WE ARE IN NEW YORK!!!!
Rather uneventful day that, overall, went pretty smoothly. We got up early, got packed, and had a leisurely breakfast @ G's Pancake House. We got on the road and we at the Airport by 1:00pm for our 3:00 flight. TSA security lines were the longest I've ever seen in Nashville, maybe the longest at any airport. It took a good while to make it through security, but no issues. Grabbed an afternoon snack at the La Hacienda; had some veggie nachos. Pretty decent if spendy.
Our flight was a little late leaving Nashville, but still got to JFK on time and without any notable events. It was quiet and quick.
When we got to JFK, we made our way to Baggage Claim and had our bag within 5 minutes. Stepped out side, crossed a street and was on the AirTrain within a few more minutes. Almost too easy.
The ride from the AirTrain to Howard Beach was also quick and easy, but when we got to Howard Beach we ran into the only problem we've had thus far. I knew that we had to pay $5 for the AirTrain ride, and that the week-long unlimited subway passes are about $30. I got us new MetroPass cards with enough credits to pay to exit the AirTrain area, but I could not figure out how to pay for the unlimited subway pass afterward. Someone working at the exit told us which machine to go use to get the unlimited pass, but it didn't have the option. We ended up just getting $10 on our cards to get to Brooklyn. We'll deal with the passes tomorrow.
We ran down to catch the subway. As we were standing waiting on the train, I could hear this woman making her way down the stairs loudly talking on her phone. Before she rounded the corner, I could hear her yelling that she was "going to go down there and beat his ass. He's hitting my niece! I don't even give a fuck!" It was pretty crazy... Welcome to New York!
I knew that the A-Train ended somewhere near the stop we were on, and I was pretty sure our boarding place was the last stop. When the train pulled up, though, it seemed like it was going the wrong way. I got very confused. Things got a little heated as we thought we might miss the train and I told Karen I didn't think it was the right train. I asked a passing women, and she insured us it was going toward Manhattan. Jumped on, and promptly waited like 8 minutes for it to start moving. haha!
We got to our stop in Bed-Stuy and hopped off the train. Emerging from underground was a great experience. I always love climbing from beneath the earth into a strange new place. This was a great assualt on the senses. It was loud, bright and had a smell of a big city. We popped out, and I immediately knew which way we needed to go, thanks to one-way streets. Our walk to the apartment was a nice exposure to the neighborhood. Lots of bodegas, pizza joints, Caribbean grocers, as well as a book store, wine cellar, bar, etc. Bed-Stuy is an Afro-Caribbean neighborhood that has gone through a revitalization in the last several years. It's traditionally a Jamaican and Senegalese neighborhood, and there is still a lot of this influence in the area, including a bunch of old dread-locked Rastafarian dudes walking around. Really, really cool vibe!
Our apartment is really great. It's in an old brownstone and has 12 foot ceilings, these wonderful hardwood floors and incredible wood shutters and cabinetry that looks like it is really old. After being shown the room by the owner, Ray(really friendly guy), we unloaded our stuff and decided to head out for some food.
We wandered around, but by now it was 9:00pm. We popped into a Jamaican Bakery/Restaurant, but it looked like it was closing. They had a cool looking menu with veggie and soy patties (empenadas, LOVE THEM!) but the cases were all empty. We decided to head across the street and grab some pizza instead. I had a veggie slice and a white pizza slice. Karen had cheese and buffalo chicken. Karen loved the buffalo chicken, and I was very impressed with the veggie pizza. It cost us $10 for four slices and 2 cokes. And everyone says food in NYC is expensive! Whatever! (I know that it's going to be different elsewhere, but still)
We popped into a grocery on the way home. It's pretty crazy how much stuff can be shoved into these little stores. We grabbed some snacks and water, and decided to head back to the apartment. Nothing terribly exciting today, but a long day none-the-less.
Tomorrow, we are planning on having brunch at the cool little cafe, Ms. Dahlias, around the corner, and then head in to Manhattan. I think we are going to hit up the Southern end of the island tomorrow, see the 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Little China....