to find a second, not being allowed to sit in the library at John Jay Colege because I wasn't a student or police officer, the internet connection not working, no seats at Starbucks. I genuinely grew irritated as I thought about, adopting a tightness around my lips and stiffened brow. As I walked through Grand Central Station, I noticed the locals warming up to me, giving occasional nod.

I made it home in one piece, end of story.


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