[Sep 29 2014]
After a weekend on the fringes of Pennsylvania Dutch country, we drove back to NYC in the old pickup, so Tay could survey the apartment damage and I could catch a plane out of JFK Airport. One the way out to PA it had been dark, so it was nice to see all the fall colours in the daylight. Dalton is at 1,000 ft elevation, and the descent towards sea level was evident in the foliage, which still hadn't really changed at all in New York.
Things got greener as we rolled toward the Atlantic, and things got more crowded as well. In Dalton the only neighbour in view was the empty fairground. In Harlem, we had to make two passes down Malcolm X Blvd before we found a place to park, and we could only stay there for 20 minutes. We passed a minivan full of Red Cross workers at the curb before passing the Mandatory Vacate sign on the door heading in.
There was a Disaster Recovery Guy in the apartment taking notes on the water damage when we got there. In every room it was evident where the water had come streaming down the walls and rippled the drywall and warping all the doors. The worst spot was in the kitchen, where the water had burst through the ceiling and rained debris down on everything. Fortunately, they have renters insurance that will cover cleaning and replacement of their items, and they had a place to stay until their vacation trip to San Diego in 2 weeks.
From Harlem I jumped the R train down to Madison Square Park to meet my cousin Kristy and her adorable little Pickle for delicious burgers and shakes at the original Shake Shack. The Shack was was seriously delicious and Pickle was seriously adorable, filling my hands with load after load of dusty little park rocks. And then suddenly the rocks showed up wet... with a hair in the middle. Sort of gross. Buy Kristy had some hand sanitizer, so I think we were good.
I tagged along with Kristy & Pickle for the afternoon while they waited to pick up Middle-Daughter Lolly from school. Apparently, Kristy and I have identical ideas about tourism -- when someone visits your town you need to feed them all your favourite snacks. She lined them all up and I knocked them all down. From a strong start at Shake Shake, we hit a sandwich shop for fresh oatmeal chocolate cookies. A whole bag of them. I took the top half off the bag while we Pickle climbed the silver orb at the playground.
After that I ate this super-amazing and famous banana pudding from the Magnolia Bakery, also famous for cupcakes and Lazy Sundays. Of course, Kristy didn't want to take a bite of the pudding. And Kristy wasn't going to have even a bite, because she had just been snack-binging on a girls' weekend in Rhode Island. I even ate some of her Rhode Island salt water taffy. I eat everything. She even tried to buy an Ostrich egg at the farmers market, but they were out of season. I was sort of relieved, because 1 ostrich egg = 5 chicken eggs.
Once we picked up Lolly, it was time for me to go. I had designs to do a bike lap through Central Park, and I was running out of time. I jogged down to the corner of the park and $15 later I was walking a Trek hybrid down the walkway for a 1-hour rental. Had I given the bike a cursory pre-rental inspection, I would have noticed that the chain was dangling down near the ground and both tires were nearly flat. I fixed the chain easily enough, but I didn't realize the PSI problem until half-way around a tight corner when the tires started bending over. Not to be deterred, I cranked through the 6 miles as fast as I could go, stopping for pedestrians at the frequent red lights. Good thing I did, because the guy in spandex who buzzed past me at one red light was parked on the side of the road talking to the park police when I caught up to him again.
It was cutting it all pretty close, but I hopped the train to JFK and got there about 1 hour before boarding, so the WestJet agent stamped my boarding pass 'Priority' so I could go right to the front of the security line. Pretty awesome. Oh, and I ate a huge hoagie on the plane.
Because I am a hungry tourist.