As some might know I took a spontaneous trip to New York City Friday night. It was about 11:25 at night and I felt like having some fun. I just got paid and was mentally and physically relieved by the size of my paycheck and I didn’t want to let this feeling go to waste with another uneventful night. I wanted to do something different, something that I could do now that I had the money. I guess that’s the thing about being broke and then not being quite broke anymore.
So I got in my car, silenced my doubts and fears and got on the turnpike. It had to be when I was too far and I had been on the road too long to turn back when I really appreciated the decision I made. I have never driven almost two hours away from home on a whim. It was absolutely exhilarating! I was doing something I’ve never done, but sort of always wanted to do, and it was happening right now.
By the time I got to those Jersey skyscrapers you see on your left as you head north, I began to feel even better. More specifically, I began to appreciate the decision I made to do this. Something so random, and, perhaps even wasteful, to some. But really, it wasn’t wasteful at all. I got to do something that involves a certain amount of risk as well as a considerable amount of reward and in the end the risk made the reward that much better. The reward, after all, was seeing the New York City skyline glowing across the Hudson River at around one o’clock in the morning. Tolls were expensive and annoying, but fortunately for me that wasn’t a huge issue. That is until I ran out of cash and eventually came to understand that the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania have not yet adapted to a debit card wielding society. So I end up getting a bill for my toll in the mail and it’s a vey high amount and I hate that this tolling system that won’t find access to modern technology. But even a nightmare like that couldn’t take away the feeling I got from being able to park my car a block away from the Empire State building.
Once I got out of the most annoying part of driving to Manhattan (going through the Holland Tunnel) I got to lower Manhattan and immediately started comparing it to Philly, as most people from Philly do sometimes. As always, I realized there is little comparison. New York City is so much bigger, wealthier, and generally more amazing than Philadelphia will perhaps ever be. And that’s something I can live with. After the comparing love/hate feelings subsided I finally began to drive around. Of course, people in New York City are often times horrible drivers: no patience, no attention, and disparaging, but I get it. People have places to go to and traffic can be challenging. Although it was after one in the morning and the streets of New York City are wide and spacious. I guess I was able to ignore the rude taxi and uber drivers because I had come all that way and was happy to finally be there in Manhattan.
I have always felt a primal connection to Manhattan and The Bronx. They always felt like places that were familiar to me, but still somewhat foreign. Many members of my family are from urban environments that are unique to places like North Philadelphia and The Bronx and Queens. But it was different now. Now I had driven there in my own car with my own money and I could do whatever I wanted. I could have visited The Bronx and found a rooftop to lounge on while I did what I usually like to do. I could have gone to Brooklyn for the very first time. I had the options and freedom to make these choices. I had the opportunity to make these submerged desires a reality. Unfortunately, and thankfully, I didn’t drive around the entire city. I stayed in Manhattan, walked approximately 20 blocks, went to a severely dysfunctional McDonalds and convenience store, ate my food, and went back home. The drive back would eventually be altered when I realized I did not have cash for the tolls going back to Philadelphia. However, I took pictures and collected the memory so that I won’t forget it.
About an hour and a half later after leaving Union City, New Jersey I arrived back home and I slept like a rock. I had been up all day, since about 4:30AM, and by that time had been awake for at least 24 hours. I hadn’t been that happily exhausted in a while. I did something adventurous and kind of unusual and through the entire journey I had a blast. It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a while.