A 3 am cab ride is not generally how I like to start my mornings…a 3 am cab ride to catch a plane to New York, however, does improve things somewhat. I hadn’t realized that airports aren’t really open through the night, and so we actually arrived there before the TSA agents. So despite being at the airport at an obscenely early hour, we still had to wait in line until they opened security. We also had the misfortune of being seated across the aisle from a family of four children, including one infant who did its fair share of screaming before take-off. Thankfully, due to it being an obscenely early flight, our general fatigue level meant that we were able to catch a bit of sleep before landing at La Guardia.
We caught a cab and headed into Manhattan, and I was soon thrilled to be catching a glimpse of the New York skyline. The travel bug that had been forced into dormancy at the start of grad school was soon awake and chirping again. We dropped our bags off at our hotel and headed out into the city to, sadly, get some work done. During our walk to the nearby Union Square, we happily discovered a Tim Hortons, which I hadn’t realized had expanded to New York. Eager for a little nostalgic taste of home, we ordered a couple donuts and a coffee for breakfast before heading on our way.
After a mild degree of confusion in figuring out how the subway systems worked, it wasn’t long before we strolling through what is apparently the world’s largest train station (by number of platforms), Grand Central. While fabulously dramatic, with its cavernous main hall and soaring pillars, I was amused that the ceiling was green. After lingering in the hall, admiring the constellations (and the in-house Apple store), we hauled our books and laptops a bit further, around the corner to the New York Public Library. Now what an impressive building–the dark wood-paneled halls and beautifully ornate ceilings, not to mention the breathtaking Rose Main Reading Room with its nearly 300 feet of leather-bound reference books. Free wifi, a bountiful supply of outlets and ample desk space was quickly making this one of my new favourite places to work. We settled in for several hours of slogging away on final papers. David spotted someone several tables up that we had a strong feeling was Ethan Phillips, a character actor who played Neelix on Star Trek.
We eventually headed back to the hotel to check-in. It was a cute little place, Hotel 17…a nicely-appointed room with a little desk area and a small sink (we shared a bathroom). In an attempt to be economical, our dinner consisted of heading over to the nearby Whole Foods for some cheese, bread, sausage and a bit of soup. Exhausted from our early morning, we hit the hay early. Ready to hit the town tomorrow!