New York State Of Mind

Three fifteen.  We are standing outside.  Alec, Sally’s son, and I were wearing tuxes.  Sally was in a full length dress.  We were in New York for a wedding.  Sally’s youngest nephew was getting married to a lovely girl who came from real money.  We were waiting for the car service to take us to the Plaza Hotel.  We were waiting. 

We eventually called another car service, one who bypassed the toll bridge by taking us through Queens and across the Koch.  This proved to be just as fast on a Sunday afternoon and we got the added excitement of guessing which red lights the driver would take seriously. 

We had three days and two nights in the city.  That translates to 2 shuttle rides, 2 trips by car service, and 4 cabs.  There is nothing that makes me miss Cleveland more than New York transportation.  It’s not the danger.  It isn’t even the money.  It is the lack of control.  And it is dealing with the best and worst of society from the passenger seat of a speeding vehicle. 

We were staying by LaGuardia.   I was able to get two clean and reasonably sized rooms for a fraction of the price of mid-town.  The trade-off was that we would need a service or cab to get in to Manhattan. 

We had walked a couple of blocks to a 7/11 to kill time and get a snack.  The wedding would be at 5ish.  We were to be at the Plaza by 4.  As we were getting back to our hotel at 2:15, I noticed a black Lincoln parked at the building next door.  I called the number, conveniently located on the trunk, for Fernando’s Car Service.  We scheduled the driver for three.  How hard could this be?  The car was 30 feet away.  Very hard.  He never showed. 

The cabs couldn’t, or wouldn’t, find the hotel.  The fact that it was visible from the freeway must have added to the challenge. 

One of our drivers, coming from a car service, was from the Dominican Republic.  He was delightful.  We enjoyed a lovely conversation about his homeland and his adjustment to New York.  He was the exception. 

We spent much of Saturday afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  We needed to grab a cab to get to dinner.  We walked a couple of blocks to catch a cab going in the right direction.  At one point we found our way blocked as the street was closed for a gay pride parade celebrating New York’s new marriage law.  What to do?  Led by my brother Rob, we dove in and marched diagonally till we got to the other side.  We flagged down a cab.  The driver asked about the parade.  

“Are they protesting the lesbians”, he asked in a thick, barely understandable accent.  

“No”, I answered.  “It is a gay pride event.”  

“It is for the lesbians”, he asked incredulously.  “They are shit”! 

We almost got out of the cab.  He did not get a tip. 

The wedding was joyous.  The bride, gorgeous.  Alec escorted his grandmother down the aisle.  I found that attending a wedding as a guest, as opposed to as a participant, was incredible.  I should do this more often.