My trip to New York reveals great wisdom and knowledge … and the exact location of Fifth Avenue.
My husband and I just got home from a trip to fabulous New York City. It was my first visit, and I've come home filled with all sorts of new ideas and impressions. Oh, and sore feet. Very, very, sore feet.
The first thing I noticed was how incredibly difficult it can be to get to New York from Oklahoma City. Apparently, there are no direct flights – at least, not on the airline we flew, and certainly not with the free tickets a very dear friend provided. We left home at dark-thirty in the morning, and took advantage of a four-hour layover in Chicago to have lunch at Navy Pier. Eventually, we landed in what I thought was a suburb of New York City, the way Moore is a suburb of Oklahoma City, a little place called Islip, Long Island.
In my Oklahoma mind, everything “up north” is just a cab ride away. Need to get from Connecticut to Rhode Island? Take a cab! Need to get from Long Island to Manhattan? Take a cab! Oh, and better take a credit card with no limit. A cab ride from Long Island to Manhattan is $150. Apparently, in the civilized world of the East Coast, people take trains. Well cool, I thought. A train! I haven't ever been on a train (except for the subway ride in Chicago for lunch, earlier that day).
Did you know that commuter trains run on electric tracks, even in the middle of a thunderstorm? Neither did I. Did you know that some commuter trains go underwater to reach their destination? You did? Well, let me tell you, it was a shock to this poor, claustrophobic, water-phobic and now train-phobic little Okie.
So okay – we made it into Manhattan and took yet another train, called a subway (did you know those are actually underground? You did?). The subway dumped us and our eleven-hundred pieces of absolutely essential luggage “near” our hotel, according to the map. “Near” our hotel, in New York-speak, is within ten city blocks. In the rain. Wearing three-inch heels. I know, I know – that was dumb. But hey, I don't travel much. I wanted to look nice on the plane!
But we made it! Suddenly, I looked up and Times Square was right there , in full, living, neon color. Holy cow! This leads me to the next thing I noticed about New York; despite what we've all been told, New Yorkers are very, very nice people. Not a single person spit on me, hit me, or even said something to offend my delicate sensibilities as I lurched down the sidewalk, dragging luggage and banging other pedestrians in the process. Everyone smiled and made way for us and didn't seem to mind the bruises at all.
The next morning, we hit the streets. Once again, I looked around, and it was still here! I was in the real deal, the big city, good golly, I was in Gotham. Patrick, being the planner that he is, had made what he referred to as a suggested itinerary, which in reality means that he had planned our day in fifteen-minute increments. I was willing to go along with all this, and then we turned the corner and probably for the first time in my life, I looked up at a street sign, just to see where I was.
I have a difficult time breathing even now, just remembering and reliving that glimmering moment in my mind, the moment I realized that I was standing on 5 th Avenue. Oh, manna from Heaven, oh, praise the retail gods, I have seen Mecca and I will never be the same.
Oh, how my heart pounded! My pupils dilated, I had a hard time breathing, and I know that Patrick thought I had surely lost what little was left of my mind. Chanel! Tiffany! Gucci! Oh, be still my heart! At one point, I realized that my mouth was very, very dry. Since we'd just had breakfast, I was a bit surprised to find myself so thirsty, until I walked by a large plate glass window and saw my reflection. My mouth was, literally and no joke, hanging open. I was gawking . I looked like a person with some horrible, unnameable disease….and then I saw it.
I forgot my aching, blistered feet. I forgot to breathe. I forgot to stop at the intersection and I think I forgot Patrick. Prada – the land of shoe dreams. Prada, *gasp* having a monstrous (albeit it a discreet monstrosity) sale. On shoes. Prada shoes, 75% off. I was, at that moment, glad we had finally written our will, because I was quite sure I would die on the spot. I whizzed through the store like a dervish, screeched myself upstairs to the sale shoes, and promptly fell in love with the most beautiful, the most impractical, the most I-must-have-it-or-cease-breathing stiletto-heeled pump in the known universe. Did I mention it was 75% off?
Did I mention that my size was not available? Oh, coulda, shoulda, Prada.
I've been to New York. My life may never be the same.