Today is our day to take the Ralstons into Manhattan. It has been about sixteen years since Danielle was last there and Art has never seen the city before so this will be quite the trip for them. Neither of them are really into cities so they don’t spend much time in large cities at all.
Everyone was up quite early this morning except for Dominica who slept in until eight. It took a while for us to get moving this morning and we didn’t head out to go to the city until after ten. Dominica and Danielle had to take Oreo up to Doggie Paradise this morning so that he could be at daycare all day and not get worried. But he will enjoy getting to play all day with new dogs. I did get a chance today to post the pictures of Oreo’s Birthday Party at Doggie Paradise from last month on Flickr. The pictures are really cute. Especially when he gets icying from his birthday cake on his nose. Some of these pics are the same ones that we have on our refridgerator in our apartment.
We walked down to Newark’s Penn Station and decided to grab a breakfast/lunch at one of the food stations in the train station. The food was actually quite excellent. We got our tickets to the PATH train and then discovered that it had moved to a different platform so we had to run around trying to figure out how to get onto the train but it wasn’t too bad. The extra running around, though, probably caused us to miss an earlier train as the platform was nearly clear when we first arrived so we probably lost half an hour on our day from the train station confusion.
We got into Manhattan arrived at the World Trade Center construction site where the PATH from Newark ends. From there we walked south down to Battery Park so that Art and Danielle could see the Statue of Liberty. It was quite warm and sunny. They had talked about taking one of the boats out to the statue but everyone decided against that as that always takes a lot of time and money.
From the southern tip of Manhattan we hopped on the subway and went up to Times Square and walked through the theater and shopping districts there up to the mid-fifties and then headed east over to Rockefeller Center. Dominica really wanted to check the Nintendo World Store for Wiis because she had heard a rumor that they had so many that they were just available almost all of the time if you just walk in. That was definitely not true. There were none available and none likely to be. I think that this is the end of us looking for a Wii. I have no interest in getting one at this point and I just need Dominica’s interest to fade a tiny bit more and maybe we can get away without having one. They were seriously outdated technology when they first shipped and that is getting close to being a year ago. They are really old and worthless at this point. Even the demos of them at the Nintendo World Store are silly and embarassing. I can’t believe that Nintendo shows them!
We were going to go to the “Top of the Rock” for views on Manhattan but it took half an hour to find the barely labeled entrance and then we found that it was $19 per person to just go up and look at the view so we decided that $76 was a lot and not worth it. So we headed up to Central Park via Fifth Avenue and went to FAO Schwartz.
It was warm enough out and the sun was so bright that we were getting pretty tired by this point even though we really hadn’t done that much actual walking. FAO Schwartz was pretty boring. The reality is that toy stores are not very exciting. There is little that has improved since we were kids and there is just tons of garbage that no one would ever want – like Iron Maiden action figures? The one thing that FAO Schwartz does really well is that they have an amazing collection of stuffed animals.
We grabbed ice cream coming out of FAO as we were hot and hungry but didn’t know where we were going to manage to get food. So we headed west along Central Park and then started walking southbound on Seventh Avenue looking for some restaurant to pop out at us. We ended up stopping at the Parisian which was a diner just like you would find anywhere in the US. Strange to find in Manhattan.
After dinner we went right into the subway and down to thirty-fourth. Then we walked through Korea Town and over to Penn Station. Time to head back to Newark. We were all pretty tired and we didn’t have a lot of spare time before we had to pick Oreo up from daycare. We rode back on NJ Transit to Newark’s Penn Station. It was standing room only on the train on the way back. I have never seen an NJ Transit train so full.
When we got back to Newark Art and I were going to head straight out to pick up Oreo from daycare in the BMW since the weather was still nice and we could put the top down. But as the BMW was being brought out to us it went pretty fast through the potholes on our road and the passenger’s rear tire was completely flat by the time they reached where we were standing in front of 1180. So so much for driving the BMW. We called the girls to come down and watch the car and we ordered the Mazda so that we could get Oreo before he got stuck spending the night at daycare. He would not be happy about that.
So Art jacked up the BMW while we waited for the Mazda and tried to get the wheel off but it was seized up and we didn’t have tools that would get it loose nor did the building. So we called BMW Roadside Assistance and left the girls to watch the car while we went to get Oreo. We lost about an hour or more from the time we ordered the BMW until the Mazda came around for us to actually leave the building.
We got back with Oreo and still BMW/AAA had not sent anyone out to look at the wheel. They had said that it would be just about an hour so we were just passing their estimated time for the service. I took Oreo up to the apartment and in the few minutes while I was gone a conman claiming to be from AAA showed up and pressured Dominica into letting him work on the car. It turned out that he is a local conman who used to work for 1180 Raymond and knew a lot of the people who were working and had used that to make it seem like he was a normal AAA guy who works in the area and had talked to someone working and got some background on what had happened so that he could act like the BMW dispatched repair man.
Luckily I was down a few minutes later but unfortunately not until after he had driven the car a little on the rim, had jacket the car improperly and had climbed underneath and started beating on the rim with the tire iron. It took a few minutes to get him to admit that he was not the dispatched AAA representative and I forced him to get away from the car. It wasn’t until some time later that we found out that he was an old employee of 1180 that had been fired and banned from the building but no one informed us even when some people saw him conning us. Apparently he has leveraged his previous position working with the building and has conned a lot of the residents in the past right here under the construction awning and nothing has really been done about it. But at least they can identify him and we know where he works (a short order cook at the deli down the street) and if there is any serious damage we can have him arrested. But what a pain!!
We ended up waiting for three hours and twenty minutes before the AAA guy that was actually dispatched by BMW arrived. Once he was there he had the wheel off in about five minutes or less. We had all been stuck sitting outside on Commerce Street for so long that we had ordered dinner to be delivered to us there from Nino’s. The food didn’t quite make it before the car was taken care of though so we just ate dinner in the apartment. So on Monday Dominica and I have to figure out how to deal with getting the car’s wheel repaired. Just what we needed.
After dinner we all decided that we were just exhausted and that it was just time to go to bed. We had gotten back from Manhattan around five thirty and the BMW was not fixed until nine thirty! So we lost four hours almost exactly just in dealing with the car all in all. So after we ate it was probably ten thirty or nearly so. So it wasn’t exactly early. What a day.