After 2 months 20 miles North of NYC, we decided to go to the big Apple on our first US adventure.
Parking cost in NYC is fairly straight forward but ridiculously expensive. $35+ for 3 hours. We decided to park close to our final destination hoping we wouldn’t have to walk too far to get to the zoo.
We had written down the address to the parking place and my lovely co-pilot (wife) punched in the coordinates on the GPS.
Soon we were on the highway, heading towards Tappan Zee bridge, which made us wonder if we were on the right road, but in the GPS lady we trust.
The buildings became denser and more worn down, a clear sign that we were getting closer to the big Apple, we thought.
It did bother me that we saw boarded up houses, strange looking surveillance vans and fenced in schools. But then again that might be normal for NYC.
However, the missus was starting to look a bit pale in the co-pilot seat, frantically looking at the hood we were entering and the GPS map. Sweat were breaking out on her upper lip and various other places on her yellow top.
It was either the wrong turn or the wrong coordinates. But, I couldn’t blame the South American flower, so it must be a system error in the GPS. Gotta call Gamini if we make it back to the house.
The streets were narrow and old cars parked on either side, with the odd pimped up Escalade or muscle car parked in between.
The hood was turning into something out of Boyz in the Hood. Young men were crossing the street slowly in front of us, wearing cool track suits and bandanas – all walking towards the high profile cars their mates owned. I wonder how much these track suits were and where I could buy one?
I thought the hood looked a bit like Summerhill in Dublin, much to my wife’s dismay. This was the real thing she whispered. This is REALLY bad she stuttered.
We felt as if we were being followed. Gangstas were standing on the corners on their mobile phones (cell phones in US lingo), staring at this pale rider in a mini-van driving through their hood. Were they talking to their mates on the next corner, planning their attack on the family mini-van?
I was trying to blend in, pretending all was cool, by bobbing my head to cool Hannah Montana tunes, mirrored shades on and the AC running. The misses was slowly slipping off the seat, peeking out the window. It would be the wrong place to honk the horn and ask for some roadside support.
Suddenly a great looking muscle car was behind daddy’s mini-van. Sweat broke out on my already moist forehead, and I started going a little bit faster – not too much, to avoid looking like a lamb in a panic state. You should’ve seen my boxers!
It was when we had driven almost 2 miles on various roads in this hood, closely followed by a cool muscle car occupied by two homies, that I felt slightly uncomfortable and asked my wife to hit the home button … just like on the iPad … it normally brings you back to start!
The GPS suggested we’d go right, but it was a red light. The traffic light was underneath the train tracks, just like in best NYPD style TV series. A gang of unhappy looking dudes were standing on the corner chatting and staring.
I was number three in line and number four was the cool muscle car (again). The car in front didn’t bother moving, so I adapted some James Bond maneuvers and pulled into the right lane, squeezing by and forcing the mini-van to turn. Again, I could’ve honked the horn, but decided against it when these two hoodies walked across the street, looking straight at my loser-cruiser. Were we toast?
Tires shrieked slightly as I spun off, getting out of Dodge. In the distance, the symbolic skyscrapers of NYC were visible, but it seemed as they were almost an unreachable. Something that was not meant to be.
My dear wife had stopped breathing for the past mile and was close to tears. I’m sure she would have vomited of fear if it wasn’t for the fact that she would have had to roll down the windows to do so. Such a move would have alerted all predators in the hood about our presence and our cover would’ve been blown.
Another few turns and suddenly we saw a sign for Manhattan. We were free. Saved by the GPS that only 17 minutes earlier had betrayed us. I gently pressed the accelerator to get there faster and so did the cool muscle car. It was glued to the back fender for a mile or two. Then it was gone only to reappear in front of us. WTF!
We finally parked the car close the 5th Avenue and only then my wife started breathing calmly again. The cool muscle car slowly passed the garage where we parked and the drivers nodded gently towards me. Respect mate!
Not too sure what the fuzz was all about. It seemed like a friendly hood with some lovely roadside vegetable shops. One shop in particular caught my eye. The neon sign in the window advertised that everything in the shop cost more than $0.99 – a true statement among shady characters.
The kids didn’t even notice that we were in a state of red alert and that their mummy was close to panic. They were busy on the iTouch and iPad watching movies … probably a good idea too.
Now off to the zoo, the park and FAO – we have 27 minutes before sunset!