Georgia Bound: 1 – New York

April 22, 2011: Providence, Rhode Island – Amtrak StationSea Shepherd tattoo

“Are you an artist?” the gift store clerk asked as she observed the Sea Shepherd logo on my forearm, shirt and hat.

“No,” I replied. “I’m an activist.” Things happen for a reason. I felt reassured that I was on the right track when I was able to get this lady into the loop. She was familiar with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, but now she would be more involved with the cause after being informed that she could follow them on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

Still, I had my doubts. During my trek from Providence to New York, I had to convince myself that I was doing the right thing. I was headed for Atlanta to be a thorn in the side of Georgia Aquarium.

I simply couldn’t handle the news of my wife wanting a divorce. She had told me this twice before and I wound up in the hospital. This time, I simply ran away. It’s not that I don’t love her. I intensely do to my very core. It’s a matter of self preservation. Little did I know just how immense of a mistake I had made.

April 22, 2011: New York, NY

I disembarked at Penn Station and headed up the stairs. I assumed that my train to Georgia would pick me up at the same spot. I waited for a while in the immediate area and then decided that I should ask someone if I were in the right place. I headed up another flight of stairs and approached a man behind glass. “This is the subway,” he informed me. “You have to go down there,” he instructed, pointing to the stairwell I had just ascended. Well, he should know. He obviously was from New York and he worked here. How could I go wrong? I went back to the same area to continue the duration of my two-hour layover.

While waiting, it was impossible not to notice anxious locals. Many of them would literally run from the subway exit on their way to catch another train. Silly New Yorkers! Always in a hurry. I was entertained by them until ten minutes before my trains departure, when I saw no mention of my connection on any of the electronic boards. Finally, I asked a local if I were in the right place. I was not! Toting a full backpack and the largest suitcase that Amtrak would allow, I began to run through the station past multiple shops and eateries. I could only surmise that a few people observed me thinking, Silly New Yorkers! Always in a hurry!

New York City Pennsylvania AveAscending a few flights of stairs, I finally came into an immense area that was the heart of the station. I found someone in uniform and inquired about my train. I had missed it by three minutes! The next departure to Georgia would not be until the next day. I was finally going to see New York City.

Upon exiting the terminal, I found myself in the heart of Madison Square Garden. Just across the street, there was a hotel which turned out to be booked solid. They informed me that there were more hotels in the area, so I headed out via their instructions. Negotiating street vendors and heavy pedestrian traffic, I made my way to hotel after hotel to find that there were no vacancies. I headed back to Amtrak. If I had to sleep there I would.

I called my Facebook friend, Kayla, in Georgia who was assisting me with my relocation. She called every hotel in the area until she found a place where I could stay. I headed back to where I had been searching. Had I gone thirty more feet in my trek, I would have come to the most expensive La Quinta Inn that I have ever encountered. After dishing out $500 (with deposit), I was finally booked into a place for the night. No wonder people sleep on the streets in this city! It’s cost efficient!

I was famished. Leaving my luggage in my overpriced room, I was back on the sidewalk headed for a Subway that I had

NYC

A Lovely View

noticed near the train terminal. En route to Madison Square Garden for the third time in a day, I found out that all New Yorkers were not always in a hurry. Of the entire native population, there are probably a dozen people that prefer to take a casual stroll through the Big Apple. These particular individuals were walking right in front of me! My hunger increased.

I’ve heard that New York has a population of eleven-million. I believe it. Half of them were walking around Madison Square Garden! When I finally made it to my destination, I was very disappointed to find that this particular Subway did not serve the veggie sub on whole grain that my vegan appetite anticipated. In fact, this particular establishment did not serve sandwiches at all. This particular Subway only offered the services of an underground choo choo! As country singer Johnny Lee may have put it, I was looking for grub in all the wrong places. Amidst the hordes of passers-by I was embarrassed, but no one noticed. It would seem that New Yorkers have a mortal fear of making eye contact with even one of their 11 million neighbors. I suddenly felt utterly alone.

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