Sour Big Apple

So for some background here – I came to the US in the fall of 2004. It was quickly followed by winter which I didn’t want to spend sight-seeing. So I decided to wait until summer, but then I got pregnant and couldn’t travel. Then my daughter was too small and I couldn’t travel. So after spending close to 3.5 years here, I have seen so many pictures of New York City, Niagara and Washington DC, that I feel like I have already been there.

At the end of this sob-story of me being stuck in Chicago all along, comes light at the end of the tunnel. My daughter finally turned 2 and appeared manageable, and so we decided to start travelling around. Last weekend, we went to New York city, and I got a taste of the city. The big apple was sweet for most part, but the few sour parts of it, left a bad taste in the mouth.

Our flight got delayed by about 4 hours – so we were stuck with entertaining a toddler in a fairly boring and big airport. Then we slept at 3 in the morning, because that’s how long it took us to finally reach Connecticut, where we stayed. The next morning, we visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island – which I have to accept, was quite interesting and gave us beautiful views of the city and the water around it. Then we went around Wall street and I was still quite comfortable. I had always looked forward to seeing Madame Tussards museum, and that was worth it too.

Then we went to Times square – and gosh! what a place! The place was so packed, we couldn’t even push the stroller. We were perenially scared of losing each other or our belongings. Our feet were begging us to sit down somewhere. The lights were good, there were lots of people on the ground, but way too many people for my liking. I would rather go to Ranganathan street and walk in those crowds – atleast it is India, and you know exactly where you are going. My logic is – Why would one go to Times square if one was not interested in those noisy bars, fancy restaurants or didn’t have time for the broadway shows? To see the lights? It takes a minute to see them, beyone that you’re probably being pushed to the side by people walking up and down anyway. So, we (or I) decided  – enough of this, let’s go home.

So, we went down to the train station to catch a train to Jersey city, and had what was the sourest point of the whole trip. The ticket machines only let you buy one ticket at a time. There was only two of them, both of which did not accept bills at that time. We didn’t have enough change, and the only store there refused to help. So we tried paying with card, but the machine kept rejecting it. So as we stood in line, my brother and I kept trying one card after the other, only to keep getting rejected. And while we did that, there was the rudest person I have ever encountered in my life standing right behind, cursing me in curses that I would consider strongly objectionable. At the end of a day that was started with little sleep and spent mostly on my feet, the experience of trying to buy train tickets really drove me mad. At that moment, I felt like I had had enough of New York. It was not my kind of city. Chicago probably was. I never felt so vulnerable and out of place in Chicago.

So as much as I have tried the past couple of days to look past the few sour experiences in NYC, I have not be able to say ‘I love NY’, the way the t-shirts too.

My next trip, I would really love to spend more time with my friends, relax at their homes, play with their kids, and perhaps just enjoy the view of the NY skyline as the plane takes off.

Sorry, big apple, you were too sour for me!


17 thoughts on “Sour Big Apple

  1. I actually, loved the Big Apple. But then, I stayed closer to Long Island, and used the LIRR to go to the Manhattan. I didn’t have such ‘sour’ experiences, though!


    Rekha: Hm.. Good for you. Wish that thing at the station had happened. I mightve felt a lot better about the place!

  2. That sounds very much like my opinion of NY. Not my kind of city exactly!

    Rekha: OOh.. Thank you. I was hoping to not be the only person who didn’t like Times Square

  3. Ramya Ramani

    Oh Oho! I am going to visit NY this weekend! 🙂 Hope I have better experience.Fingers crossed.

    Rekha: Oh.. All the best. I hope you are luckier than I was

  4. prem

    i completely agree…maybe for party hoppers …could be a great place. but hey! ive seen enough crowds back home and dont care for any out here! i was there working for a few weeks….hated the place at first…but then…i felt it may not be a bad place to work. gives you the feeling of working in a real big city…just the way i felt when i had to go thru liverpool street in london. kind of fancy. but for sightseeing….no use. doesnt really make sense to travel for a vacation there.

    was seeing a madonna video one day…and then she said in one of those…”new york is not a city, but a state of mind” . thinking about it…i kind of feel it does make sense.

    well…naperville is just fine by me!

    Rekha: So, we finally concur! 😀

  5. Having lived in the city for 3 years now, i totally understand how a 1st timer would feel. Most of my friends complain about the ‘sour’ part of the city you mentioned. Esp the ticket vending machines in PATH trains. Saniyan. It spoils the name of an otherwise chanceless city.

    Neways…the city would have given you some nice memories am sure.

    Rekha: Hm.. I guess.

  6. Maami sorry to hear your Big Apple experience turned sour.
    DC pakkam vanga, much better place when it comes to Metro services.

    Rekha: DC poirkaen before, but never took a train. I liked DC, lot of places to see out there.

  7. Hi,

    first time visitor here…..NY city always holds a different experience for each visitor, sorry abt ur not so great experience. Hopefully, the next time around will turn out to be more relaxing.

    Rekha: I hope so too.

  8. Pradeep

    I loved NY! 😉 Esp Times Square, because it reminded me of Ranganathan St.
    Liberty dhaan konjam chappunu irundhudhu – I dint feel very overwhelmed. Tussaud’s rocked though!

    Rekha: I also thought Liberty would be much bigger. Anga ponappram thaan I realized, it’s because of the platform below that it actually looks that big. But quite an engineering marvel for that time I guess.

  9. prem

    err….wax rocks???? someday i will be able to understand mankind’s fascination with wax dolls! well…i guess thats one more thing i got to add on to my “what i dont understand about mankind” list. 🙂

    Rekha: Your already very long list you mean..

  10. Prabhu

    First time here and nice blog here..
    Next time relaxed a NYC poitu vaanga..apadiye Thiru -vaiyum meet pannitu vannga !

    Rekha: Welcome to my blog. Hm.. Thiru would have been a good visit. Anga kanda burger fries saptu nondhu poitom.

  11. About Times Square the key is not to go there with toddlers! I happened to go there for work and was able to get my husband to come there with me while in laws watched the kids at home. It reminded me so much of Brigade Street in Bangalore. We both fell in loved the place and want to go back there. The lights, the people and just whatever the place is..we love it..but it would be a totally different story if we had to push a stroller..I would say u would have loved it, if you did not have to worry about your baby!

    Rekha: Hm.. May be that’s what it was. I don’t think Ranganathan street would be much fun with a stroller either.

  12. LKS loved big apple because I was around.:-)
    Too bad you didn’t like it. Try again.

    Rekha: Welcome to my blog! May be if I had met you before instead of after Times square, the jinx would’ve worked.

  13. Me

    NRI Maami nan innum NY paathadhu illa…paathaprom adha pathi solren…

    Deepa ..ungala paathutu dhan ellarum NYC paakanam pol irukkay… unga veedu enna USA oda alamelu mangapurama?

    Rekha: Appadi.. Here is one person who is perhaps slightly worse off from me and hasn’t been to NYC yet. I felt pretty left out in that group all these years.

  14. Pradeep

    NRI Maami,
    Maamikku advice panrele, neenga mattum ennavaam? Gada gada nu adutha post ezhuda vendamo? 😛

    Rekha: Idho Idho.. ezhudharaen. Koncham busyaa poidthu adhaan.

  15. From what you say it seems NY looks lovely and its people sound smart only in Woody Allen’s cinema-va?
    Hmmm, me back home too.

    Rekha: aah.. finally Maami has made her presence felt. Chattu puttunu vacation mudichitu vaango.

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