Monday, January 6, 2014

A Tale of Two (Bipolar) Cities Part 2

I can only describe day 2 in New York City as a Key and Peele skit.

Have you seen the comedy duo of Key and Peele? Have you seen the skit where they dress up as high-pitched, flighty girls in wigs and heels and walk around saying things like 'uh-uh' with a fling of their heads? I can only describe us as those girls on that fateful, disastrous day.

Waking up in starry-eyed surprise at the fact that we were in NEW YORK CITAY! made us both giddy and excited. So when we left the hotel, we were resolved not to waste a single moment and began talking about all the things that we could do. But the problem with that, in a city that size, is that we could have spent the day talking about it until we were blue in the face and still miss things on the list. So we settled for the girliest thing we could do: we went shopping.

Well, we tried. The constant stop and go of the day was dictated by the overwhelming amount of choice and crowds everywhere. We failed to understand that Macys has two sets of buildings that cross over, and depending on which entrance you come in, different things will be on different floors. Bebe was lined up for days for change rooms and tiny girls waited an hour to try on less than a yard of fabric. Victoria Secret was so large and full that I could no longer see products and huge high def TVs were playing the VS fashion show and their famous multi million dollar bra with crystals. As if I didn't feel inadequate enough with images of glamazons strutting around in inescapably larger than life resolution. I walked away dazed, with no purchase, wanting ice cream.

We spent the day exhausting ourselves running to and from shops and waiting in lines for service. Finally, we decided to dress up for our big night out. We planned to make our way to Rockefeller so that we could see the tree and the skating rink, find the Michael Kors flagship store, head to the Waldorf-Astoria for a drink in their lounge bar and then find a sushi restaurant for dinner. More and more plans were added, as we talked about bars and lounges and other after after places we could go- the way we figured it, the city didn't sleep, why should we?

Then the comedy of critical errors began.

We began by confirming our plans with the hotel concierge at the New Yorker Hotel. The lady at the desk airily informed us that the only hotel bar that was worthwhile was the Oak Room in the Plaza, where 'everyone' went. Of course, I've heard of the Plaza, who hasn't, and with that information in our minds, we changed gears. We promptly got caught in traffic, dropped off way before our stop, got lost, got cold dressed in heels and short dresses like Key and Peele's flighty girls, and got picked up by an unscrupulous, fast-talking rickshaw who proceeded to take us for a ride- a very expensive, pointless ride. Because as it turns out, the Oak Room has been closed for 3 years and the Plaza, due to security concerns, only allows hotel guests with a room key to drink in their bar. All things that would have been helpful to know, like the fact that the rickshaw we took was a crook.

In retrospect, of course, it's easy to say that we should have known better or that we should have verified the information ahead of time or never taken a rickshaw. But we did what a lot of people do in situations like this: we trusted the wrong people. I've gotten advice before from hotel concierges; in fact, I've received excellent service from them in the past in various Fairmont hotels I've stayed at over the years. Why not trust the concierge in New York City? My best friend had previously taken a rickshaw in the past in New York City- how were we to know that this one was crooked? And sure, we could have made a scene or tried to flag down a cop or report the crook- but how could we know that they would take our side or even assist us? Let the buyer beware, after all.

With heavy hearts and significantly lighter pocketbooks, we cabbed back to the hotel, got dressed up like normal people and went to the Irish Pub around the corner for some pints and food. It was a night of excitement and hope that ended in the most banal matter possible and very far from the glitzy image in our minds of our night on the town. It felt like being punched in the gut on the happiest day. I suppose the positive of this is that I learned some very important lessons about the big bad city and the whole thing about trust.

I got a big bite of the Big Apple that night- but the part I got was bruised.

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