This week, I had the privilege of covering the New York International Auto Show on behalf of The Truth About Cars. Certainly I was thrilled to see the new concept cars, and to meet fellow journalists/free-food moochers..but I was truly geeked simply to visit New York City.
Indeed, it was my first trip to the city. Despite being a days’ drive away from home, I can’t believe I’ve never visited in my 37+ years.
Despite having never been, New York was familiar – as the backdrop to so much of our media and culture, I felt instantly at home. I expected John Munch and Odafin Tutuola to roll up and nab some perv in front of me at any time.
So, in the minimal time between my required duties as a freelance automotive journalist, I set out to explore what many call the greatest city on earth.
I didn’t see enough.
I drove by One World Trade Center briefly, reflecting on the September morning when I walked into the break room at Home Depot to see the TV turned to CNN. I saw a few landmarks, but never actually glimpsed the Statue of Liberty. Much of my time was spent on the subway, between the Javits Center and our AirBnB in Park Slope..so I experienced New Yorkers more so than New York.
I never ventured into Central Park. I saw the southern edge from Central Park West, briefly from an Uber. Otherwise I never went above 34th Street except when driving up the West Side Highway to leave via the George Washington Bridge..which I chose since it’s the only toll-free westbound crossing of the Hudson.
I did have pizza in SoHo.
I had a Sabrett hot dog with kraut and mustard.
I did gorge on pastrami at Katz’s Delicatessen. I prefer the full sour pickles to the half-sours. I did (breaking my streak) have a soda, a Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda.
I only Instagrammed this one photo..no Meg Ryan fake orgasms or anything, I promise. Turns out the Jewish Auto Writers Society was celebrating a Seder in the back of the restaurant, and I didn’t want to call attention to myself negatively in front of people who might want to buy my work someday.
My feet hurt. Turns out that when you spend four dollars on a pair of dress shoes when a store is closing, you shouldn’t expect to wear them for over twelve years. I’ve been home for over twelve hours, and I still can’t walk correctly.
Besides the admittedly-outrageous costs, perhaps the biggest thing keeping me from visiting more frequently is indeed a big thing: Pennsylvania. I’d forgotten how the six hours it takes to drive across the state feels like an eternity. I did notice that there are fewer dead deer on the roadways in PA than in Ohio – I think they pass out in the ditch from boredom rather than attempt crossing the road.
Despite my barking dogs, I enjoyed my brief stay, and want to return soon. There is simply so much happening everywhere that I know I’d never tire of it. Our wonderful apartment in Brooklyn, just a couple hundred yards from a busy elevated expressway, was quiet, clean, and roomy.
I want to take in a show. I want to see a game at Yankee Stadium (preferably against the Cubs in October). I want to take a crap in the parking lot of Citi Field (where Shea once stood) where that damned black cat doomed the Cubs in 1969 by running around Ron Santo in the on-deck circle, tanking the season and eventually taking Ronnies legs via diabetes.
Mostly, I want to go back and experience more.
I love my hometown of Columbus. It is remarkably diverse, and has plenty to do, see, and eat. But New York is the center of the world, and I want to be there.
Next time, I’ll bring decent shoes.