Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Weekend Report: A New York Saga

I love my weekends in DC, but every now and then I get tired of the same old same. I like to get away every so often - the perfect excuse? Eight dollar bus tickets to NYC! You don't have to ask us twice - 6x6 and I were all over that one.

That's right, it's time for another NYC adventure!!!

And for us, the adventure started just two hours in. 6x6 and I walked out of the New Jersey rest stop (cupcake milkshake in hand) to the horrifying sight of our bus slowly pulling away. It took a second to sink in: this can't really be happening, right?

And then the bus accelerated...It actually is going to leave us! NOOOOO!!!

Luckily we're runners - I took off at a dead sprint, evaluating the tangent I could take to intersect the bus before it got onto the freeway. 6x6 was close behind, her panicky high-pitched Michigan-accented OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD spurring me on, and a random fellow-passenger shouting from the curb.

And then the bus slowly turned around. Phew! That was a bit too close for comfort. Our trip could have been over before it really began...

BUT that's not the end of this saga.

Alle, a friend from my abroad program, has an apartment in Sunnyside, Queens. Alle is actually in Niger right now, but she mailed me her key and said we could stay in her room for the weekend (I know, I have amazing friends, right? I can't even get over it!). We arrived at her building, opened the door, and realized with a sinking feeling that we didn't know her apartment number. Oh no.

But we're industrious problem-solvers. We'll just look at the mailboxes, we thought. So we looked at all of them, and didn't see Alle's name anywhere. 

It was looking like we would have to try the key in every a huge have got to be kidding me!

"Let's ask the super!" suggested 6x6 (genius, this girl is pure genius).

We knocked on this poor man's door at 12:30 at night, and tried to explain our situation - holding the set of keys as proof that we weren't creepy intruders but expected guests. 

Us: "You know, Alle? Tall, blonde?" 
He had never heard of her.
Us: "Her roommate's name is Ibonne?"
Oh, Ibonne! Yes yes, 5K.Again, phew! Crisis averted.

Until we got to the apartment, and realized that though the key worked in the doorknob lock, it would not fit into the dead bolt. You have got to be kidding me (again)! (Remember, Alle is in Niger, so calling her is completely not an option.)

We knocked, lightly at first, and then harder and harder.
And then we rang the doorbell - first gently, and then multiple loud buzzes. Nothing. The door just stared back at us in its impenetrable red solidness.

"What are we going to do?" we wondered. "I mean, I guess we'll have to go find a hotel somewhere...this totally sucks." Our optimism at a weekend away was quickly ebbing and leaving a void filling with crankiness and regret. 

"Ok, I'll just try one more time before we give up," I decided. 
I jiggled the key in the lock, and lo and behold - the door opened! YES!!! (But no, that's not the end of this saga...)

Just one more obstacle: the security chain was done. I wasn't about to let one little chain stop us. I stuck my hand in, and noticed that the chain was not very sturdily screwed into the wall. So, as 6x6 later described to her father, Mollie unscrewed the chain with her fingers!

[Ok, let me just say that it was barely in the wall, so this was not nearly as impressive-MacGyver (or sketchy criminal) as it sounds.]

The door swung open and we were in!

"Ok, Mollie, go see if anyone's there! Make sure it's definitley Alle's apartment," said 6x6.
I walked in slowly, calling out, "Hello? Ibonne? Hello? Is anyone home?"

I was a little concerned, because I didn't see anything that looked even remotely 20-something/African traveler/chillaxed environmentalist...

I pushed open the bedroom door, and OHMYGOD there was someone in the bed!!! I ran out to 6x6 - There's someone in there!!!

We froze in our tracks. Breaking and entering. Oh no.

And then out walked a middle-aged Bolivian woman in her pjs. 
"We are so so so sorry!" we stammered.
"Hello, I am Ibonne, are you Alle's friends?" she asks sweetly, "I'm sorry, I lock the door because I thought you were not comming...How did you get in?"

Oh man. What a night.

But all's well that ends well. We had an absolutely wonderful weekend in NYC. It included a significant quantity of Christmas-y wonderfulness, and some major rain/snow. (If you saw 2 20-somethings blow drying their shoes in a Barnes and Nobles bathroom...don't judge.)

We toured the UN, where we nerded out to the max - aka took pictures with our favorite Secretaries-General portraits (Dag Hammarskjöld and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar)

[Sidenote: My roommate just asked me how one could have a favorite Secretary-General...Umm, how could you not???]

It also involved a fair amount of gluttony - thank you Magnolia Bakery (chocolate cake), Buttercup Bake Shop (coconut cake), and Billy's Bakery (carrot cake).

We also had the BEST FALAFEL EVER at Maoz - seriously life-changing. Unlimited salad/toppings/condiment bar - enough said. And one just opened in DC. YES!

Overall a fantastic weekend!