Sunday, June 07, 2009
More on my trip to NY
Sunday morning. I take a shower and get dropped off at my grandmother's house. When I walk up the stairs, my dad is standing by the sink washing dishes. The look on his face clearly demonstrates that he did not know I had made the trip. Yes, some black folks know how to keep a secret. Despite not seeing each other in over a decade, our greeting is rather anticlimactic, as my dad is not a touchy-feely guy. No crying or sobbing. Just a quick, powerful hug. After greeting my grandmother, uncle, and aunt, I sat at the kitchen table, ate breakfast, and filled everyone in on what I had been doing during the past seven years.
A few hours later, I asked my dad if he wanted to go for a walk, hoping to divulge my sexual orientation as quicky as possible. Under a perfectly blue sky, we walked up and down blocks and talked about a myriad of issues. I never blamed him for his absence or asked if he wished he had made wiser decisions. Simply listening to how intelligently he spoke proved that he had matured immeasurably. Aside from my propensity to use profanity, there were no major disagreements. It was cool to be able to talk to speak to him as an equal.
The next day, Memorial Day, assumed the family barbeque would be held at my grandmother's house. Wrong. You see, my grandmother does not enjoy cooking out, although she cooks three meals every day. So, I accompanied my cousin to a family friend's house in Uniondale. Eating more pork and processed foods in one day than I had in the past four months, I reveled in the loud music, hollering children, and cursing.
On Tuesday, I decided it was time for me to take my sister into the city. Stopping by Old Navy and a store that sold inexpensive menswear (it was only 52 degrees; he had left our jackets in Georgia), we walked to the bus terminal, bought two fun passes (unlimited bus/train rides for $7.50), and hopped on the N6 bus, headed for Queens. Ten minutes into the ride, a man and woman board the bus and claim to have insufficient funds. Unwilling to leave the bus, the driver threatens to contact the police. Having read about a driver in Brooklyn who was killed under similar circumstances, I remained silent and hoped for a peaceful resolution. In typical New York fashion, people began demanding that the driver permit the non-paying passengers to board. One man requested they get off the bus. As the woman continued to insult the driver, a passenger rushed to the front of the bus and paid the husband's fare. Simultaneously, we took up a collection and paid for the husband.
Aside from a little cutie trying to mack to my child, nothing of significance transpired for the remainder of the ride. Getting off at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue, we entered the subway, got on the train, and rode it until we reached 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Not seeing any signs directing us to the 6 Train, a man informed us that the train was located three blocks downtown. Leaving the subway, we navigated through the narrow, somewhat crowded streets and arrived at the entry to the 6 Train.
Grand Central Station is huge. While first-time tourists took pictures, we were directed to the restoooms by a cautious, female police officer. As I hesitantly approached her, she signaled me not to come too close too soon. Anyway, the lower level of the station smelled like stale air, piss, and food. Yes, folks ate their food and engaged in conversations with abandon. Stepping onto the street, we were directed to 1st Avenue by two friendly workers. Although we could have taken any of the buses, we walked along the streets and took in the sights. Once we got to the United Nations building, I discovered that I had left the spare batteries at my cousin's house. So, we treked back to Staples and bought new ones. Back at the UN, we took pictures, passed through security, and took a look inside.
I really enjoyed observing my sister's response, especially when we saw a group of people we wrongly assumed were from China. The woman, dressed in her native clothing, agreed to take a picture with my sister. It was priceless.
Despite the cold, windy, and sometimes rainy (light drizzle) conditions, we headed back to GCC. First, however, we stopped by a vending station and bought a container of almonds for $2.00. The prices were so reasonable. You could buy a week's worth of fruits for less than $10.00. Anyway, we caught the 6 (headed uptown), got back on F (headed downtown), and arrived at 42nd Street. Grabbing pizza and Snapple beverages, we ate in Bryant Park, an oasis of tranquility and calmness. Afterwards, I forced my baby to ride on Le Carrousel. After taking picures at the New York Public Library, we headed across the street to an H&M store, where I saw a delicious specimen. It was sheer torture watching him disappear as I rode down the escalator.
Thoroughly exhausted, we hopped back on the F Train and headed back to Long Island.