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Monday, September 29, 2008


It’s cloudy, dank and dismal outside and, if that weren’t enough, it’s raining. Not a regular rain with big drops that quickly add up to water, but one of those Midwestern, fall rains that just spit and hiss cold spray into your face and waft wetness over everything else, quickly soaking one to the bone. That’s what we awakened to at 6:00 on Sunday morning, as we made ready to go to the Big Apple; Gotham City; New York City, New York.

The weather forecast had promised that the rain wouldn’t arrive in Philly until late in the afternoon. The cold front, however, made liars out of the weathermen (what a surprise!) and decided to come in about 8 hours early. Fortunately, Kim and I had packed the night before, putting everything in our backpacks. So, when we saw the conditions outside, we had only to dress, throw on our foul weather jackets, grab our umbrellas and make the three-block hike to the subway station. Once underground, we would never be exposed to the elements until our arrival in Manhattan.

Public transportation is a really great thing. Not the cramped, smelly buses that small towns and cities pass off as public transportation, but subways, light rail trains and intrastate passenger rail service; real public transportation. For our trip to NYC, we boarded the subway at about 7:15 AM and rode it for 28 blocks to the center of Philly. At Center City Station, we boarded a South East Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) train, at 7:28 AM, and took it to Trenton, NJ, arriving around 9:15 AM. At Trenton, we had to wait a whole 15 minutes before boarding the New Jersey Transit Authority (NJTA) train that dropped us at Penn Station, in midtown Manhattan, around 10:40 AM. Once in Manhattan, we rode around town on the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) subway system, stopping for a quick lunch in Times Square, and arrived at our hotel, at 51st St. and Lexington Ave., just after 12:00 noon. So, instead of 97 miles by car and two hours behind the wheel in rain and traffic, paying tolls and having to find places to park each day, we just sat back, and for $21 each, left the driving to the engineers on the trains. Boy, do we love Public Transportation!!

With our trip to NYC safely completed, Kim and I checked into our hotel and got rid of our packs. Then, we walked the short distance to Central Park, where we took a horse and carriage ride around the park. After the tour, we walked around the city a bit and finally returned to the hotel and retired to our room around 6:30 PM. There, we spent the rest of the evening looking at brochures and planning the next day’s activities. Tomorrow? Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

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