At hour 44 of my 45 hours in New York City, I made a quick dash to the New York City Public Library. Even with google maps, however, I managed to go in the wrong building first, and have to go through a security clearance/bag screening. It was frustrating because now I was counting my minutes. In the wrong building, which was still part of the library system, I made it up to the second floor and asked about the reading rooms. The very helpful librarian pointed me in the right direction, but because the escalator only went up and not down, I took the elevator.
I'm telling you all this because I thought it was really funny when I got in the elevator and this little old lady looked at me as the door closed and said, "Thank God you're normal!" (Ha! What does she know that all of you don't know at this point?) Apparently, she'd had an unpleasant ride up earlier with a man who felt the need to push all the buttons and talk to himself. But look at these beautiful statues! No wonder Brian sent me here!
The library is actually on the edge of Bryant Park, so I was backtracking a bit this morning, from the Shake Shack, to B&H, and then back toward the library.
The library has two reading rooms, at the top of the stairs. One room allows photography and headphones, the other does not. I figured it all out in my very own little head that the one that does not allow photography is probably because it's the super-duper quiet reading room and the shutter click or noise from headphones would bother some people.
I wisely chose to do my photographing in the non-super-duper quiet reading room.
After this, I raced back to my hotel to get my luggage, grabbed a cup of soup on the way, and was ready to settle down with a book for a few minutes when Dianna called saying she had a problem, and then her phone went dead.
Why do phones always die at those moments?
It turns out that she was already at the airport and had lost her driver's license. I caught a cab to get there to help her out, and started googling options. Apparently, it's not really a federal regulation that you have to have photo id to get on the airplane; it's the prerogative of the airlines whether they'll issue a boarding pass. And if you're as convincing as the sweet Dianna is, you'll be allowed to board.
What amazed me was that about two weeks after I got home from New York, Dianna's license showed up in the mail. I was very impressed that someone in New York took the time to do this, and that it managed to get to us, with South Dakota listed as the state, and the wrong zip code. But somehow, it arrived anyway.
Which I find to be as amazing as the phone call I got two days ago from a very kind woman in Washington DC who'd found my son's license! A jogger picked up his license and couldn't reach Scott, but googled and found us. Scott had been mugged that morning by someone with a knife and lost his phone and wallet. Fortunately, he was only mildly cut on the hand, but I'm so relieved that it wasn't an injury worse than this!
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So there you have it: my 45 hours in New York City. And if you want to follow in my footsteps (sans odor eaters), here's the path: 1st evening: Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, FAO Schwartz, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, walk past Radio City to Time's Square and stop at Starbucks for a break; Empire State Building, eat a hot dog and go to sleep.
2nd day: McDonald's (it's fast), take the subway and walk past the Brooklyn Bridge on the way to the 9/11 Memorial, walk to Wall Street, pass Battery Park and take the Ferry to and from Staten Island, take the subway again and head to an Italian restaurant, walk past The World's Smallest Store and head to Time's Square for same-day Broadway tickets, walk through Little Italy, eat cannoli, stop in a strange store with a skeleton in front, rest for about 1/2 an hour at the hotel, head to the Broadway play, back to the hotel after stopping off at McDonalds again (how lame, but fast).
Last day: Shake Shack, B & H PHOTO SUPERSTORE!!!!!, New York Public Library, and back to Grand Forks. If you follow in my footsteps, feel free to come all the way to Grand Forks and say "hi" to me!