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"Postmortem" on NYC Trip

Maybe the first word in the title is inappropriate. :-)

My wife and I had a good time. We got a hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Secaucus and took the bus in. Being from the midwest (Ohio) I was far more comfortable with this than driving into town.

One note is that the bus commute can be a PITA. The NJ Transit busses can be standing room only going in even in the late morning and going out of the city in the evening.

The ride from Secaucus to the Port Authority bus terminal is brief (10 min or so, it feels like) so that's a saving grace.

NY is eminently walkable. NJ not so. In fact, NJ seems to have a total "FU" attitude toward pedestrians with no crosswalks and no sidewalks in areas where you'd perhaps need to walk. The bus picked up right in front of the hotel. But the dropoff at night was across a service road from the hotel and amounted to pedestrian "Frogger" to get back across the street. And one night, we almost missed our stop when the !@&** bus driver started again before we could make our way past the several standees inside the bus.

Sidenote 1: how in the hell did New Jersey get to be the way it is? Everywhere else in the country a freeway is "on and off" and the patterns of use that lead up to it are obvious. The NJTP in particular is way bizarre with its ramps, curlicues, service roads,  etc.  And the procedure of a person handing out the toll ticket (the PA turnpike uses machines) gives me the impression of a state majorly into featherbedding. In fact, the idea of a major road like the NJTP with no alternative routes being toll is totally obnoxious, a real Jersey thing to have. ;-)

Sidenote 2: does anyone think that founding an anti-environmental activist group called the "Secaucus Club" would make sense? Dedicated especially to preserving that deliciously nauseating smell of propane along the NJ turnpike. :-)

Sidenote 3: The "smells" in NYC - urine, yes; also, a kind of soured milk + garbage smell wafting from some alleys was worse to me; and around the fringes of Central Park, the smell of rancid burning fat from thousands of hot dog carts.

Sidenote 4: We walked all over midtown and downtown. No sense of personal  danger at any time. Police presence VERY obvious.

Sidenote 5: we were at Battery Park waiting for a tour bus within 1/2 hour of the Staten Island ferry disaster this past week. Talk about feeling personally fortunate!

Sidenote 6: I got a real kick out of eating the best barbecue I'd ever had at "Virgil's".

The next trip, proximity and guaranteed walkability to a train station might be something to watch for, but I think we will lean heavily toward a hotel in town. And probably fly in. Operating a car anywhere around Manhattan just seems like a lousy idea.

Bored Bystander
Friday, October 17, 2003

GREAT! I'm glad you had a good time in NYC.

My thinking is that like NYC, NJ was established too early for any real experience of best practices for things like transportation.

Virgil's - COOL! I used to eat there from time to time with my friend who worked around the corner.

And *phew* on the ferry thing.

The alternative to the NJ Tpke is the Garden State.
Friday, October 17, 2003

On your note 3:

Are you sure that was the smell of burning fat from hot dogs? When I first visited NYC I kept detecting a smell that I couldn't place; turns out it was just the smell of charcoal from the carts. I didn't expect to smell that suburban/outdoorsy smell in the middle of NYC.

On my own sidenote: I was absolutely amazed that some busybody hadn't already passed a rule outlawing the use of charcoal in the city. There's hope for America yet!

Rob VH
Monday, October 20, 2003

Maybe it was burning charcoal. I noticed it when I first visited NYC in July, 1976 - you could smell it at the top of the Empire State Building. But it had an overtone that (to my nose) wasn't just the charcoal, it was a burning food or grease smell.

Bored Bystander
Monday, October 20, 2003

burning coal perhaps. (ny pizza = coal oven) and trash incenerators in many buildings.

new ones are outlawed.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Yes, those incinerators in old buildings are pretty nasty.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Bored - why not stay in the city proper? We stayed in a decent place on 57th for Thanksgiving (Macy's Parade!) and had a great time.


Monday, October 27, 2003

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